Jobs that pay well are open right now and companies are looking for skilled workers to fill them. School News Network is taking on this topic in new series: Bridging the Talent Gap.
Over the past year, more than 4,000 manufacturing jobs have been added in West Michigan, according to Talent 20-25, a force working to meet the demand for talent in this area.
That’s why Kent ISD, along with local school districts, area manufacturing reps, and Grand Rapids Community College, started Launch U. It's an early middle-college program that puts students directly into training for jobs in manufacturing, allowing them to earn an associate’s degree and credentials in the field.
They want students to know there are quicker and more affordable routes than a four-year degree into industries where they can thrive and make high wages.
Launch U offers free education, a free associate's degree, and free workplace-recognized credentials in fields where workers can earn up to $80,000 a year.
Students can enroll in Launch U starting this fall.
Joy Walczak and Erin Albanese reporting for School News Network.