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Horn legislation boosting higher education funding approved by joint legislative committee

LANSING, Mich. — The Joint Capital Outlay Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday approved a bill sponsored by state Sen. Ken Horn to advance improvement projects at many of  Michigan’s public universities and community colleges.

“In recent years, there has been a lot of focus on keeping Michigan competitive across a wide variety of industries, along with growing, attracting and retaining talent in Michigan,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “Our higher education institutions are a crucial part of getting Michiganders trained to fill the growing vacancies in skilled positions, and many of these projects include high-tech improvements that will put students across the state in a position to succeed like we’ve never seen before. This really is a historic moment for higher education in Michigan.”

Senate Bill 78 provides planning authorization for projects at many of Michigan’s universities and community colleges. The improvements range from renovations and additions to existing buildings to construction of new high-tech learning centers to help provide Michigan students with enhanced learning opportunities.

Eleven of these project authorizations would be for public universities and 18 would be for community colleges.

“We appreciate the joint committee’s actions to bring much-needed resources to our university campuses,” said Michigan Technological University President Richard Koubek. “For MTU, the Center for Convergence and Innovation cements Michigan Tech’s leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution by integrating our business and computing programs to better prepare the modern workforce. Michigan-based industries desperately need to stay competitive, including software engineering, computer science, cybersecurity, data science, business analytics, fintech, health informatics, and tech-based entrepreneurship.”

The measure includes funding for engineering and aviation facilities at Eastern Michigan University, health sciences additions at Ferris State University, criminal justice and fire training facilities at Lake Superior State University, a renovated science complex at Oakland University, new space for skilled trades programs at Kirtland and Oakland community colleges, and nursing and health technology spaces at Monroe and North Central community colleges — among many other projects.

“Many industries across the state are begging for skilled workers, and approval of this legislation is a major step toward getting schools across Michigan some additional, much-needed tools to help prepare students to thrive in high-demand positions,” Horn said. “These projects will allow Michigan’s higher education institutions help more students develop lifelong skills, start a career, and build a life here in our state.”

The bill now goes before the Senate Committee on Appropriations for consideration.

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Editor’s Note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorKenHorn.com. Click on “Photos” under the “In the News” tab.

Photo Caption: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, joined lawmakers, university officials and other stakeholders as the Legislature’s Joint Capital Outlay Committee approved project authorizations to make significant upgrades to many of Michigan’s universities and community colleges. These upgrades and improvements focus on high-demand fields and focus on student success and keeping Michigan competitive across a number of industries.