Since Bill Pink became the tenth president of Grand Rapids Community College two years ago, he has become a leading voice for the state’s network of 28 community colleges.

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ALLENDALE — Grand Valley State University extended a capital campaign that now seeks to raise a targeted $100 million or more.

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In response to employers’ calls for action, colleges and universities throughout the state are making a major shift in their workforce training programs. Michigan State University and Western Michigan University, two of the state’s largest public universities, are responding to demands from business and industry leaders by collaborating with community colleges to add more accessible, job-focused credentialing programs to their curriculums.

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BATTLE CREEK — The $22 million expansion of Western Michigan University’s College of Aviation at W.K. Kellogg Airport will include many visible signs of growth. Even so, Dave Powell, the dean of the aviation school, said he is focusing on an area of growth that’s less obvious: About 7 percent of all pilots and airline mechanics in the United States are people of color, and of that percentage about 2.5 percent are African American.

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In a month, Tom Haas will retire from the presidency at Grand Valley State University. Under his 13-year watch, GVSU has added 30 undergraduate programs and 16 graduate programs, opened the Detroit Center and developed 2.5 million square feet of new facilities.

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MUSKEGON — Two of the region’s leading academic water research institutes have forged a partnership to share resources and work together on water-related issues. Earlier this spring, Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) signed a memorandum of understanding with Michigan State University’s Institute of Water Research (IWR).

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Amid national declines in the number of people applying to MBA programs in recent years, business schools in West Michigan are reporting mixed results. While applications to the MBA programs dropped at Michigan State University and Western Michigan University, both Grand Valley State University and Central Michigan University reported receiving higher numbers of applications in recent years. Likewise, MBA enrollment trends were all over the map, with MSU and GVSU reporting more students while both WMU and CMU saw the opposite.

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GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids Community College plans to use a $100,000 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to try to convince more middle school and high school students to consider a career in health care. The college plans to reach out to schools to encourage eighth-, ninth- and 10th-grade students to enroll in a trio of week-long “Health Care Scrubs Camps” scheduled for this summer that will introduce them to health care jobs in the region.

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Buying a site in the Grand Haven area gives Muskegon Community College a permanent campus location in northwestern Ottawa County. MCC took possession this month of a former funeral home location on Lincoln Street in Grand Haven Township, just west of U.S. 31. The college paid $378,000 for the property, where it plans to invest another $432,000 in renovations and start hosting classes beginning this fall.

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When Steve Huizenga seeks to recruit the next generation of tradespeople, he stresses to young candidates that the industry is “not your grandpa’s trade” anymore. Huizenga, president of Allied Mechanical Services Inc., a Grand Rapids-based mechanical contracting firm, said promoting the technology used in the construction trades has been key in recruiting men and women to join his company.

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