Brinks: Governor's Line-Item Veto of Engineering Program is Short-Sighted

Governor removed funding for pre-college engineering education
Monday, June 17, 2013

State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) called Gov. Rick Snyder’s line-item veto of a pre-college engineering program unwise and bewildering because it makes it more difficult for young people to study science and get a head start on a lucrative, in-demand career.

“We encourage our sons and daughters to study math and science and to consider careers in engineering. But with this veto, the governor is telling our kids that science doesn’t matter, and discouraging them from entering careers that will lead to high-paying jobs,” Brinks said. “This is a step backward for our kids and a step backward for Michigan. We should be doing more to encourage young people to enter this field. Instead, because of the governor’s veto, we’re turning them away.”

The governor used a line-item veto to eliminate $350,000 for pre-college engineering programs in Grand Rapids and Detroit. The Grand Rapids Area Pre-College Engineering Program focuses on a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum, the areas of study that are linked to higher-paying jobs in West Michigan, according to a recent Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program report1. In Grand Rapids, the program is located at Creston High School and has several community partners, including Kettering University, Michigan State University, the Van Andel Institute, Pfizer and Steelcase. It emphasizes hands-on learning experiences and opportunities to explore biomedical and mechanical engineering careers through job shadowing, internships and summer learning programs.

“This is exactly the sort of innovative learning program we should be expanding in our state,” Brinks said. “Instead, our governor wants to cut its funding, and we’ll all pay the price. Our kids will have fewer learning and career opportunities, and companies that might have brought good jobs to Michigan will instead expand in states where governor’s value education.”

  1. Harger, J. (2013, June 10). In West Michigan, study finds higher-paying jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). MLive.com. Retrieved from http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2013/06/in_west_michigan_study_finds_h.html