Governor Gretchen Whitmer visited Henry Ford College in March to talk about the skills gap and how HFC is helping bridge that gap. She brought her vision for Michigan and how greater educational access at places like HFC will meet Michigan’s future needs.

Whitmer toured two of HFC’s more than 150 programs:

  1. The School of Health and Human Services Surgical Technology program
  2. The automotive technology ASSET program

The governor interacted with students simulating surgery in a brand new, high-tech surgical lab, then watched technology demonstrations from students working on cars in our state-of-the-art automotive lab.

HFC graduates have jobs waiting for them

These two program highlights demonstrated some of the ways HFC’s programs prepare graduates to meet Michigan’s needs across the many fields requiring specialized knowledge and skills training.

We know there will be at least 800,000+ new jobs in high-demand career fields in Michigan in the next six years alone. These will require skilled tradespeople and STEM professionals, including
IT and computer science graduates. HFC’s mission of education, training, and innovation fits these needs extremely well.

“We have a skills gap in Michigan. These programs are incredibly important to strengthening the economy, and we all benefit when we do that,” said Whitmer. “Students who graduate from programs like those I saw today all have jobs waiting for them, and they’re not going to have debt. They have a real path to prosperity.”

Determined to create opportunities

Whitmer has proposed a Michigan Opportunity Scholarship to provide tuition-free community college education to Michigan residents. HFC’s tuition is already among the lowest in the state. Reducing it to zero, while still providing a high-quality education, would be even better for our students.

The connection between household income and education levels is strong. Highly educated states boast some of the highest incomes in the nation. Over the past 20 years, Michigan has been last in the nation in revenue growth for state education funding. Michigan ranks 36th for the number of residents with a high-quality industrial certificate, associate degree, or higher, and ranks 34th for household income. Michigan also ranks near the bottom in literacy.

Our students are certainly smart and hard-working enough, and our teachers are highly qualified and dedicated. The issue is that we are not investing in education at a basic level that our students and our teachers need to succeed.

“There was a point when we had the best skilled workforce in the world. We used to make a much greater investment in college degrees, and they were affordable for everyone. This is important to our economic future,” said Whitmer. “I’m working my tail off to make sure that our children in our P-12 schools are in the Top 10 in our country again.”

HFC’s role in Michigan’s future, and your opportunity at HFC

HFC is already making great strides toward the skills employers need now and in the future. HFC has partnerships with the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan, DTE Energy, Michigan Works!, the Big Three automotive companies, and numerous others. We provide education for the real world, because we work with the real world.

And we start early. We partner with area high schools to provide career and technical education programs, health sciences programs, and early college options open to high school students across our county.

For those seeking a higher degree, we offer official transfer agreements with dozens of colleges, including the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University, Madonna University, Siena Heights University, and numerous others. You can save more than $30,000 by attending HFC for your first two years. And you can earn a full bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Studies right here at HFC.

“It was an honor to have Governor Whitmer visit Henry Ford College. She got to see firsthand some of the ways in which HFC is a gateway to top-quality higher education and rewarding careers, whether our graduates go directly into the workforce or transfer to four-year educational institutions,” said HFC President Russell Kavalhuna. “She told me that she was impressed with our state-of-the-art facilities, and more importantly, with the students at our College and their willingness to work hard for a good future. That makes me very proud.”

Our state and our region need professionals who understand today’s needs and whose education prepares them with the critical thinking skills to stay on top of tomorrow’s demands. This is the kind of preparation we provide at HFC. 

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