There are many ways one can judge the economic health of a community.
One of those is what kind of investment is taking place within that community, thus Thursday's groundbreaking at Alpena Community College for the college's new Ferris H. Werth Electrical Power Technology Center is noteworthy and exciting.
Funding for the $5 million project utilizes a combination of state grants and private contributions.
Construction of the new center is important, we believe, for it will allow for expansion of one of ACC's most successful degrees.
The program is so successful that there often is a waiting list of students hoping to enter it. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. has indicated there is a need for workers in this field, and that need will continue for several years to come.
In 1990 ACC officials were convinced by local businesses there was both a need, and a shortage, of trained lineman across the Midwest. Working in partnership with those businesses, ACC developed a program that today, is one of the best of its kind in the United States.
Thursday's groundbreaking will allow for a 21,000 addition to the World Center for Concrete Technology that will house this new Electrical Power Technology Center. The expansion encompasses 21,000 square feet and will allow for three new classrooms, two technical labs, a computer lab and some faculty offices. In addition, it will contain an indoor high lab for power pole training as well as a garage to store vehicles and equipment.
This groundbreaking marks a significant investment into the future of Alpena. It is a positive example of the economic potential that exists across Northeast Michigan.