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Mar 27, 2017 12:07 PM EDT

Launch U: Early College Program in Detroit Builds Talent Pipeline for In-demand Jobs

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Local manufacturers have gathered in Detroit today for a summit which revolves around the advancement of the future of the industry. They have partnered and worked with Kent ISD and Grand Rapids Community College to help build a new pipeline of workforce that will meet the demands of labor.

The early-college program called "Launch U" is a tuition-free, hands-on program that is designed for students who can be identified as builders, designers, coders, and the ones who love to dismantle and rebuild, according to FHPS. And students have until April 17 to register for one or two post-secondary pathways next school year.

The program starts in 10th grade then it continues until high school. It then provides industry certificates along the way. And according to Mlive, apart from the diploma, the students have the opportunity to earn a specialized associate degree if they commit to a fifth year in high school, or if they get a certification in a skilled craft before they graduate. The nicest thing about this is that it's all tuition-free!

GRCC President Steven Ender that programs like this are excellent ways to help students get a head start to their future careers. He said that students at Kent ISD will be able to get access to 21st century workforce skills and college credits for free. In the long run, these students will be ready to meet the needs and the demands of West Michigan businesses and industries.

Why manufacturing? It is because employers have expressed their need for workers who are skilled in technology applications being used in the industry today. Manufacturing, similar to other industries, have already shifted to a knowledge based career and profession because information technology and automation are incorporated in the process.

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