KALAMAZOO — In a bid to grow the talent pool for Michigan’s nascent craft brewing industry, Byron Center-based Pilot Malt House LLC has announced a $500 scholarship for students in the sustainable brewing program at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
The scholarship will cover approximately 70 percent of the cost of textbooks for the entire 39-credit brewing program at KVCC, said Ryan Hamilton, maltster at Pilot Malt and a student in the program.
“I’m so impressed with the program and believe in what they’re doing down there so much that we wanted to become engaged with the students and offer an incentive to enter the industry with a leg up, rather than just the school of hard knocks,” Hamilton said.
Executives from Pilot Malt also sit on the sustainable brewing program board at KVCC.
The scholarship will be divided into two, $250 segments and distributed to one student for the next two semesters, Hamilton said. The Kalamazoo Valley Community College Foundation will administer the scholarship.
“We chose textbooks because not only is there a need for it, but when you apply for (student) aid, the money that would be dedicated to textbooks is an afterthought or not included at all,” Hamilton said.
Overall, Hamilton said he hopes the scholarship program is a step in the right direction to building a passionate workforce for the brewing industry in the state.
“We really believe in building a sustainable brewing industry in Michigan and beyond by building a sustainable workforce,”
Hamilton said. “We want to see people entering the industry with the intent of building a career, not just a job.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original form.