Cherry’s advocacy generated funding to renovate and expand institutions of higher learning, secure Flint’s place in Michigan’s technology-driven future
LANSING, Mich. (December 18, 2023) — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 4292 and Senate Bill 174 — supplemental appropriations bills to fund capital outlay projects and complete unfinished business from the Fiscal Year 2024 state budget. Included in the bills are significant investments for projects to benefit students, educators and schools throughout Michigan. Sen. John Cherry (D-Flint) successfully obtained several priority funding items that will result in direct benefits for the people of Genesee County.
“As we enter into a new economy driven by technology and innovation, it’s vitally important we make the investments necessary for our kids to succeed in it,” said Sen. Cherry. “The funding secured for colleges and universities in Genesee County will allow them to meet the moment and provide students with the unique opportunity to learn about — and develop — the cutting-edge technologies that will define the next era. Ultimately, these investments will secure Genesee County’s place in Michigan’s technology-driven future, helping our region achieve long-term economic prosperity.”
Investments secured by Sen. Cherry include $42.5 million for University of Michigan-Flint and C.S. Mott Community College to create physical spaces and academic opportunities that focus on high-growth areas in new economy occupations such as technology, energy, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing. Researchers project job opportunities in these fields to grow at nearly double the rate of the overall job market over the next five years — coming to comprise one out of every six jobs in the U.S. by 2026.
University of Michigan-Flint is set to receive $30 million to expand their Innovation and Technology Complex — adding approximately 50,000 square feet of academic space to the campus. This new space will feature state-of-the-art instructional laboratories and research spaces that are critical for providing students outstanding career opportunities in high-demand fields such as cybersecurity, clean energy and sustainability, automation and more. The project also serves as a critical piece in the university’s overall mission to recruit, retain and improve graduation rates, especially for underrepresented groups.
Figure 1: Graphic showing money secured in the state budget supplemental signed on Dec. 18, 2023. Free use, credit to Michigan Senate Majority
Also included in the budget is $12.5 million for C.S. Mott Community College to make much-needed renovations to the Prahl College Center (PCC), which was first opened in 1971. Currently, the PPC serves as the edifice which houses most of the college’s major non-academic student services. The newly secured funding will allow the college to renovate and repurpose the building’s interior spaces — creating a new Technology and Cyber Hub, Virtual Navigation Hub and Future Careers Hub, as well as artificial intelligence and virtual reality lab spaces.
Together, these two investments will generate significant positive impact for Genesee County and serve as a catalyst for economic growth in the region.