MI schools get state of the art equipment with $12.5m in state grants

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan schools are expected to gain CTE programs with a state of the art equipment grant worth $12.5 million.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston released a statement on Friday stating that the money will help students gain in-demand career skills, boost awareness, and be provided with more training opportunities.

“We want students across the state to have access to strong career and technical education programs,” Whiston said. “These grants will help all districts, and allow some to show how to develop partnerships within their communities and build awareness so students know what opportunities exist.”

Here's how the money is broken down.
- The $12.5 million includes $7 million to be distributed equally to Career Education Planning Districts across the state. The state also has $5 million in competitive grants available to districts that will demonstrate partnerships with higher education and industries, and also demonstrate how the money will be used to increase training in high-wage, high-skill, high-demand occupations.

The release states that the $5 million competitive grant must be used to
• make CTE classes more available;
• demonstrate the commitment of local and regional partners, as well as employer demand;
• increase career awareness for students, adult learners, parents, teachers and counselors; and
• boost student work-based learning opportunities, apprenticeships and teacher/counselor externships.

These grants will range from $100,000 to $1 million and are expected to be announced in early next year.

For the $7 million in grants distributed statewide, funds must be used to update equipment that will result in training for high-wage, high-skill and high-demand occupations.

According to the release, there is also a $500,000 competitive grant for existing mechatronics programs. Recently, that was awarded by the Michigan Department of Education to the Gratiot-Isabella Regional Education Service District, Lenawee Intermediate School District, Livingston ESA, Macomb ISD, Newaygo County RESA, Oakland Schools, and St. Clair County RESA.

Uses of last year’s grant money include:
• Jackson County’s Career Center purchasing a 3D printer for the pre-engineering program and a manual lathe machine for the precision machining program.
• Genesee County Intermediate School District buying equipment for the welding and marketing programs.
• Kalamazoo RESA gaining robotic arms for students in the computerized manufacturing program and electronics and robotics program, allowing students to create program functions that rival those used in industry.