A Washtenaw Community College Publication
STEM JOBS ARE HIGH-WAGE AND HIGHDEMAND
FULL STEAM AHEAD! STEM SCHOLARS
Program Fuels Passions and Paves Roads to Success for Budding Scientists.
Explore the Future in Automated Transportation and Mobility!
What Can You Earn with Your WCC Education?
LAUNCH FALL 2022
In This Issue 4 8 10
FULL STEAM AHEAD! More than half of WCC’s programs are STEM/ STEAM–focused.
STEM SCHOLARS Program fuels passions and paves roads to success for budding scientists and others seeking STEM careers.
Letter from the President Greetings! It’s time for a new academic year at Washtenaw Community College and with it all the anticipation, excitement and hope in forging unfamiliar paths. We are excited that this issue of Launch magazine is devoted to the importance of STEM and STEAM programs at WCC. Regional, state and national industry forecasts repeatedly inform us that jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are high-demand and high-wage. Creativity and communication are critical factors to success, making the Arts an important focal point. For decades WCC has been building a reputation as innovative, transformational, inspirational and caring. Now it’s time to add STEAM Destination as a foundation of who we are. WCC is committed to STEM and STEAM as an educational priority, with easily more than half of our programs considered a STEAM discipline.
SKILLED TRADES The demand for skilled trades is growing and is forecasted to climb!
We are proud to prepare the best and brightest for STEM leadership roles, and programs like the fast-growing STEM Scholars help propel students to successes at WCC and beyond. In this issue you’ll read about alumni who, already in their young lives, have reached extreme high points in their careers.
DRIVING NEXT-GEN MOBILITY WCC leads the next generation of the automated transportation and mobility workforce.
EDUCATION PAYS What can you earn with your education?
With our focus on electrification of vehicles and transformations in mobility, WCC is on the cutting edge in training students for jobs of tomorrow. Our ease of credit transfer to major four-year univerities is a theme throughout the magazine, including a story highlighting WCC as the top supplier of military veteran students to the University of Michigan’s engineering program. For all these reasons and so many more, it’s “Full STEAM Ahead!” Come and see where WCC will take you. Have a wonderful Fall semester! With warm regards,
WCC Board of Trustees Mr. William G. Milliken Jr., Board Chair Ms. Angela Davis, Vice Chair Mr. David DeVarti, Treasurer Ms. Ruth A. Hatcher, Secretary Ms. Christina M. H. Fleming, Trustee Mr. Richard J. Landau, Ph.D., J.D., Trustee Ms. Diana McKnight-Morton, Trustee Rose B. Bellanca, Ed.D., WCC President 2 | Launch Fall 2022
Rose B. Bellanca, Ed.D., President Washtenaw Community College
STEAM at WCC 2022
Areas of Study
Types of Degrees or Certificates
SCIENCE, COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING & MATH
HEALTH SCIENCES Cardiac Telemetry Technician (C) Certified Pharmacy Technician (BIC) Certified Veterinary Assistant (BIC) Chiropractic Assistant (BIC) Computed Tomography (AC/PAC) Dental Assisting (C) EKG technician (BIC) Health Administration (D) Health Care Foundations (C) Health Program Preparation (D) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (AC/PAC) Mammography (AC/PAC) Medical Administrative Assistant (BIC) Medical Assisting (C) Medical Billing and Coding (C) Nursing Assistance Skills Training (C) Nursing, Registered (D) Ophthalmic Assistant (BIC) Phlebotomy Technician (BIC) Physical Therapy Assistant (D) Radiography (D) Sterile Processing (C) Surgical Technology (D) Veterinary Assistant Program wtih Externship (BIC)
