(269) 968-1113

Community Engagement

Community Engagement

Community engagement is only successful when it is an organic process originating from the hearts and minds of the residents in our community. Our job, as a community development organization is to be a resource in the community facilitating projects and discussions. We know from experience that engagement represents a mosaic of activities and people. Southwest Michigan Community Development Corporation supports these activities in several ways.

Building a Stronger Community with


The Battle Creek Police Department and Southwest Michigan Community Development Corporation invite you to connect with your neighbors and it’s FREE!

Nextdoor is a FREE private social network designed to connect neighbors to neighbors. Each of Battle Creek’s Neighborhood Planning Councils (NPCs) is an already defined “neighborhood” just waiting for you!

Examples of how Nextdoor neighbors can connect:

  • Multi-family garage sales
  • Find a great baby sitter or handyman
  • Enhance your Neighborhood Watch program
  • Get to know your neighbors

Join today and help make our neighborhoods stronger!

Hundreds of Battle Creek families have joined Nextdoor. You can too!

Here’s how to join your Nextdoor Neighborhood for FREE:

Step 1: Go to www.Nextdoor.com
STEP 2: Enter your address and email, then click the green button labeled “Find your neighborhood.”
STEP 3: Your Neighborhood Planning Council’s name will appear as your “neighborhood”. Enter your name and method for verifying your address. When your address is verified you are
registered! There is one more step to get this network rolling…
STEP 4: Select the green box to send free postcard invitations to your closest 20 neighbors! Confirm the “Send Postcards” and you are ready to start building a stronger and healthier neighborhood.

Get Ready Battle Creek Campaign

Being prepared for disasters is an unfortunate fact of life. Not being prepared would be irresponsible. Southwest Michigan Community Development Corporation is proud to support efforts to create a Citizens Corps of volunteers that will be trained and supported through the Battle Creek Cert Program and its “Get Ready Battle Creek Campaign”. Post-disaster efforts occur in three phases: Immediate response to basic needs, initial recovery phase, and long-term recovery phase. Many community and regional agencies focus on a single phase and each phase is equally important to the successful overall recovery of a community. Managing each phase of a community disaster requires knowledge of available community resources, organizational capacities and communication channels. The objective is to effectively manage the residual chaos of the disaster while addressing human needs and still meeting recovery goals.

Bringing to bear the experiences and expertise of partner agencies, the consortium will create a flexible, robust, and durable system to ensure that human services agencies are tightly networked, knowledgeable of each other’s services, and able to communicate openly and quickly.

For more information, please contact

Mike McKenzie, Administrator
Emergency Management/Homeland Security
Battle Creek Police Department
20 N. Division Street
Battle Creek, MI 49014
(269) 966-3550 office
(269) 962-0102 fax

Battle Creek CERT on Facebook

Conversations on Racial Equity

Included as one of our core values is our commitment to racial equity by supporting fair housing and other issues related to “developing the whole child,” including education, childhood health and food systems, and family economic security, all with a strong emphasis on eliminating the disparate outcomes for children based on race and poverty.

We have been engaged in supporting and protecting fair housing and lending from our beginning. One of the ways we are approaching this conversation is to be more intentional about our own awareness and how we approach our work. We have reached-out to other groups, in a collaborative way to help us better communicate this message and seek way that we can spread the significance of racial equity throughout all our programs. Bridges to Cultural Understanding is one of those Battle Creek groups that have been effectively carrying this message. We are collaborating with them on relevant programming and are seeking to expand those partnerships with other groups that share our commitment.

Battle Creek EDGE is recruiting!

