Howmet Aerospace Foundation Grants MCC $200,000 to Support Robotic Technology Training

Robotics Class at Muskegon Community College's Sturrus Techology Center

The Foundation for Muskegon Community College (MCC) was awarded a $200,000 grant by the Howmet Aerospace Foundation to accelerate automation in manufacturing. The grant supports regional workforce development by doubling the capacity of leadingedge robotic technology classes offered at the Carolyn I. and Peter Sturrus Technology Center in downtown Muskegon.   

Governor Whitmer visits MCC in January 2023

This January, Governor Gretchen Whitmer visited MCC’s Sturrus Technology Center to share highlights from her State of the State Address and celebrate the success of Reconnect tuition assistance.

“It’s been a challenge to accommodate all of the local students and apprentices who are interested in studying automation, so we are extremely grateful to be able to increase our teaching capacity,” commented Dan Rinsema-Sybenga, Dean of Academic Affairs.  “In addition to supporting the success of students, Howmet’s contribution benefits the entire region by helping build and retain a vital talent pool.” 

MCC will use the grant to purchase three additional robot cells for the automation lab, which increases capacity from 32 to 64 students over the course of an academic year.  In addition, Howmet’s contribution funds the purchase of additional programmable logic controllers, vision and networking systems, and auxiliary hardware including conveyors and servo drives.  

“Howmet Aerospace is fortunate to have a long history of supporting community efforts in the Muskegon area and at Muskegon Community College,” stated Amy Heisser, Director of Human Resources at Howmet Aerospace.  “We are grateful that through the Howmet Aerospace Foundation, we can make this contribution to MCC’s Automation program at this critical time for improving our community’s workforce.” 

“Muskegon Community College has enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with Howmet Aerospace,” explains Rinsema-Sybenga.  “They supported the Sturrus Technology Center capital campaign by sponsoring the Automation Lab, they contribute annually to the Martin Luther King Unity Day Breakfast, and are a lead sponsor of STEAM Along the Lakeshore, an annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math learning event.”  Howmet Aerospace will have a booth in Hackley Park at this year’s STEAM Along the Lakeshore on Saturday May 6 in downtown Muskegon.  The event is open to students of all ages and their families and there is no cost to participate. 

In addition to providing classes related to degrees and certificates in robotics, CAD, engineering, machining, and welding, MCC offers a full range of workforce development services.  Local employers can take advantage of MCC’s customized training, apprenticeships, internships, and Manufacturing Skills Standard Council assessments.  In addition, the Office of Workforce Development can help companies access funding for training and talent recruitment, free training through the Michigan New Job Training Program, and other business resources.  Additional information about these services is available at or by contacting Stephanie Briggs, Associate Dean of Workforce and Talent Development, at (231) 777-0456.