Advanced Manufacturing (CNC) (C) (D) Automotive Test Technician (C) (D) Automotive Cybersecurity (C) Certified Fiber Optic Technician (CFOT) (BIC) Certified and Fiber Optic Specialist/Testing and Maintenance (CFOS/T) (BIC) Certified Fiber Optic Specialist/Splicing (BIC) Certified Network Administrator with Labs (BIC) Certified Web Designer w/ Adobe Creative Cloud (BIC) C++ Programming Advanced (AC/PAC) Computer Science: Programming in Java (D) Computer Networking Academy (AC/PAC) Computer Systems and Networking (D) Computer Networking Operating Systems (AC/PAC) Computer Systems Technology (C) ComptTIA A+ Certification (220-1001 and 220-1002) (BIC) CompTIA SYO-601 Security + Practice Lab & Exam Voucher (BIC) Cybersecurity (C) (AC/PAC) (D) Data Analyst Series: Excel Essentials for Data Analysts (BIC) Excel Intermediate for Data Analysts (BIC) Excel Expert for Data Analysts (BIC) Excel & XML for Data Analysts (BIC) Engineering and Design Technology (D) Environmental Science (D) Foundations of Information Systems (C) Information Systems: Programming in C++ (D) Introduction to ComptTIA: A+Network+ Industrial Electronics Technology (C) (AC/PAC) Operation and Programming (C) Pre-Engineering Science Transfer (D) Machine Tool Setup and Operation (C) Mechatronics-Robotics and Automated Systems (D) Math and Science (D) Powertrain Development Technician (D) Security+with Labs (BIC) Transportation Technologies (D)
SKILLED TRADES & CONSTRUCTION Construction Management (AC/PAC) Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration-Commercial Trade (AC/PAC) Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (D) Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration and Refrigeration- Residential (C) Welding (C) (D) (AC/PAC)
BUSINESS & ENTREPRENUERSHIP Automotive Cybersecurity (C) Computer Software Applications (C) Digital Business Marketing and Sales Certificate (C)
BROADCAST, COMMUNICATION, VISUAL, DIGITAL & FINE ARTS Audio Production and Engineering (C) Client-side Web Developer (C) Digital Video Production (C) (D) Interface Designer (C) Photographer Imaging (C) Photographic Imaging or Technology (C) (D) Server-side Web Developer (C) Technical Communications (C) (D) User Experience Designer (C) 3D Animation Programs (C) (D) (AC/PAC) Web Design and Development (D)
HEALTH & FITNESS Certified Nutrition and Fitness Coach (BIC) Certified Personal Fitness Trainer (BIC) Certified Wellness Coach (BIC) Exercise Science (D) Personal Trainer Certification (BIC)
*BIC: Business Industry Certificate (non-credit) *C: Academic Certificate *D: Associate Degree *AC/PAC: Advanced Certificate or Post-Associate Certificate
Choose your pathway to a high-demand career! Well over half of Washtenaw Community College’s 137 academic programs are designated as STEAM – “Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math.” *This graphic represents most, though not all, programs.
FULL ST E A Alex Chumney is a testament
From Goldwater to NASA: WCC Prepares the Best and Brightest for National STEM Leadership Roles
rom NASA rocket scientists to cybersecurity CEOs, Washtenaw Community College’s commitment to STEAM education is evident in the outcomes.
