Mid Michigan Community College has been awarded a $717,000 three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to support the creation of a Plastics Technology training program on its Harrison campus.
The program represents a collaborative partnership that includes MMCC, Ferris State University and the Clare-Gladwin Regional Educational Service District.
Students will be able to pursue non-credit training, academic certificates or an associate degree that will integrate with the Plastics Engineering Technology bachelor’s degree program at Ferris.
The NSF grant will support the creation of the plastics program curriculum, which will focus on plastics thermoforming, and will allow for the purchase of necessary equipment for hands-on training, hiring and developing a program director, and creating two support positions.
“The big benefit for Ferris is for students who get their associate degree to transfer into our bachelor’s program,” said Larry Schult, interim associate dean for the College of Engineering Technology. “It also benefits us by developing better relationships with companies that could hire our graduates into a variety of job classifications in the future.”
As it is understood, the MMCC program’s primary focus will be on thermoforming, one of the manufacturing processes for creating plastic parts. Thermoforming also is a process taught in Ferris’ program, Schult said.
Ferris’ Plastics Engineering Technology program is the largest in the United States and continues to boast a 100-percent placement rate.
Assessment of employment opportunities in the plastics field prompted MMCC to procure the grant to develop the program, which represents a deepening of its partnership with area manufacturers.
“The plastics industry is stable and growing, and our local manufacturers are key to economic vitality in this region,” said Scott Govitz, executive director of Workforce and Economic Development at MMCC. “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.”