Benishek visits Bay West College


Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN – U.S. Rep. Dr. Dan Benishek visited with Dr. Patrick Kennedy, vice president of Bay College West in Iron Mountain, on Tuesday to discuss how the college is using funds to promote vocational education.

Recently, Bay College was given $400,000 to enhance its vocational education programs in Dickinson County, with a focus on welding specifically.

This funding is part of a $1.5 million Trade Adjustment Act grant shared by the Iron Mountain and Escanaba Bay campuses.

“There are jobs available in Michigan for those with the right skills,” said Benishek, R-Crystal Falls. “The problem lies in getting these skills to individuals so they can obtain good paying, family-raising jobs.”

Kennedy took Benishek on a tour of facilities on the Bay West campus as they discussed developments in technical education at the college.

Bay West will use a portion of the grant funding to begin a welding certificate program. The college is working with Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District as there are currently no welding facilities on campus.

Benishek supported a grant application from the Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing, to which Bay College belongs, that went before the United State Department of Labor.

The application focused on four job sectors – computer numerical control (CNC) machining, welding and fabrication, multi-skilled technicians and production operators.

“Our curriculums have changed,” Benishek said.

“Young people don’t always have the opportunity to explore these types of jobs.”

Benishek has been the U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 1st Congressional District, which includes the entire Upper Peninsula and much of northern lower Michigan, since January 2011.

Prior to his election to Congress, he was a general surgeon in the Dickinson County Healthcare System and at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Iron Mountain.

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