One needs to look no further than recent alumna Alex Chumney’s achievements to see WCC’s relevance in bringing up the next generation of STEM and STEAM leaders. After earning her associate degree in Math and Natural Science with high honors in 2019, Chumney transferred to Eastern Michigan University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Ecology, Organismal Diversity and Evolution through EMU’s Honors College. This past spring, Chumney was named a recipient of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship , a highly competitive national $7,500 award presented to STEM research students. “We are so proud of Alex and all of her hard work. This exceptional achievement by a WCC graduate says a lot about the quality of instruction and our commitment to being a STEAM destination,” says WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca. “STEAM crosses into many occupations and we know the ‘A’ for arts is important for the creativity and communication skills that bring it all together,” Bellanca says. From robotics and radiography to web design and health administration, more than half of WCC’s 137 academic programs are consid4 | Launch Fall 2022
ered a STEAM discipline. Data shows that STEM and STEAM jobs are high-demand and high-wage, and WCC’s focus to attract students to STEAM is paying off. Over the last five years, enrollment in the math, science and engineering divisions has increased 6.2%,
and in the last year alone the number of STEAM credit hours taken by students has jumped 9.3% compared to the previous year. In 2018, WCC launched the STEM Scholars program to mentor and support students through
A M AHEAD to WCC’s excellence in STEM a variety of networking and skill-building opportunities, with interest in the program quadrupling in four years. (See full story on Pages 8-9.) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), STEM occupations are expected to grow 8% by 2029, more than two times faster than the total for all occupations in the next decade. In the Fall of 2021, STEM occupations earned an annual median wage of $98,340, according to the BLS. GOLDWATER PRESTIGE Chumney is one of only 14 Goldwater scholars throughout the state of Michigan this year, with the majority coming from big universities. Chumney’s research focuses on restoring grassland prairies, and she has been conducting seedling experiments at the Lloyd and Mabel Johnson Preserve, run through the Legacy Land Conservancy, to understand this ecosystem. Her findings could potentially assist with restoration practices. In addition to improving ecological diversity, prairies help decrease erosion, filter water and absorb ﬂoodwater.
of her freshman year realized she would be $100,000 in debt by the time she graduated. Chumney spent two years working as a bank teller to pay off the $25,000 in student debt that accumulated during her first year alone. In contrast, WCC’s tuition for full-time in-district students averages $2,280 annually. “Having a place at WCC where I could get my education, and knowing it was affordable, was huge. It helped me realize I could still pursue my education and dreams without going into insane amounts of debts. It allowed me to focus and also work to take care of my debt and get through,” she says. Serendipitously, WCC also was the stepping stone to a valuable first research opportunity through the University of Michigan’s Environmental Science and Biology department. “It was a very hands-on summer research project focusing on algal biofuel that was
competitive and available only to a handful of WCC and EMU students. I applied for it and was bafﬂed when I heard back from them, which was exactly how I felt when I found out about the Goldwater,” Chumney says. Though she’s busy with her prairie research and EMU studies, Chumney is not far from her WCC STEM ties, working 20 hours a week in the college’s Core Chemistry Laboratory preparing materials for instructors’ labs. “WCC offers a good education and helped me make steps forward and feel like I had some stability in my life after my first year. You can do
“HAVING A PLACE AT WCC WHERE I COULD GET MY EDUCATION, AND KNOWING IT WAS AFFORDABLE, WAS HUGE.”
Applying for the Goldwater in and of itself was an honor, as Chumney was first interviewed by EMU just to proceed with the submission, which included a primary essay, seven mini essays, grades and three references. “At one point in my life, getting beyond a bachelor’s just never really felt feasible to me. And now the Goldwater will get me into the field doing what I’m passionate about.” After graduating from Pinckney High School, Chumney originally attended a costly undergraduate liberal arts institution. She performed well academically but at the end 5
FULL STE A M AHEAD!
WCC helped me be successful.”
Aisha Bowe (left) with Super STEAM Saturday student.
The college is also building bridges through the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program. In the past two years alone, 10 WCC students have participated into the competitive program, which offers a closer look at NASA’s unique missions, diverse workforce and world-class facilities, and helps students develop their talents toward a rewarding STEM profession. Simply being accepted into the program is an honor, and recently at least seven WCC students participated in the program—Philip Stolarski, Justin Washburn, Heide Otto, Bridget Redman, Robert Gonczy, Kristin McGough and Joshua Mehay. Some have been invited back to participate in “Mission 2” of the program, which provides selected students a deeper look at NASA’s missions and careers in science and engineering. Students form teams and design a mission to explore the Moon or Mars.
