State Rep. Julie Calley recently led a bipartisan group of legislators on a tour of the Michigan Career Technical Institute in Plainwell.
MCTI, founded by W.K. Kellogg in 1944, is an educational center for adults with disabilities. The second-largest rehabilitation training center in the country, the facility operates within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and is financed through a public private partnership.
“The work done at MCTI is remarkable,” Calley said. “The students come from all across Michigan to learn valuable skills that prepare them to live a successful and independent life.”
MCTI offers 13 vocational-technical training programs and 44 post-secondary certifications taught in a setting designed to replicate a work environment. The institute recognizes that its students, with the proper training, have immense potential to contribute to both their communities and the economy.
Legislators and staff who attended heard from a panel of students before touring the facility. One student explained that he earned minimum wage before attending MCTI. He will soon graduate as a nationally certified mechanic. Another student talked about the relief of focusing on industry-specific training rather than balancing several classes in a community college environment.
“MCTI is far more than just a school, it’s an entire experience,” Calley said. “Most of the students are away from home for the first time. Along with establishing a vocational pathway, they gain experience in independent living. Because skilled trades are in such high demand, these students are often recruited prior to graduation.”
Of the nearly 10 students who addressed them, legislators learned that likely only one would have been eligible to attend community college – with no guarantee of graduating. MCTI’s graduation rate is about 99 percent.
A video of the tour
“I’m proud of the many, many Michiganders who stood up and took action to make certain that such a power grab never happens again,” said Calley, of Portland. “The people of our state are much better off when our government leaders work collaboratively to solve our state’s problems.”
“For far too long, kids in our local school districts have gotten less funding than those in more affluent areas of the state,” Calley said. “I’ve been fighting to right this wrong since I started serving. Whether they live in a small town or a bigger city, all Michigan students deserve equal funding. This budget finally accomplishes that goal.”