HARRISON — Mid Michigan Community College (MMCC) has received a three-year grant through the National Science Foundation (NSF) for over $700,000 to support the creation of a Plastics Technology program on its Harrison Campus.
The new grant will provide for training in the plastics industry through a laddered approach. College students will be able to pursue non-credit training, academic certificates, or an associate’s degree that will seamlessly integrate with Ferris State University’s bachelor’s in Plastics Engineering Technology program.
In order to educate K-12 students about high-tech and in-demand careers, manufacturing career awareness opportunities will be provided to them, their educators, and their parents through fieldtrips, job shadowing, and other experiences.
The plastics program at MMCC represents a collaborative partnership between the college, the Clare-Gladwin Regional Educational Service District (CGRESD), and Ferris State University (FSU). Funding through the grant will support the creation of program curriculum, the purchase of new equipment for hands-on training prep, as well as a program director.
Building from the existing trade and technical classes that MMCC offers, a new level of classes that focus specifically on the plastics technology arena will be developed over the next two years. The grant also provides possibilities and opportunities for area manufacturers who seek qualified training in this emergent field.
Direct assessments of area employment opportunities in the plastics field prompted the college to procure the NSF grant and develop a plastics program. This initiative represents a deepening of the college’s partnership with area manufacturers. Over the coming months, MMCC will work closely with other local manufacturing employers to identify their training and staffing needs and to build short-term training programs that specifically meet those needs.
“The plastics industry is stable and growing, and our local manufacturers are key to economic vitality in this region,” notes Scott Govitz, Executive Director of Workforce and Economic Development. “This grant is aimed at supporting these manufacturers and putting people to work in the plastics sector. We’re very excited about the possibilities it holds.”
The grant serves as a powerful example of the importance of proactive and collaborative efforts to provide local opportunities that make significant local impacts. MMCC is enthusiastic about working with FSU and the CGRESD to increase the impact of the plastics program in both scope and reach.
MMCC’s technical offerings are undergoing a number of changes. Over the last few years, technical facilities and programs have been upgraded and modernized. Included in these changes are roughly $2 Million in upgrades to both the MMCC welding lab and the Heating/Refrigeration/Air Conditioning facility, which included the addition of working geothermal fields for student study and research.
“MMCC has always remained flexible and adaptable so that it could meet the needs of area industry and employers,” Govitz said. “Our new structure brings all of the college’s technical offerings under one umbrella that offers students and employers one place to get the training they need.”
To learn more about the Technology Center at MMCC or the technical and trade offerings, visit midmich.edu.