great things here. You don’t have to go to a very expensive four-year university to start in order to achieve your dreams,” Chumney says. NASA CONNECTION Aisha Bowe’s journey from high school student unsure of her future to NASA aerospace engineer and rocket scientist leads WCC’s growing number of connections to the country’s famed agency. After earning her associate degree in 2006, Bowe went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and a master’s degree in Space Systems Engineering from the University of Michigan. She began her career at NASA then carried her expertise and experiences into the world of entrepreneurship. In 2013 Bowe founded and became chief executive officer of STEMBoard, a multi-million dollar tech company. She expanded that vision and founded a second company named LINGO, a hands-on, self-paced coding home-based kit for students. LINGO is used by nearly 5,000 students in 10 countries to teach the fundamentals of computer science. 6 | Launch Fall 2022
She is sought after as a speaker at global events and has been featured in top-tier media outlets such as Wired, Entrepreneur Magazine, Black Enterprise, Tamron Hall, The Kelly Clarkson Show and is featured in a documentary entitled “In Her Element” currently streaming on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Google Play. She returns to campus frequently, advocating for WCC and STEM education through promotional videos and leading hands-on activities with college and K-12 students during STEAM Week, Super STEAM Saturdays and beyond. Bowe pays it forward through a WCC endowed scholarship she founded to help students transfer into the U-M engineering program. “As someone who graduated from high school without knowing who I wanted to be when I grew up, I was attracted to Washtenaw because it provided the opportunity to learn from world-class instructors in a smaller class setting and work with students who are motivated to learn. And Washtenaw’s coursework was affordable and approachable for me at the time,” Bowe says. “The strong foundation I received at
“THE STRONG FOUNDATION I RECEIVED AT WCC HELPED ME BE SUCCESSFUL.” Otto was recently accepted into a prestigious third level of the program, which includes an all-expense paid trip to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. “I came back to Washtenaw to brush up on my writing skills. I needed a science course to finish my associate degree and took astronomy. My instructor encouraged me to apply for the NASA program. It turns out
I have an aptitude for science and STEM. NASA needs writers, too,” Otto says. CYBERSECURITY LEADERS Cybersecurity education is a growing emphasis at WCC, which offers an associate degree and several certificates, including a specific automotive cybersecurity certificate.
WCC prepares military veterans for rigors of U-M Engineering earned his U-M bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Engineering in 2020.
Other types of computer science programs and courses are stackable and open a variety of pathways to cyber careers. WCC grad Anca Pop is one of WCC’s most well-respected leaders in the field. Pop is the founder & CEO of 365 Striker, a cybersecurity company that offers information security solutions. She earned an associate degree in Computer Science from WCC in 2003 followed by a bachelor’s degree from EMU, a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University and a doctorate in Computer and Information Systems from Tennessee Technological University. She is a sought-after expert and has delivered a TEDx talk in Nashville on cryptocurrency. Much of the increase in cybersecurity occupations in the future is expected to be driven by a society increasingly “dependent on digitized devices and digital goods and services,” according to a January 2021 “Beyond The Numbers” report from the BLS. “The quantity of electronic data is expected to increase over the next decade in tandem with robust growth in the digital economy, and greater cybersecurity will be needed to protect it and ward off the threat of breaches,” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report says.
