KRESA breaks ground on long-awaited CTE center

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) – Just off I-94 and Sprinkle Road will be another activity center that will be added to the Wings Event Center and nearby industrial parks. But this one will centralize the career and talent program for them Kalamazoo Regional Education Service Agency (KRESA).

“It became pretty clear that while CTE worked in our county, it didn’t work for everyone,” said Eric Stewart, assistant superintendent for career and talent development. “It was offered in a decentralized model, meaning there were different programs in different schools across the county.”

Soon this model will no longer be the case.

On Friday, the dirt was turned for KRESA’s future Career Connect Campus, a 160,000-square-foot career and technical training center. Funding came primarily from voters in Kalamazoo County past the CTE Millage in 2019 and an anonymous $100 million donation last year.

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“This will take it to the next level. I really think that with the addition of this — what we’re really building — a world-class career center, we can put our name on the map as probably one of the best career centers in the country,” Stewart said.

The center will have 25 classrooms, a construction trades area and an AutoTech lab with 20 car bays and hoists.

“We have programs for electrical, HVAC, nursing, veterinary science, great greenhouses…everything you could want would be in this space,” Stewart added.

He explained that the architects and engineers designed the center to be sustainable and flexible for the next industry as well.

“We want to make sure the way we educate young people is relevant to the employers who we hope to hire them when they leave school,” Stewart said. “Vocational and technical education is all about making students more competitive right after they finish 12th grade.”

The construction work should be completed by autumn 2024. KRESA breaks ground on long-awaited CTE center

Dais Johnston

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