By LINDA LOBECK
IRON MOUNTAIN - Some exciting enhancements to current programs at Bay College's West Campus are in the works now and should be completed within the year, reports President Dr. Laura Coleman.
Through a consortium of eight community colleges, Bay has received an award of more than $1.4 million dollars through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program to focus on advanced manufacturing skills.
And $500,000 of these funds will be used at the West Campus for equipment to put in place a welding lab, Coleman announced.
"We will be working with the community to find a place for the lab. This has been a huge need in the area that businesses have come to us and told us about," she said. "We are very excited about this opportunity to be able to offer this educational experience to Bay West students."
Coleman said that they will be offering the welding classes within 12 months. Currently, they offer a couple of the welding classes using the facilities at the Dickinson-Iron Technical Center in Kingsford.
"We are looking to expand that with another lab within the ISD center that can be used both by the adult population from the college as well as the high school students," Coleman said.
Working with the consortium of the eight community colleges, in addition to Bay College, Macomb Community College, Grand Rapids Community College, Kellogg Community College, Lake Michigan College, Lansing Community College, Mott Community College and Schoolcraft Community College in Michigan all shared an award of $24,999,863.
According to the grant award information, the Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing, to which Bay belongs, received the grant award to focus on four job sectors - CNC machining, welding/fabrication, multi-skilled technicians and production operators.
The member colleges planned to created 13 new industry-focused upgrades or modify 63 certificate and degree programs.
The focus of this round of TAACCCT grants, announced by the U.S. Department of Labor, is to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade.
The Dual Enrollment Program offered by Bay West will also be expanded on for the 2014-15 school year. This is a program that allows high school students to begin working on a college degree while still enrolled in high school.
In working with local high schools, Coleman said that they received a request from Breitung Township Schools about offering the college classes at Kingsford High School. Typically, a dually-enrolled student comes to the college and takes the classes usually in the evenings or after school.
Starting out the 2014-15 school year, KHS students can be dually enrolled in high school and Bay West College with the classes being offered during the school day at KHS.
"Next fall, we will start by offering three classes each semester. This is huge - a great opportunity for students at Kingsford High School. Our faculty will be coming there to teach the classes. This will allow for a whole group of eligible students to take a class," she said.
Coleman added that this new look to dual enrollment through Bay came is a result of Breitung School officials asking that the college consider coming on site to teach the college classes to its high school students.
"So we will be offering three of the general education classes there in the fall. It's very exciting news for Bay West as well as Kingsford High School and its students."
Coleman also talked about the success of the nursing program offered at Bay West as well as the campus in Escanaba.
This past year, the Bay West Campus nursing students began using a Human Simulation Lab, which was added to the program through a donation from the estate of Patricia Nelson. This lab provides a simulated adult, a child around the age of eight and an infant and can be used by lab students.
The instructors and technicians can program the simulated patient to respond to a number of different symptoms and behaviors that the students will encounter when they begin working with patients during their clinics.
"It's an amazing opportunity for our nursing students," Coleman said. "The technicians and instructors can program the simulated patient to do anything. This gives the student a chance to practice and learn how to handle a variety of diagnoses in the lab before working on a person. And they can see and learn about a broader range of situations that they wouldn't necessarily get through their clinicals."
Linda Lobeck's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.