Consumers Energy Foundation Provides $250,000 to Support Job Readiness in Four Southwest Michigan Counties

KALAMAZOO, Mich., Sept. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Consumers Energy Foundation today announced a $250,000 grant to Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU), expanding career readiness training and access to education and jobs for 650 teens and young adults across Southwest Michigan.

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"We're committed to building strong communities across Michigan, and that starts with ensuring our state's residents can prepare for their future careers," said Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers Energy. "Youth Opportunities Unlimited has a record of helping young adults reconnect to education, find employment and thrive in their communities. We're thrilled our $250,000 grant can help them to develop and empower even more of Michigan's youth."

Youth Opportunities Unlimited, a division of Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency, will use the $250,000 to continue and expand its Career Pathway Initiative in Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Branch and St. Joseph counties. The nonprofit organization works with the region's school districts to provide students with job training in high-demand fields, career readiness training, and internship, apprenticeship and work-based learning opportunities.

(WATCH: Patti Poppe from Consumers Energy talks with Youth Opportunities Unlimited's director and a student who immigrated to Michigan from Rwanda)

"We are excited to use this Consumers Energy Foundation grant to provide skills to even more young adults," said Paige Daniels, director of the YOU program. "This training increases the number of people in our state who obtain certifications and credentials that help them continue their education or lead directly to jobs in high-demand industries."

The $250,000 grant is one of two awarded by the Consumers Energy Foundation through its first People Awards. The People Awards were the third of three $500,000 grant allocations totaling $1.5 million. Planet Awards and Prosperity Awards winners were announced in April and late fall 2019.

The Consumers Energy Foundation is the charitable arm of Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest energy provider. In 2019, the Consumers Energy Foundation, Consumers Energy and its employees and retirees contributed more than $11.5 million to Michigan nonprofits. For more information about the Foundation, visit

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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