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October 2, 2013

Grant will benefit advanced manufacturing at MCC

By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer

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Grant will benefit advanced manufacturing at MCC
Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller addresses the crowd that gathered Sept. 23 at the Michigan Technical Education Center in Warren to celebrate news of a U.S. Department of Labor grant for Macomb Community College.

MACOMB COUNTY — A group of dignitaries and members of the business community gathered at the Michigan Technical Education Center Sept. 23 to announce a $24.9 million U.S. Department of Labor grant for Macomb Community College.

The college, on behalf of the Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing, was awarded the grant, which will be distributed between eight Michigan community colleges. The project will be known as M-CAM, and Macomb will lead the coalition.

The grant is designed to support opportunities in advanced manufacturing and prepare individuals for jobs in computer numerical control machining, welding/fabrication, multi-skilled technicians and production operations.

MCC President Jim Jacobs, Democratic Congressman Sander Levin, Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and David Share, president of Avon Gear in Shelby Township, individually addressed the crowd about the grant.

“This is a stepping stone led by people in the county to make sure our workers have a job — and a job that pays well,” Levin said.

College officials said the grant will provide funding for the equipment upgrades to its M-TEC training center, which includes laser alignment, robotics vision systems, radio frequency identification tag reader conveyor, CNC robot load/unload and more.

Those targeted for training include displaced workers, employed workers who require skills upgrading and veterans. MCC’s portion of the grant is $9.6 million, the largest competitive grant the college has ever received. 

Manufacturing took a direct hit because of Michigan’s economic downturn over the last several years. But according to those closest to the industry, skilled workers are still needed.

“We employ about 150 people, most of them CNC machinists,” Share said. “We do need good qualified trained people. Our biggest challenge is finding skilled machinists. There just isn’t enough formal training. I think this grant will help us do that.

“I look forward to working with MCC on this,” Share said. “We need to get excited about manufacturing again. It’s a good place to earn a living and raise a family.”

“I have no doubt that Macomb Community College is ready to provide the leadership needed to make the M-CAM project a great success, with the true winners being the students who will gain new skills and opportunities, and the job creators who will put those skills to use in growing our economy,” Miller said.

“The M-CAM project will support the efforts of the eight community colleges to grow opportunities in advanced manufacturing, assisting individuals with obtaining excellent skills that will launch them into nationally important career fields,” Miller said. “Michigan’s community colleges are literally connecting the dots between education and the workplace — improving the quality of life for the individual, their families and our nation.

The other colleges in the coalition are Bay de Noc in Escanaba, which will receive $1.5 million; Grand Rapids, which will receive $4.1 million; Kellogg in Battle Creek to receive $2.7 million; Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor to receive $1.2 million; Lansing, which will receive $2.1 million; Mott in Flint, which will receive $2.7 million; and Schoolcraft College in Livonia, set to receive $1.1 million.

The M-TEC building is located on Tank Avenue, off Van Dyke Avenue, north of the I-696 freeway.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1045.