For U.S. Navy veteran J.T. Iacovetta, WCC’s STEM emphasis coupled with low tuition, small class sizes and strong veteran support services made for an easy choice when it was time for the next phase of his life. Many of his former military friends at Washtenaw Community College would agree. The vast majority — 89% of last academic year’s 475 veterans — were enrolled in one of the college’s STEM programs. But perhaps key in the former nuclear operator’s decision to choose WCC was the school’s transfer partnership with the University of Michigan. “I very much wanted to short cycle this and not be in school more than four years for my bachelor’s degree. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t taking classes that meant nothing, and WCC offered the most transfer courses,” Iacovetta says. While not all of WCC’s military veterans are headed to the University of Michigan, U-M says Washtenaw is the biggest feeder school of veterans to the university. Iacovetta’s nine years of active and reservist duties in nuclear energy shaped his path, and WCC prepared him well for the rigors of Michigan’s esteemed College of Engineering. He transferred from WCC in 2018 and
After working as a nuclear engineer for a year, Iacovetta decided to take his experiences to the next level – become a lawyer so he can help shape the future of renewable nuclear energy through energy ﬁnancing contracts. Iacovetta is already working in a law ﬁrm in this arena and will earn his juris doctor from Arizona State in December 2023. Like Iacovetta, who grew up in Queens, New York, many of WCC’s veterans come from all over the country with a laser focus to transfer to Michigan because of its top ranked engineering program. And, also like Iacovetta, many of them ﬁrst call Philip Larson. Larson is U-M’s Program Director of Veteran and Military Services and a self-described “best unpaid recruiter for WCC.” “We have a great partnership. Washtenaw is a good spot for students looking to get back into school to further their education rather than trying to do a deep dive into Michigan head ﬁrst,” Larson says. “That WCC teaches classes that we accept is no small feat. They’re all evaluated. They are Michigan courses at Washtenaw, and that’s a big deal,” says Larson, adding that the transfer course equivalency guide between WCC and U-M is extensive. In addition to ease of transfer and low tuition, veteran students say WCC’s small class sizes allow more direct access to instructors, helping to strengthen the fundamentals.
FULL STEAM AHEAD!
STEM Scholars Fuels Passions and Paves the Road to Success for Budding Scientists
Their shared childhood passions for fun science-related activities are transforming into meaningful adult career pursuits. Ajahnee, 23, has been set on a medical career ever since elementary school when she met her great aunt, a cardiologist from California, at a family reunion. Over the years she frequently reached out from afar with questions. Her dreams began to crystalize during her first semester at WCC in 2019. That’s when her chemistry instructor suggested she would be a great candidate for WCC’s STEM Scholars. Thanks to the program, Ajahnee has attended the Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Anaheim, California, and was also awarded a scholarship. STEM Scholars was established at WCC in 2018 to encourage and facilitate success for students seeking science, technology, engineering and math careers. The program supports underrepresented students through grants from the National Science Foundation, Michigan Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and other organizations. In just a few years, interest in STEM Scholars has nearly quadrupled, with more than 300 applicants between 2018 and 2021. The retention rate for each cohort is 100%. Ajahnee graduated in December 2021 8 | Launch Fall 2022
with an associate degree in Math & Science and a concentration in prepharmacy. She is completing two additional courses before transferring to either the University of Michigan or Michigan State University in January 2023, where she’ll pursue a nursing degree. Her dream is to help women as a midwife and potentially later continue her education to become a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. “STEM Scholars changed the trajectory of my college experience. Before I was just going through the motions, attending class and working for good grades,” Ajahnee says. “STEM Scholars allowed me to get out of my shell and meet people with like-minded interests. The programming provides good networking opportunities, and you meet a lot of people that you wouldn’t necessarily cross paths with.” Some of those people attended the biomedical conference in California in 2019 and framed Ajahnee’s calling as a midwife. “The conference opened my eyes and helped me see myself in places Ajahnee (left), Amaria (right)
hether stitching up pretend wounds on stuffed animals as they played veterinarian or squishing their hands into bowls of homemade slime, sisters Ajahnee and Amaria Harris were practically joined at the hip as little girls. As STEM Scholars at Washtenaw Community College, not much has changed over the last decade or so.
that I wouldn’t have otherwise. At one session I learned the mortality rate is substantially higher for minority women than Caucasian women during birth. And having a minority doctor in the room can help them survive. It opened my eyes to wanting to actually make a difference in the medical field rather than just getting a job in the medical field,” Ajahnee says. Her enthusiasm for STEM Scholars helped shape her sister’s experience. Amaria, 21, joined the 2021 cohort last fall. Enrolled in the 3D Animation Arts program, Amaria leans more toward the Technology and Art of STEAM – an evolution of the STEM education movement with the addition of “arts.” Amaria’s ultimate dream is to create her own animated shows or cartoons. Short-term, she hopes to land an internship at Cartoon Network as soon as she’s earned 80 credit hours. “My sister introduced me to STEM Scholars. I’m so glad she did because I see how valuable the mentoring, networking
opportunities and workshops are. I already feel so confident and excited about achieving my dream of animating shows,” Amaria says. As a STEM Scholar she wants to be able to mentor her peers and “build up a community. Not a lot of people know that animation is a part of STEM or STEAM, and I want to be able to help more people see that,” Amaria says. The Harris sisters grew up in Ypsilanti and attended Lincoln High School, but the family has since moved to Taylor. “I would love to see more minority students in STEM and ﬂourishing, and I think one way is they could start a program like STEM Scholars at the high school level. I didn’t even know it was a discipline until college,” Ajahnee says.
