BATTLE CREEK –  The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has provided a $15.5 million grant to Grand Valley State University to partner with Battle Creek Public Schools to provide students a pathway to high-demand jobs in the health care and education sectors; offer teachers enhanced professional development and mentorship opportunities; and continue to build a pipeline of talented educators in Battle Creek.

Additionally, GVSU will open an outreach center in downtown Battle Creek this summer to coordinate student services, also enabling the entire community to inquire and access the university’s resources.

“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the Kellogg Foundation and we are honored they looked to us to provide targeted educational programs in Battle Creek,” said Thomas J. Haas, president of Grand Valley State University. “We know how education positively affects the entire climate of a region, and we look forward to a fruitful relationship and successful outcomes for the students, teachers and members of the community.”

The grant to GVSU marks the beginning of a strong partnership and vision to increase access to higher education options and build a powerful talent pool locally. It builds on a series of long-term investments to support the economic growth of the region.

“This new partnership reflects the commitment to collaboration that is guiding our shared efforts for children and families in Battle Creek,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “It is creating a new pathway in our community — one that ultimately can increase access to jobs and talent in our region.”

Jobs in science, technology and health care are not only among the most high-paying jobs, but they are industries that continue to grow and need more skilled workers. Middle and high school students enrolled at BCPS will be able to attend STEM-focused summer camps where they will get hands-on experience in the health care, engineering and science fields.

They will receive valuable and highly-coveted exposure to a range of jobs available, and these programs will help encourage and position them to pursue these careers. High school students can enroll in university classes in education and health sciences to get a head start in their pathway to college and career. Additionally, special camps will encourage young girls to explore math and sciences to promote greater gender equity in these fields.

Recognizing the need to invest in and retain public school teachers in Battle Creek, GVSU’s College of Education will offer professional development opportunities to Battle Creek Public School teachers through new teacher mentoring, leadership development and various programs to support curriculum design and instructional practices. Additionally, classroom assistants will receive support to become certified public school teachers, and pipeline programs will be established to bring more educators to Battle Creek.

“The GVSU partnership will open up new, creative ways for BCPS to attract and retain talented teachers, create a student teacher pipeline to develop the next generation of local teachers right here in Battle Creek and help further develop our current teaching staff through university-led mentorships and professional development,” said Kimberly Carter, Battle Creek Public Schools superintendent. “We are thrilled that this partnership will help us continue to scale up excellence for our BCPS educators and students.”

Maria Cimitile, provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs at Grand Valley State University, said the university looks forward to building a strong partnership with the district and community.

“We are pleased at the opportunity to work with Battle Creek Public Schools to offer their talented teachers professional development and teach students about the vital careers in health care and education,” Cimitile said. “Our faculty and staff are dedicated to excellence in learning and community engagement. We are excited to contribute our faculty’s expertise to help in the growth and economic health of the community.”