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New extension campuses will expand technical education opportunities for Michiganders with disabilities
February 05, 2024
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) today announced two new extension campuses for Michigan Career and Technical Institute (MCTI), expanding access to the college’s vocational rehabilitation services to students in Kalamazoo and Livingston counties.
The Northside Association for Community Development will provide Certified Nurse Assistant training in Kalamazoo while Torch 180, a non-profit café and coffee shop in Fowlerville, will offer culinary training to individuals who are eligible for services through Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS).
“Michigan has seen positive trends when it comes to people with disabilities or illnesses moving into the labor force,” said LEO Director Susan Corbin. "We remain committed to providing increased access to opportunity in order to increase labor force participation and grow the middle class.”
Now fully accredited through the Council on Occupational Education, Northside Association for Community Development and Torch 180 will serve as approved instructional service centers for MCTI where students can earn industry-recognized credentials.
"At the Michigan Career and Technical Institute, we are always exploring innovative ways we can expand educational opportunities,” said MCTI Director Jennifer Zuniga. “Our training programs equip individuals with disabilities with the hands-on experience and right skills needed to secure inclusive, competitive employment. Thanks to the efforts and commitments of our partners at Northside Association for Community Development and Torch 180, we’ll be offering important, life-changing programs to students far beyond our main campus in Plainwell.”
The Northside Association for Community Development is a non-profit organization that advocates and promotes a healthier environment, job creation, financial independence, safety and neighborhood revitalization in Kalamazoo County.
“We are thrilled to have this partnership with MCTI to offer accredited, inclusive, community-based Certified Nurse Assistant training,” said Elizabeth Washington, Executive Director of the Northside Association for Community Development. “We are grateful for this investment in our neighborhood.”
Torch 180, a non-profit organization providing food-industry training for adults with disabilities, has been a longtime partner of MCTI’s Culinary Training Program.
"We are so excited to receive this accreditation,” said Torch 180 President Rhonda Callahan. “It gives students the opportunity to earn Michigan Career and Technical Institute's certifications here in Livingston County, and it also adds a welcomed layer of accountability and challenge to our programming."
MCTI also announced it is partnering with Plainwell Community Schools (PCS) to expand adult education services on its main campus. With support from PCS’s Renaissance Adult Education Program, eligible Michiganders without a high school diploma or certificate will now be able to enroll in MCTI and pursue a high school diploma or equivalency while making progress toward a postsecondary credential or certificate.
"Our partnership with Plainwell Community Schools will provide new opportunities to adult learners who may have given up on their education and training goals,” said MCTI Director Jennifer Zuniga. “This unique collaboration will provide support to help adult students earn their high school diploma or equivalency while they also make progress in one of our 12 postsecondary training programs. By working together, we’re opening new career pathways to Michiganders.”
The expanded adult education services are available only through MCTI’s main campus in Plainwell.
“Plainwell Renaissance Adult Education is excited to partner with MCTI to provide on-site classes that will lead to a high school diploma or equivalency,” said Heidi Huizenga, Director of Renaissance Adult Education for Plainwell Community Schools. “We believe this partnership will open doors for students who were unable to earn a high school credential in the traditional classroom by connecting the training programs at MCTI with the courses required to earn a high school credential. We look forward to working together with MCTI to support students as they further their education and earn the skills and credentials necessary for competitive employment.”
The second-largest vocational rehabilitation training center in the country, MCTI is a division of Michigan Rehabilitation Services within LEO’s Office of Employment and Training.
“We are committed to finding innovative solutions to help all Michiganders, including those with disabilities, reach their full potential, and the introduction of these new extension campuses and the new adult services program are great examples of this,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, Director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training. “By finding new ways to help individuals receive the education and training they need to secure good-paying jobs, we’re also supporting Michigan employers who need workers with the right skills to help them grow, compete and succeed.”
MCTI strives to promote the integration of Michiganders with disabilities into both the competitive workplace and society. Students at MCTI’s Plainwell campus may enroll in one of 12 technical training programs, including automotive technology, cabinet making/millwork, certified nurse assistant, commercial printing, culinary arts, custodial, grounds maintenance/landscaping, industrial electronics, information technology, machine technology, pharmacy technician and retail marketing.
MCTI directly supports Governor Whitmer’s Sixty by 30 goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60% by 2030.
For questions regarding enrollment in any Michigan Career and Technical Institute program, including the certified nursing assistant and culinary programs at the new extension campuses and the expanded adult education services in Plainwell, contact MCTI’s admissions office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about MCTI by visiting Michigan.gov/MCTI.###