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Posted on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

Washtenaw Community College receives $2.9M federal grant for IT professional job training program

By Ryan J. Stanton


Students work on computers in the Student Center at Washtenaw Community College in this file photo. The college received a grant to re-train workers for IT jobs.

Melanie Maxwell I

Washtenaw Community College has received $2.9 million in federal grant funding to support new high-tech job training opportunities for workers whose jobs were outsourced.

U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, both Democrats from Michigan, joined in announcing the grant for WCC, along with another $15 million grant for Henry Ford Community College.

Henry Ford and WCC will be able to use the money to design programs to re-train workers in new or updated fields, the lawmakers said. Henry Ford is taking the lead in a multi-state manufacturing consortium with community colleges in nine states.

Senator Stabenow.jpg

Debbie Stabenow


Carl Levin

WCC officials said their grant will fund an initiative to develop new information technology employees in Michigan.

Working with Ann Arbor SPARK and other workforce development partners, WCC plans to address what it sees as a strong demand for skilled IT professionals. Academic programs will be designed in two career areas specifically identified as high demand by regional employers: software development for Java and network and systems administration for Microsoft and Linux/Unix platforms.

According to WCC, the programs will be designed to meet the needs of the adult, non-traditional learner and will combine online and classroom instruction.

“We look forward to continuing our collaborative relationship with SPARK in the development of workforce talent in Washtenaw County,” said Michelle Mueller, WCC's associate vice president for economic development and community and corporate alliances.

"Developing the skills of our regional workforce is an economic imperative," said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. "Every company that works with Ann Arbor SPARK cites the ability to hire skilled talent as a key consideration when choosing a place to grow. The grant awarded to WCC ensures that the skills employers need are fostered in this region, ultimately helping individuals here and attracting growing businesses."

The grant awards were made available through the Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training Program.

The program provides community colleges funding to expand and improve education and career training programs for workers eligible for assistance because their jobs were sent overseas or were lost as a result of foreign trade.

"For Michigan to be competitive in the global economy, it's critical our workers have the right skills and training opportunities to help our businesses create the jobs of the future here in Michigan," Stabenow said. "Henry Ford and Washtenaw Community College are rising to that challenge by preparing workers, whose jobs have been outsourced through no fault of their own, with the skills to match the needs of emerging high-tech industries."

For more information on the trade adjustment assistance program and to see which workers qualify, visit the U.S. Department of Labor's website.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Instead of sole focus on the overly saturated android market they should create Windows Phone and Windows 8 app development programs. Since Microsoft provides enterprise/business-class products and support, both of these will undoubtedly be major up and coming players in the near future. They have the added benefit of being platform agnostic between Windows desktops, laptops, phones, and tablets.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

There is also the issue of Java being the most highly exploited development framework. I personally have removed Java a long time ago from all of my systems and have seen many reputable tech sites encouraging others to do the same.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

It sounds like,if djacks24 is correct - that these programs for Java software development and network and systems administration are already in place, that the 2.9 million will be focused on using those existing programs to retrain adult workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign outsourcing. Personally, to me, it sounds like 2.9 million would be enough to help any adult that has lost their job, not just those who lost it to foreign outsourcing. Maybe finding them employment without having to have the experience will be another use of the 2.9 million. If these jobs are still in high demand, great. But, yes, it would be nice to see some fresh programs at WCC.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 12:19 p.m.

The difference might be a special focus on career retraining and/or adult continuing education. Both types of students have much different needs from younger students who are earning degrees right out of high school. That's my hope, anyway.

Lou Perry

Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

Fantastic! This is the training needed to get people employed.


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

"Academic programs will be designed in two career areas specifically identified as high demand by regional employers: software development for Java and network and systems administration for Microsoft and Linux/Unix platforms." WCC already has these programs in place. That's the problem also is that's all they have in place. So what is the 2.9 million going to be used for? Developing the same old stale IT tracts that employers are not hiring for unless you already have several years of experience. While at the same time IT companies are begging WCC to train mobile app developers (iOS, Adroid, etc..). The legislature and WCC need to realize IT training in these same old stale areas + no experience = no jobs.