Senate approves Nofs amendment to School Aid Budget

LANSING — The state Senate Wednesday overwhelmingly approved additional funding for the Michigan Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Partnership.

The amendment to the 2012-13 School Aid budget, offered by Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, provides an additional $100,000 in funding to provide for greater statewide coordination of the Michigan STEM Partnership and increase the academic achievement of students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

“These knowledge areas are critical to the future success of our state, which is why we must make sure that core subjects like science and math are properly funded,” said Nofs. “We also need to make sure the key components of the program, including curriculum design and integration, are fully coordinated between the various STEM partners in both the public and private sector.”

Connie Duncan, director of the Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center, welcomed the approval of the additional funding.

“Legislative support for the Michigan STEM Partnership shows the value of STEM education in increasing student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Duncan said. “The Michigan Mathematics and Science Center Network is grateful for this show of support for Michigan STEM education and partnerships.”

Senate Bill 961 now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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Nofs photo advisory: Senator introduces legislation to enhance MISS Dig at press conference

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, announces Senate Bills 1083 and 1084 at a press conference celebrating Safe Digging Month on April 19, 2012. The measures enhance public safety, protect the environment, and prevent the disruption of vital public services by reducing the incidences of damage to underground facilities caused by excavation or blasting activity.

For a print-quality version of this and other Nofs photos, click the Photowire link above.

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Senate panel approves increased funding for Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy

LANSING, Mich.—Amendments championed by state Sen. Mike Nofs to increase funding for the Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy (MYCA), were approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The amendments, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Colbeck, chair of the State Police and Military Affairs subcommittee, and Sen. Howard Walker, chair of the School Aid and Department of Education subcommittee, authorize $1.5 million in funding to allow the academy to serve a greater number of at-risk youth.

“I really want to thank Senators Colbeck and Walker for their leadership on this issue and working with me to secure the necessary funding in their very tight budgets,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “This was truly a collaborative effort, as well as an excellent example of the Senate prioritizing limited resources on programs that have shown proven results. MYCA works, and that’s why I support it. ”

“The Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy is a worthwhile program that helps turn around the lives of kids who are struggling and prepares them for a life of success,” said Colbeck, R-Canton. “The Youth ChalleNGe program can be a lifeline for many of Michigan’s high school dropouts. Attendance at the academy improves their education and employment potential through the promotion of leadership, service to community, life coping skills and physical fitness.”

Sen. Walker echoed the importance of supporting programs that work.

“I’m a believer in this program,” said Walker, R-Traverse City. “With limited resources, we must focus on those programs that are getting results. I am pleased that Michigan has developed such a nationally regarded ChalleNGe program and am encouraged that more students will now be able to take advantage of the opportunities it provides.”

MYCA is a voluntary, 22-week, quasi-military residential program operated by the National Guard that is geared toward at-risk youth aged 16-19 who have dropped out of school or are at risk of dropping out. The program is funded through a 75 percent / 25 percent partnership of federal and state funding, respectively. It provides at-risk youth an alternative means to an education, where they learn discipline and important life skills to help turn their lives around and transition to successful adulthood.

Since its founding in 1999, MYCA has produced more than 2,000 cadet graduates from throughout Michigan.

For more information on the academy, please visit www.ngycp.org/site/state/mi.

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