State grant helps boost MCC trades, tech training

May 13, 2016

Governor Rick Snyder speaks with Muskegon Community College instructors and staff during a tour of campus skilled trades facilities.
Credit Hilary Farrell

Muskegon Community College highlights results of a close to $7 million dollar investment in skilled trade equipment.

"It’s really a space where people can dream of anything, and then go ahead and make it."

David Stradal is the business department and entrepreneurial studies chair at Muskegon Community College. He’s sharing features of MCC’s future downtown campus, which will include rapid prototype machinery.

"So somebody could come in with an idea on a napkin and we’ll help them build it – or we’ll teach them how to use the equipment so they can build it." 

Stradal’s talk was part of a campus tour given Wednesday to Governor Rick Snyder.

The school received a $4.1 million state grant last year, along with a $2.6 million MCC match to fund equipment needs for welding, machining, manufacturing and other skilled trades.

Richard Lowing is one student benefiting from the funding.

"I’ve spent 20 years in the Marine corps, and the last 10 years (in) food service management."

Lowing says after a contract dried up he came to MCC for a new start in machining and fabricating – something he’s always loved.

"I’m a sophomore right now. I’m looking at possibly transferring to Ferris and going for my technical educator’s bachelor’s degree. So I can teach in vocational tech centers, career tech centers, colleges."

Snyder says he's most excited about leveraging these partnerships for community benefit.

"These are great skilled trades positions we're talking about - in terms of robotics, in terms of foundry work, welding [and other careers]."

Snyder says educational programs like those at MCC help fill a talent gap in the skilled trades, which he says are some of the most in-demand jobs in the state.