The Upper Peninsula Education Partnership, led by the presidents of the three U.P. state universities, received the 2015 Collaborate Award at the Michigan Governor’s Economic and Education Summit in Detroit. The partnership was recognized for uniting a network of community colleges, intermediate school districts and business leaders to meet the unique talent needs of the region.
Northern Michigan University President Fritz Erickson said, “It was an honor to have Governor Snyder recognize the leadership role that the U.P.’s colleges and universities play in helping the region overcome obstacles and forge into new economic, cultural and technological frontiers and, in doing so, set an example of how to work collaboratively for the betterment of Michigan.”
Collaborate, Connect and Create Awards were each presented to one of Michigan’s 10 prosperity regions created by Gov. Rick Snyder to inspire collaboration and provide services more effectively and efficiently. The U.P. Education Partnership falls within Region 1.
“I was honored to represent Lake Superior State University at the Governor’s Summit,” said LSSU President Tom Pleger. “The conversations and discussions were engaging, collaborative and forward-thinking. LSSU, MTU and NMU are dedicated to improving and enriching the lives of the citizens of the U.P. and Michigan, and it is a pleasure to work with colleagues who have what’s best for their communities in mind.”
Examples of collaboration facilitated by the partnership include a reverse transfer agreement among six U.P. higher education institutions, which was used as a model for required statewide implementation. The reverse credit transfer process allows students to complete an associate degree while working toward a bachelor’ degree, often enabling them to enter the workforce while continuing their education.
Other U.P. efforts that have garnered attention from the governor are: the Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College, a public early college program that allows students from those counties to earn a high school diploma, college credits and a technical certificate from NMU at no cost; and Michigan Technological University’s role in the MTEC SmartZone, a small business incubator designed to build a more prosperous regional economy in the Keweenaw. The SmartZone has helped to create about 500 high-tech jobs since its inception in 2002 and a collaborative effort led to a satellite incubator in Marquette.
"The UP's public universities—Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State—play a key role in preparing coming generations to compete successfully in tomorrow's skill-based economy,” said Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz. “Working together with our community colleges, schools and business leaders, we can be even more effective."
The governor’s summit in Detroit honored efforts to create opportunities for students to gain in-demand skills as part of Michigan’s efforts to lead the nation in building a talented workforce.
“Michigan has some of the best, brightest and most innovative entrepreneurs and educators in the nation,” said Snyder in a press release. “These local businesses, schools, and organizations are working together in really exciting ways to build a talent pipeline that will keep Michigan’s economy moving for generations.”