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WMCAT awarded $150K Google grant to launch tech career training program COURTESY OF WMCAT

WMCAT awarded $150K Google grant to launch tech career training program

BY Monday, October 31, 2022 02:32pm

GRAND RAPIDS — The West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT) recently received a $150,000 grant from Google to support the nonprofit’s new Adult Career Training Program.

WMCAT’s new Cybersecurity + GRC program is designed to prepare under-employed and unemployed adults in Kent County for careers in cybersecurity, governance, risk and compliance, as MiBiz previously reported

The seven month program will start in December and comprise a 12-person cohort. It is being offered in partnership with GRCIE, a Richmond, Va.-based tech education organization.

“We know that right now economic opportunity is in technology,” WMCAT CEO Jamon Alexander said in a statement. “WMCAT is committed to connecting people to new educational and career pathways, diversifying the tech talent pipeline, and supporting inclusive growth in the region to ensure all families can thrive in the digital economy.” 

The Cybersecurity + GRC program is free for participants, and provides a stipend as well as access to an emergency fund and onsite support. The pilot project is meant to be scalable and repeatable.

The support for the cybersecurity and tech program comes as economic development organization The Right Place Inc. is emphasizing career opportunities in tech for the greater Grand Rapids region. The Right Place launched a plan last month to transform the region into a technology and innovation hub and market the area to tech companies and tech workers over the next 10 years. 

WMCAT was one of just two organizations in Michigan to receive the Google grant, in addition to a $150,000 grant for the Monroe County Opportunity Program in Southeast Michigan. The funds will support programs for at-risk youth, distributing emergency food, mentoring young children and cultivating community gardens.

“Investing in workforce development opportunities for young people is crucial for our state’s continued success. Google’s investments will help the Monroe County Opportunity Program and the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology create pathways to success for at-risk youth and adults. I look forward to seeing the impact and partnerships these grants will create,” U.S. Sen. Gary Peters said in a statement.

Winton Steward, head of Google’s government affairs and public policy in the Great Lakes region, said the tech giant has “had a presence in Michigan for over 16 years, and we look forward to continuing our local partnerships to create a greater impact within the state.”

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