Grant helps MCC launch STEM Lab to support K-12 students

Muskegon Community College has received a $238,200 People Award project grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation to support the creation of a STEM Lab and the hiring of a coordinator to help K-12 students learn about the connection of science, technology, engineering and math to skilled-trades careers.

The People Awards, which were announced on Jan. 20, also included a $150,000 grant to the Ottawa and Allegan County United Way and a $100,000 grant to the Michigan Community College Association.

Helping students at all levels

“The three People Award projects we have selected for funding will bolster our state’s most valuable resource, our people,” says Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation, which is the charitable arm of Michigan’s largest energy provider. “We operate with a triple bottom-line mindset, focusing on people, the planet and our state’s prosperity, and these People Award grants serve an important role in helping Michiganders improve their future economic prosperity and meet their immediate needs.”

The grant supports MCC’s effort to focus on STEM education at all levels within the K-12 system.

“Knowing the current talent crisis, Muskegon Community College wants to assist all levels of educational providers in preparing students for the workforce,” says Cyndi Langlois, associate dean of workforce and talent development at MCC. 

The funds will be used to employ a 20-hour per week STEM education coordinator for the next three years, as well as for STEM-related equipment, material, and curriculum. The Consumers Energy STEM Lab will be located in MCC’s Rooks|Sarnicola Entrepreneur Institute in downtown Muskegon.

Goal is 2,000 students a year

“We want to connect to current K-12 curriculum to support the STEM fields, to help students learn about post-secondary educational opportunities, and to learn about career opportunities in high-demand and high-wage fields with a specific focus on manufacturing,” says Langlois, who hopes to have 2,000 students annually access the STEM Lab.

The STEM lab, which is projected to be operational by June 2022, will be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The grant will also help school districts pay to bus their students to the STEM Lab.
“Many rural and urban schools have barriers to accessing resources due to inability to pay for busing,” Langlois sayas. “We want to ensure populations from all over the region have equitable access to the STEM Lab.”

For more information, contact Cyndi Langlois at 231-777-0456 or at cyndi.langlois@muskegoncc.edu.

 

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.