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The surest way out of poverty is through career and education. This is a no-brainer. Adults who are employed in careers that pay a living wage have the stability to provide for their children and contribute to their communities. Students who graduate high school and participate in higher education or career training have a much better shot of moving out of poverty for good.  West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) is an organization that provides real pathways out of poverty for adults and teens through an innovative, experiential approach.

WMCAT is committed to learning that builds context for career preparedness. Using alternative teaching methods and creativity throughout the curriculum, WMCAT helps adults and teens make connections between learning and success, enabling them to follow new opportunity pathways with the help and support of WMCAT staff and community partners.

WMCAT addresses root causes of sustained poverty, unemployment and high school dropout rates, through two impactful programs:

 Adult Career Training

The organization serves under and unemployed men and women through career training in medical coding, medical billing and pharmacy technician. The programs include extensive classroom time with instructors who are professionals in the field and a six-week externship with a local employer. In addition to providing instruction, WMCAT works to address personal and professional development.

Youth Arts Program

WMCAT offers after school programming in arts and technology to high school students from Grand Rapids Public Schools. Students can take classes in graphic arts, photography, fiber arts, and fine arts. Teens that have spent at least one school year at WMCAT can also join project-based design teams that work with local businesses on specific, career-based experiences. Through participating at WMCAT, teens can move toward success in school and career.