SMC, LMC students eligible for financial assistance through Michigan Works!

Published 10:35 am Tuesday, March 29, 2022

BENTON HARBOR, Mich.- Individuals who are pursuing their education at Lake Michigan College or Southwestern Michigan College have an opportunity to receive financial assistance and support services through Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren.

Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren was awarded a $2 million Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program grant in July 2021 from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth to respond to the economic impact of COVID-19 and help jobseekers gain skills and transition from education and training to employment.

The initiative, in partnership with Lake Michigan College and Southwestern Michigan College, was created to provide short-term education/training opportunities and supportive services to more than 650 individuals throughout the tri-county region. Career navigators at Michigan Works! will help participants set career goals, identify relevant education and training opportunities, and complete requirements for college admissions and financial aid.

“We know one of the biggest barriers to pursuing training is the need for financial assistance. Right now, there could not be a better time to pursue education and training with all of the resources that are available,” said Dr. Ken Flowers, dean of Career and Workforce Education at Lake Michigan College. “Students who take advantage of the funding and support services being offered through the MiLEAP program this summer may also be eligible for the LMC Promise that starts this fall.”

“Our goal is to empower area residents to take advantage of the educational opportunities that will help them advance to high-skill, high-wage, in-demand careers without taking on educational debt,” said Dr. Karen Reilly, dean of the School of Business and Advanced Technology at Southwestern Michigan College.

Collectively, LMC and SMC have identified 47 short-term educational programs for MiLEAP participation that span from one day to two years in duration and lead to a credential. Prospective participants must possess a high school equivalency to receive MiLEAP services. Eligible participants will be assessed to receive supportive services to address unmet needs such as tuition, books, transportation, and work-related clothing.

“This is where partnerships like the ones we share with LMC and SMC can create true impact in the community,” said Lily Brewer, executive director of Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren. “This collaborative effort will help individuals get the skills and training they need to be successful and will prepare them for the world of work.”

Individuals interested in pursuing a short-term training opportunity leading to a credential should visit

Michigan Works! of Berrien, Cass, Van specializes in educating, training, and employing individuals of all ages. We work with local businesses to find out what keeps them up at night and help them tackle the most pressing challenges they may face, including attracting and retaining talent. For more information, visit