Kalamazoo Valley Community College Celebrates Career and Technical Education Month

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Photo: A student in the machine tool lab at Kalamazoo Valley Community College uses milling equipment. (Credit: Kalamazoo Valley Community College)


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently declared February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. Career and Technical Education programs provide hands-on training that can be applied to in-demand education, training and career pathways. Individuals who are enrolled in a CTE program also earn more than their peers at every level of educational attainment.

“We celebrate career and technical training opportunities every day at Kalamazoo Valley Community College,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Services Paige Eagan, Ph.D. “Our goal is to provide the training and support students need to earn a respected credential in the professional trades. We remain dedicated to helping fill the sizable professional trades shortage in Michigan.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, wages for professional trades occupations are 45 percent higher than other occupations. The median annual salary for skilled trades jobs is $51,000.

Today’s career and technical trades offer an array of opportunities that are challenging and rewarding. High-tech manufacturing and skilled trades employers all across the state are nearly desperate for students looking to embark on a high-paying job with benefits close to home. Kalamazoo Valley Community College provides training, apprenticeships, credit for prior learning and other services to help students access the exciting world of the skilled and professional trades.

Career and technical trades training at Kalamazoo Valley is available in these topics:

  • Automotive Technology
  • Chemical Technology
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Electrical Technology
  • HVAC Technology
  • Engineering/Design/Manufacturing Technology
  • CAD and Machine Tool
  • Welding Technology
  • Wind Turbine Technician Academy

Kalamazoo Valley Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) student Jalen Hooper, 23, is working full-time while completing his degree. He’s enjoying his training and has urged his friends to consider a career in the skilled trades. Juggling work and school is a challenge for Hooper.

“I’m tired 99 percent of the time,” he said. “It’s difficult, but I know what I’m fighting for and the payout is going to be worth it.” Hooper said he is enjoying HVAC work so much that he considers it more fun than work. “When you’re doing something you love, it no longer feels like you’re working,” he explained.

Engineering, Design, Manufacturing and Technology (EDMT) instructor Bill Kring said he takes phone calls almost daily from area employers who want to hire skilled trades workers. “From beginning, to intro, to advanced skills instruction, we serve our students quite well,” Kring said. “When our students leave us, they’re ready. I’m confident that they’re going to become some of the most valuable employees in any company. They can go to work in a host of capacities and they’re going to be some of the best.”

Kring said career and technical trades jobs are plentiful. “There’s a lot of opportunity in this area and we’re well-connected in the industry. We’re able to streamline training and fill attrition rates for area employers.”

To learn more, click the link below to view videos that highlight some of Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s CTE programs in Machine Tooling, Welding and Electrical Technology. The site has detailed information about other career and technical trades training at Kalamazoo Valley, as well. Visit www.kvcc.edu/skilledtrades.

Also consider joining the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Workforce Development on Monday, Feb. 28 at 2:30 p.m. for a panel discussion celebrating Career and Technical Education Month. Hear from CTE experts and students as they discuss the exciting opportunities available when participating in career and technical education. Register for the event here.

Established in 1966, Kalamazoo Valley Community College 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.

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