'Terrific match' in West Michigan

Nov 30, 2004

Kettering can now offer engineering and management options in West Michigan, one of the state's most productive business climates

For Armen Oumedian of Grand Rapids, Nov. 30 was a happy day. It's when Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) and Kettering signed a strategic partnership agreement that will make earning a bachelor's degree in Engineering, the Physical Sciences, Computer Science or Management at Kettering University much easier for students.

Oumedian, an alumnus of both Kettering and GRCC, said he believes that the high quality of graduating seniors from West Michigan is "a terrific match" for the quality academic programs and work experience that Kettering University has to offer them. "This provides area businesses with the best possible student employees and with the opportunity to hire those students full-time upon their graduation. That, in turn, builds the technical core of West Michigan and benefits the community as a whole by keeping the local talent local," Oumedian added.

Under the GRCC/Kettering agreement, students will complete their first two years of study at GRCC with extra counseling and support services, then transfer to Kettering's Flint campus to finish their bachelor's degree through the university's innovative combination of classes and professional co-op work experiences at companies throughout the world.

Officials from the two schools gathered at GRCC for a signing ceremony intended to strengthen their established working relationship by offering improved career information, intensive counseling and mentoring to smooth the transition for GRCC students transferring to Kettering.

"West Michigan is one of the most beautiful and prosperous regions of the state, so we are very enthusiastic at Kettering University about this strategic partnership agreement with Grand Rapids Community College," University President James E.A. John said. "By making the transition from community college to the university as seamless as possible,we hope to encourage more outstanding students from Grand Rapids Community College to pursue our programs at Kettering. With our co-op system of education, Kettering provides excellent work experience for our students with hundreds of co-op employers. Many of these employers are located in West Michigan. Working together, GRCC and Kettering can provide tomorrow's leadership for business and industry."

Grand Rapids Community College President Juan R. Olivarez said, "the strategic partnership with Kettering University demonstrates our commitment here at GRCC to provide students and our community with innovative programming and choices that are always right for the times."

GRCC currently has three former students enrolled in Kettering University programs. Ten former GRCC students have graduated from Kettering University.

Brian Ulanch of Grand Rapids, who is currently enrolled at Kettering University and attended GRCC in 1999 and 2000, was at the signing ceremony to talk about his experiences at the two schools and how this relationship benefits West Michigan. Ulanch is a senior at Kettering majoring in Electrical Engineering, with a minor in Management. He is a 1998 graduate of Northview High School and has been involved with the FIRST robotics program at Central High School in Grand Rapids. At Kettering, he has distinguished himself as a student leader. He is past president of Kettering's student body and is president of Sigma Chi fraternity and the Golf Club. His co-op experiences are with Siemens Dematic of Grand Rapids. He hopes to pursue a career in technical sales or sales engineering.

The agreement calls for joint academic advising to maximize student success and the smooth transition of students from one institution to the other. This will be accomplished through the early identification and referral of interested students. Program components include:

  • career awareness forums,
  • coordination and enhancement of transfer advising,
  • mentoring,
  • increased opportunities for cooperative education assignments, and
  • scholarship development.

Future endeavors at the two schools may include joint outreach to companies, community agencies and organizations and solicitation of Kettering alumni for mentoring, co-op and scholarship support. Faculty collaboration is also envisioned in curriculum development, research initiatives and professional growth opportunities.

Bob Roth, president and CEO of RoMan Manufacturing in Grand Rapids and chair of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, was a featured co-op partner during the strategic partnership ceremony. Roth, a 1985 graduate of Kettering, said business success in West Michigan will only be sustained through innovation. "The jobs of tomorrow will require a trained workforce with a solid technical background and strong communication skills. That is a focus that is shared by both Grand Rapids Community College and Kettering University," Roth said.

Grand Rapids Community College Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers both liberal arts and workforce development degrees, classes and workshops. Student enrollment on the urban campus for both credit and non-credit courses averages 25,000 per year. For more on Grand Rapids Community College, visit: www.grcc.edu

Kettering University Kettering University, formerly General Motors Institute, is one of the country's premier colleges for students seeking careers in business and industry. Located in Flint, Mich., it provides 2,500 undergraduate students with career-based education in engineering, physical sciences, computer science, and business management. Founded in 1919, the University also offers graduate programs in engineering and management that are designed for working professionals. Kettering is ranked among the nation's finest undergraduate engineering schools by U.S. News and World Report. For more on Kettering University, visit: www.kettering.edu.

Writtenby Pat Mroczek
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