NCMC readies $10M project to upgrade healthcare, manufacturing, and skilled trades programs

What’s happening: North Central Michigan College is one signature away from having its Career and Technical Education Enhancement (CATEE) project receive the funding necessary for its launch. The $10 million CATEE project stands to expand healthcare, manufacturing, and skilled trades education opportunities at the Petoskey-based college.

What it is: The CATEE project will overhaul North Central’s 59-year-old Technology Building through a complete and total renovation, and also renovate and expand the school’s existing Health Education and Science Center. The former project will add state-of-the-art machinery and emerging technologies related to robotics engineering, automotive diagnostics and repair, CAD and CNC machining, mechatronics, welding, and construction. The latter improvements will help the school fill regional workforce shortages in the nursing and healthcare fields.

Where it stands: The $10 million project is attached to House Bill 4016, which was recently approved by both the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives. As of this publication, the bill now awaits Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature for final approval, which is expected any day now.

Why it’s important: “CATEE will transform our ability to offer world-class education in areas that are critical to Northern Michigan and the entire state,” says North Central President David Roland Finley. “Michigan’s future depends on a highly educated, well-trained workforce in areas including nursing, allied health, automation, mechatronics, robotics, and many of the skilled trades that drive our economy.”

About that bill: House Bill 4016, a $1.3 billion supplemental appropriations bill, includes the $10 million CATEE project, as well as an additional $3.75 million for Northwestern Michigan College’s aviation program. And while it’s the inclusion of a $630 million proposal for the Ford Motor Co. electric vehicle battery plant near Marshall that has dominated the news cycle, it’s the North Central and Northwestern colleges' inclusion in the bill that earned the vote of state Sen. John Damoose (R-Harbor Springs).

“Over the past several weeks, I have been fighting for funds that will help our region and the state and working with whoever I can in Lansing to represent our district well,” Damoose said in a statement. “First and foremost, I am proud to have been able to secure nearly $10 million for North Central Michigan College in Petoskey for the creation of the new Career and Technical Education Enhancement Center. This funding will help address the serious workforce development challenges throughout our region.”

North Central Michigan College is located at 1515 Howard St. in Petoskey.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.