Leaders: KRESA millage will help students, economy

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A career and technical education center will soon be established in Kalamazoo County after voters approved a millage in Tuesday’s election.

The millage passed overwhelmingly with 60% voting yes.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Election results

Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency Superintendent Dave Campbell says he is thankful for the community’s support.

“We’re just so appreciative of the many voters that see it’s time for Kalamazoo to really dedicate some resources to career tech ed,” Campbell said.

The plan is to either build a new center or renovate an existing building to provide training in skilled trades and technical positions.

Campbell wants the community involved in the planning process.

“Collaboration means you are asking people their opinion, so we are going to be putting together more committees to seek input,” Campbell said.

Jill Bland, managing partner with Southwest Michigan First, says the millage passing will allow training that helps grow the economy.

“As we are out talking to businesses and identifying what are their challenges and opportunities, workforce continues to come up as the greatest need,” Bland said.

Many businesses are already involved in the process ready to donate equipment, funding, and expertise.

“From those small mom-and-pop shops on up to the Pfizers and Strykers of the world, they have played a strong roll in putting this plan together,” Bland said.

The goal is to create a center that will provide training for in-demand careers that are experiencing growth.

“We are gearing up for the kids’ future,” Campbell said. “Not our future.”

The KRESA superintendent says the planning process will ramp up immediately.

It is not yet known exactly how long it will take to get a career tech center up and running.

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