Photo caption: Bill Kring, machine tool instructor, leads a MiLEAP computer numerical control training class.
A statewide grant is allowing a partnership of regional community colleges and workforce development organizations to offer free education, job training and related support services to area residents suffering from the economic impact of COVID-19.
A Southwest Partnership consortium including Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Kellogg Community College, Michigan Works! Southwest, The Northside Association for Community Development, Urban Alliance and The Kalamazoo Promise received a total of $1,163,662 via a competitive Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program (MiLEAP) grant, announced last summer.
The purpose of the grant is to support individuals who are dislocated, underemployed, serving as essential workers, living in distressed rural and urban communities or who are economically disadvantaged. The funds will assist those individuals in transitioning from education and training programs to high-skill, high-wage careers, with training programs resulting in industry-recognized credential attainment and reduced educational debt.
“We are totally committed to removing barriers to education for our constituents and we’re so happy to be a part of this innovative programming,” said Kalamazoo Valley Community College President L. Marshall Washington, Ph.D.
Kalamazoo Valley’s Offerings
At Kalamazoo Valley Community College, MiLEAP funds are being used to offer neighborhood-based training for Kalamazoo residents who are displaced by COVID or experiencing substantial barriers to employment computer numerical control training (CNC), certified nursing assistant (CNA) training and medical coding and billing. In addition to learning foundational skills and technical training related to their chosen programs, trainees at Kalamazoo Valley can receive assistance with transportation and daycare, a stipend and completion incentive, career coaching and the opportunity to earn professional skills through competency-based training.
Grant funds also allow for the hiring of dedicated MiLEAP navigators on Kalamazoo Valley and Kellogg campuses, who assist MiLEAP program participants in assessing and overcoming barriers, obtaining and maintaining employment, identifying resources, providing guidance and support and creating individual learning plans to help participants prepare for the future.
The Southwest Partnership consortium is among 10 awardees of the MiLEAP grant, which totals $17.8 million in funds distributed to similar consortiums statewide. Altogether, the state hopes to serve more than 5,000 individuals through the effort; the Southwest Partnership funds should provide training for approximately 450 participants over a two-year period.
The grants were awarded to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) by the U.S. Department of Education and announced in July 21 as a statewide measure designed “to help get Michigan back to work,” according to the state.
The Michigan Learning & Education Advancement Program (MiLEAP) is a workforce training program made possible by a $17,827,178.11 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Education Stabilization Fund – Reimagine Workforce Preparation Program (ESF-RWP) provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act of 2020.
For more information about MiLEAP opportunities at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, contact Vice President of Strategic Business and Community Development Craig Jbara at email@example.com or 269.353.1263.
Established in 1966, Kalamazoo Valley offers certificate programs in more than 50 areas of study and associate degrees in 60 others. These include business, healthcare, human and public service, and technical occupations, culinary arts and brewing training. It has four Kalamazoo, Mich., locations, including the Texas Township Campus, the Groves Campus, the Arcadia Commons Campus and the Bronson Healthy Living Campus. Classes are available during the day, evening, online and weekends.