United for a better workforce

Feb 2, 2006

Flint's four campuses have joined forces to better prepare a workforce for the knowledge economy


The leadership at Flint's four college and university campuses are proving that the old saying is true -- four heads are better than one!

The presidents of Baker College of Flint, Kettering University, Mott Community College and the University of Michigan-Flint unveiled a collaborative "College Town" initiative on Feb. 2 with the ultimate goal of educating the region's workforce for the country's new high-tech economy. The four presidents convened at Kettering's Mott Center for a press conference to kick off a campaign around the slogan:

Kettering President Stan Liberty said one of the first elements of the new collaboration is a full-color billboard on I-75 in Flint, which the partnership unveiled this week. The billboard is on the west side of I-75, facing south, and located between the Miller Road and Corunna Road exits. It features students from each of the four campuses. The billboard will rotate among three sites on I-75 and I-69 in Flint for about six months - a cost being shared by the four schools.

"This is a perfect example of how the resources of the four campuses can blend together to help the region," said Dr. M. Richard Shaink, president of Mott Community College. "Our focus at Mott Community College is always on the Genesee County community, but this is a special time for this region. Having the four campuses bring their unique resources together is part of the answer for dealing with the challenges of today's economy," he added.

"Higher education must play a leading role in making this area prosperous," said Chancellor Juan E. Mestas of the University of Michigan - Flint. "A well developed economy requires well educated leaders, and the Greater Flint area is fortunateto have four excellent institutions of higher education that complement each other and work together to serve the community."

The president of Baker College of Flint noted that local student populations offer some impressive demographics for the region. "Flint has more than 26, 0000 undergraduate and graduate students, so you can understand why some people have started calling Flint a 'College Town,'" said Julianne T. Princinsky, Ed.D. "The more members of our community who are educated, the stronger the capacity for our workforce, our arts, and our children," she added.

What is the knowledge economy?

"A lot has been written about the fact that knowledge has become the third factor of production in leading economies," said Kettering President Liberty. "For centuries, success was focused on labor and capital, but the key factors of production today are technology and knowledge. That's where the need for stronger collaborations to prepare a new, diverse workforce comes from," he said.

The four presidents acknowledge that a collective effort to prepare tomorrow's workforce will be a slow process. "Academic preparation of college bound students, especially in fields requiring strong math and science foundations, is generally deficient in this country," said Kettering's President Liberty. "We've certainly got our work to do."

"But challenge comes hand-in-hand with opportunity," said Mott President Shaink. "Our intent is to begin to build on our mutual strengths and differences."

Chancellor Mestas pointed out that Flint's four higher education campuses have worked together formally and informally for years, offering a variety of programs and events for the benefit of the community. Some examples through the years include the following:


  • This week's Global IssuesFilm Festival, hosted by Kettering University and Mott Community College from Feb. 1-4.
  • Several formal articulation agreements between the University of Michigan-Flint and Mott Community College assist graduates with associate degrees make a smooth transition to the university.
  • The University of Michigan-Flint recently hosted the community celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, attended by a variety of students and employees from the various campuses.
  • Baker College of Flint recently hosted more than 400 high school business students for the Business Professionals of America regional competition.
  • All four campuses continue their ongoing commitment to the American Red Cross for blood drives. In years past, the four campuses ran "blood battles" to see which campus could collect the most pints of blood to benefit the regional Red Cross program.

Baker's President Princinsky said the region has a strong tradition of supporting higher education. Current enrollments at the four schools are:


Baker College of Flint:
Kettering University:
Mott Community College:
University of Michigan - Flint:
10, 111
Total23,834 +2,399 = 26,233

"We're focused on what we can do together," Baker President Princinsky concluded. "We stress ways we can combine our strengths."

About the four campuses:

Baker CollegeBaker College of Flint is part of the largest private college system in Michigan. Baker College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is a non-profit higher education institution, serving more than 34,000 students on 11 campuses and four satellite locations. Baker grants certificates, associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees in business, health and human service, education, and technical fields. As a career college, the Baker College system is proud to have achieved a graduate employment rate of 99.6 percent.

Kettering UniversityKettering University, formerly called General Motors Institute, is located in Flint, Michigan, and is one of the country's premier co-op institutions. It provides 2,500 undergraduate students with career-based education in engineering, applied sciences, mathematics, and business management. Students receive instruction from faculty who are active in research and committed to excellent teaching in the classroom. Founded in 1919, the University also offers graduate programs in engineering and manufacturing management. Kettering has been continuously ranked among the nation's finest specialty schools by "U.S. News and World Report."

Mott Community CollegeThe largest college in the Flint and Genesee County area, Mott Community College serves over 20,000 area residents each year. MCC was established in 1923 and offers associates degrees, college transfer, a variety of career programs and corporate training. With its main campus in Flint and satellite sites in Fenton, Clio, Lapeer and Howell, Mott College offers over 100 different programs. MCC's Regional Technology Center (RTC) has won wide respect throughout the area foritsinnovative approach to technology as well as housing most of this area's traditional skill trades apprenticeships programs. MCC's is also widely recognized for its health science, criminal justice, culinary arts and fine arts programs.

The University of Michigan - FlintThe University of Michigan-Flint is one of three campuses of the University of Michigan. This year, the University will celebrate 50 years of serving the citizens of the city of Flint and the surrounding region. The mission of UM-Flint rests on three pillars: excellence in teaching, learning and scholarship; student-centeredness; and engaged citizenship. With its urban location, the university has theopportunity to provideaUniversity of Michigan education to students with varied life experiences. UM-Flint offers over 100 bachelor's and 26 graduate degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences and in a number of pre-professional and professional fields.

Written by:

Pat Mroczek, Kettering University, (810) 762-9533, pmroczek@kettering.edu
Michael Kelly, Mott Community College, (810) 762-0456
Jennifer Hogan, University of Michigan-Flint, (810) 762-3351
Bruce Lundeen, Baker College, (810) 766-4258

"Preparing a workforce for the knowledge economy."