The Edge Program is in the process of recruiting for our next group scheduled for presentations starting the week of August 4th, 2014. The actual 8 week program (4 weeks at the RMTC and 4 weeks at Goodwill) is scheduled to begin on September 15th, 2014. We will once again be recruiting for manufacturing candidates who should be prepared to work any shift at a pay rate starting at approximately $8.50/hr with a .25 cent increase after 90 days and an additional $1.00/hr increase after their additional 60–90 day probationary period. The employees will then receive an additional pay increase at their 1 year mark which will put them over the $10.00/hour pay rate. This is a multi-company group which the companies are being solidified currently (Systex and Nexthermal tentatively). The minimum standard requirements for this Edge Group are less restrictive then in the past. Please feel free to refer anyone you may be assisting with job search by having them complete the EDGE referral form.

They can either drop off the form to our office located:

Michigan Works Service Center
135 Hamblin Avenue
Battle Creek, MI

or you can scan/fax the referral to us:

fax: 269-965-8862

or scan/email:

Julie Klein – klein@upjohn.org
Jennifer LaGrand – lagrand@upjohn.org

What is Battle Creek EDGE?

Essential skills Demanded by Great Employers

Battle Creek EDGE is a workforce development collaborative designed to improve employment readiness and economic security for low-income Battle Creek residents. This goal is accomplished by providing a comprehensive training program which culminates in employment for the participants.

Who is Involved?

Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU), Goodwill Industries, Kellogg Community College (KCC), and Michigan Works! are the collaborative partners on this project. While these partners take the lead in operating the program, the participation of other community organizations is critical to the program’s success.

The collaborative partners work with community businesses to customize training for groups of 20 participants. The program includes work skills and technical training, a work experience, and employment with a community business (upon successful completion of the program).

The next group’s focus is on general manufacturing training, which will result in employment with a Battle Creek manufacturing company.

What are the Program Components?


Targeted Job Creation
As a recognized leader in economic development, BCU continues its efforts to recruit, retain, and expand all businesses as well as encourage businesses to hire low income workers for positions that earn a living wage.

Participant Recruitment & Retention
Michigan Works! is responsible for recruiting participants for the program as well as job coaching throughout training and the employment retention phase.

Participant Training
KCC is responsible for participant training in work skills and technical training.

Work Experience
Goodwill Industries provides on‐the‐job training that simulates the actual work that will be performed with the business.

Employer Training
Not every employer will understand the unique challenges faced by low‐income individuals. In order to assist them in understanding, employers receive Bridges Out of Poverty training to gain an appreciation for the participants’ needs.

Financial Opportunity Center
One of the key factors impacting the lives of low-income families is the coordination of services regarding their finances. The FOC will coordinate these services and instruct participants in financial responsibility.

How do I Refer Participants?

Please Contact:

Jennifer LaGrand
Phone: 269-660-1411
Fax: 269-965-8862
Email: lagrand@upjohn.org Julie Klein
Phone: 269-660-1414
Fax: 269-965-8862
Email: Klein@upjohn.org

For more information, visit the EDGE website.


Community Houses

Supporting a network of five community houses with operating expenses for the facilities and programming. The community houses are directed by volunteers living and working around each location and other community organizations. The community houses provide comfortable settings for a variety of activities ranging from wedding receptions for the folks down the street, summer lunch programs for kids, informative meetings or neighborhood gatherings.

Our locations are strategically placed in the heart of the core neighborhoods surrounding the central business district.

  • Spring Grove Hills
  • Washington Heights
  • Creekside
  • Post/Franklin
  • Calhoun St

Neighborhood Crime Watch Eye
Neighborhood Crime Watch

You can make a difference in the safety of the Battle Creek community and our families! For more information, click here.

Community Builders
Community Builders

Community Builders is a nationally recognized program to development community leaders from neighborhood residents. Our efforts the years have produced and supported many active community leaders.

Through the Community Builders program SWMCDC supports Neighborhood Planning Councils as well as various other initiatives designed to keep an engaged resident base in the workings of our community.

Good Food Battle Creek

SWMCDC supports the Join the Food Movement from Good Food Battle Creek and supported by the BC Urban League.

Fiscal Agents

We serve as fiscal agents for community groups and other non-profit organizations.

Neighborhood Planning Councils

We support this neighborhood-based and resident-led community engagement and leadership development structure. Click here for more information.