Kirtland Community College is now offering classes and training in brand new building
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
To meet the needs of existing companies in the area and meet the evolving market for skilled trades, Kirtland Community College has opened its Michigan Forest Products Institute.
Kirtland Community College President Dr. Tom Quinn, state legislators, members of the Board of Trustees, and community members provided special remarks at a ribbon cutting for the brand new building on the college’s Grayling campus on Friday, September 6.
Tours of the new building followed.
With a focus on trade education, the new building houses the cosmetology program’s updated Kirtland Salon, modern wood science and automation labs, library and tutoring center, additional classroom and office space. Classes began in the building on August 26.
“We’ve moved away from the college in the woods to become a global college. You can take colleges classes from anywhere in the world from Kirtland Community College and we do have students doing that,” said Jack Kramer, the vice president of the Kirtland Community College Board of Trustees. “We have truly made a big commitment not only to the community here, but to the State of Michigan with the Forest Products Institute but also to students throughout the world.”
Quinn said there were already hundreds of jobs in the forest products industry within five miles of Grayling. Those jobs are in addition to the positions generated when Arauco North America opened its $450 million mill earlier this year.
“The skill sets to work in the industries that we have are pretty amazing,” Quinn said.
Quinn said college leaders are tasked with addressing an ever changing market for skilled trades.
“It’s going to evolve,” Quinn said regarding the institute. “It’s going to be a pretty fantastic location for educating people within a powerful industry within this state and certainly within our area.”
The Michigan Forest Products Institute cost $10 million. The State of Michigan appropriated $3 million with a local match coming from the college. The rest of the money came from bonds, which were approved by voters in the college’s operating district.
The Michigan Forest Products Institute provides enhanced learning opportunities in a variety of professional trade programs, such as welding, automation process control, wood science technology, and more. With over 545,000 job openings expected in trade careers through 2026, the facility is aiming to help meet the high demand for professional trade skills across the state.
Chief Crawford County Probate, Family and District Court Judge Monte J. Burmeister was among the distinguished guests at the ribbon cutting to speak on behalf of the community.
“That is really putting the community into community college. There’s a partnership here that goes beyond taxpayer dollars and it’s an issue of being good neighbors,” Burmeister said. “I think there is a lot of synergy here and there is lot of opportunity for building on the strong bonds that we do have and making them stronger.”
To learn more about the Michigan Forest Products Institute and programs offered at Grayling, visit www.kirtland.edu/grayling/.