Talent

Jason Shamblin liked West Michigan each time his family visited, so he decided he might as well work and live here. When the opportunity arose, he applied to become Ottawa County’s new parks and recreation director.

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.

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

Samuel Stanley Jr., the president of New York-based Stony Brook University since 2009, will become Michigan State University’s next president Aug. 1.

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.

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.

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.

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).

Grand Rapids-based iEducation Group, formerly known as Fusion Education Group, an operator of private middle schools and high schools that offer personalized education, has acquired Futures Academy of California.

Davenport University plans to expand a bachelor’s program for nursing in the Grand Rapids area to meet a talent shortage.

Directors today named James McGrath as the new president and dean at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

Leslie Bellavance plans to return to teaching and step down this summer as president of Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The organization that represents Michigan’s 15 public universities hopes the new governor and legislature will raise state financial support for higher education. In repeating its case for more support, the Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU) cites state data showing a greater need in today’s economy for a college education. Of the top 50 high-demand occupations in Michigan, 36 require at least a four-year degree.

Recent research has indicated the so-called skills gap of the past decade may have been associated more with expectations of employers than the qualifications of the workforce. Millions of jobs were lost in the U.S. during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, and for years after the economic decline officially yielded, high unemployment rates persisted. Even with large pools of job seekers, employers reported difficulty in finding candidates with acceptable skills, credentialing or postsecondary education. Many experts dubbed the phenomenon a “skills gap.”

Marketing Grand Rapids as a place for young people to live and work is becoming increasingly important to the local economy.

KALAMAZOO — Western Michigan University plans to launch an online program designed to improve the ability of I.T. professionals to protect against and mitigate hacks and data breaches. The eight-week, online certification program from WMU’s Haworth College of Business and College of Engineering and Applied Sciences starts in March and consists of four courses in high-demand cybersecurity specialties.

Culture trumps salary in the race for talent nowadays. That’s the shift Dave Smith has seen the last few years among employers in West Michigan as unemployment rates steadily declined and the labor market tightened.

BIG RAPIDS — Ferris State University extended a fundraising campaign by three years and increased the amount it hopes to secure from donors.

The West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) has been named the state’s fifth “Cyber Range Hub,” an initiative aimed at bolstering the Michigan’s cybersecurity defenses.

GRAND RAPIDS — Like many West Michigan-based manufacturers, Wolverine Coil Spring Co. has adopted an all-hands-on-deck approach to counter industry stereotypes and address talent-attraction challenges. 

Michigan’s beleaguered K-12 public education system continues to take a beating from the state’s business groups.

As Millennials graduate from college and consider advanced degrees, West Michigan universities realize they need to integrate technology into course delivery and cater to a generation that grew up in the digital age.

Today’s up-and-coming digital generation still sees the value of a degree-based management education, but a growing number prefer self-directed learning and just-in-time courses instead of established MBA programs, according to a new study.

Grand Valley State University’s search for a successor to President Tom Haas is the latest effort by a Michigan-based public university to secure a new leader.

The rise of big data and the need to interpret it to gain a competitive business advantage have led many executives to reassess their options for advanced degrees. While industry long considered the generalist Master of Business Administration as the standard for career advancement, more companies are prioritizing specialized graduate-level degrees in areas like analytics and data sciences.

A handful of West Michigan executives find that practical business experience can carry over from the boardroom to the classroom.

Michigan’s big three research universities kept up with their peers during the past decade in graduating talent, but lagged in commercializing innovations stemming from research.

Dan Brookhouse can’t stress enough to his control engineering students that automation is the future for the manufacturing industry. 

Here's a list of articles in MiBiz's Higher Education focus section in the May 14, 2018 edition:

By focusing on an internal culture that favors employee retention and support for external training initiatives, some West Michigan executives say they’ve largely avoided any problems associated with labor shortages.

Backed by $432,000 in new state funding, the Kent Career Tech Center aims to expose more students to career opportunities in the skilled trades.

Over the last few years, manufacturers have developed extensive in-house training programs in a move to combat skilled worker shortages.

Until business leaders can come together to address industry problems, companies “will not succeed.”

A year after diversifying its focus beyond alternative energy technology, Muskegon Innovation Hub continues to find ways to reach and serve both entrepreneurs and the greater community.

As demand for engineering talent continues to intensify, some West Michigan liberal arts colleges are partnering with larger state-funded institutions to add niche programs to their curricula.

His first business presented workshops on renewable energy at elementary schools and included solar power kits students could assemble.

West Michigan continues to attract people looking to start, scale and grow all manner of business ideas.

BATTLE CREEK — Through a new partnership with one of the world’s largest commercial airline carriers, Western Michigan University hopes to become a premier institution for training aircraft maintenance personnel.

Giving up a Harvard University education to help develop a high-tech wearable device for elite athletes might sound crazy to some.

GRAND RAPIDS — Care providers seeing patients through telemedicine visits need to develop what Barry Brown call a “web-side manner.”

GRAND RAPIDS — Citing concerns over widespread inequality, economic development stakeholders want to improve their outreach to the growing Latino population in the greater Grand Rapids area.

Citing increasing public awareness resulting from high-profile incidents, Grand Valley State University plans to place greater emphasis on cybersecurity training.

BENTON HARBOR — Lake Michigan College’s new president starts next month with an initial goal to become well connected with the local business community.

As President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries continues to play out in the courts, university administrators and international students in West Michigan say they’re keeping vigilant.