school students and the college’s annual STEAM Week events open for high school students. Life Sciences faculty member and STEM Scholars coordinator Susan Dentel says the program is effectively reaching women, underrepresented minorities and students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. About half of the 93 current STEM Scholars are female, 40 are economically disadvantaged; 30 are underrepresented minority students; and 35 are first-generation college students. To date, 69 students have earned associate degrees from WCC and transferred to four-year colleges or universities to pursue bachelor’s degrees.
STEM Scholars = Student Success Each new cohort participates in a three-week summer intensive. The program is nuanced and designed to support and build confidence through: •Networking Events •Communication & Skill-building Workshops •Critical Thinking and Leadership Activities •Success Coaching •Mentoring •Peer Tutoring •Summer Experiential Opportunities
Indeed, WCC’s STEM Scholars assist with K-12 educational outreach opportunities, including hands-on monthly “Super STEAM Saturdays” activities to engage middle
STEM SCHOLAR DEMOGRAPHICS
STEM SCHOLAR DEMOGRAPHICS Interest in STEM Scholars — designed to support all students seeking degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math disciplines — has nearly quadrupled in four years. A National Science Foundation S-STEM grant supports economically disadvantaged students. A Michigan-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (MI-LSAMP) grant supports underrepresented minority students.
FIRST GENERATION COLLEGE
NON S-STEM & MI-LSAMP 9
FULL STEAM AHEAD!
WCC leads the next generation of the automated transportation and mobility workforce
CC is educating a nimble, highly skilled workforce for the next generation in automated transportation and mobility, and recent graduate Alex Spencer is poised to become one of those new leaders. Washtenaw Community College established the Advanced Transportation Center (ATC) eight years ago — the first of its kind among community colleges — to meet rapidly developing needs within the automotive industry. Ever on the cusp of change, the same foresight that launched the ATC resulted in the college acquiring the brand new electric vehicle (EV) Ford Mustang Mach-E last summer. The new EV was added to WCC’s cadre of vehicles to teach students on the latest transportation and cybersecurity
10 | Launch Fall 2022
technologies and to fuel the fast-changing talent pipeline. Spencer is a recent Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society graduate with an Automotive Test Technician associate degree. His career goal is to lead a team or manage projects related to validation testing, key in integrating software into the next generation of electric and automated vehicles. “I was always interested in automotive in some form, and WCC has not only given me a lot of opportunities to excel in all things auto but prepared me for the applied or practical side of it,” Spencer says. “If something broke I could always take it apart, but I’d also have to figure out why it
broke in the first place. You have to know the cause to be able to correct it, and we talk a lot about that here,” says Spencer, pointing to the department’s emphasis on the “Three Cs” approach to repairing or improving automotive performance — Concern, Cause, Correction. Spencer will transfer to Eastern Michigan University in the Fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Technology Management with an automotive emphasis. Having previously earned an associate degree from WCC in Transportation Technologies, many of his courses required for the four-year degree will transfer thanks to an articulation agreement between the schools, leaving Spencer with about a year’s worth of classes left to complete. “I’ve taken almost every automotive class
here. From a cost-savings perspective WCC has helped me fulfill much of the four-year program courses needed but with the reduced tuition rate,” he says. The average cost of one year for a full-time in-district student at Washtenaw is $2,280 compared with over $13,000 at a public four-year university in the state of Michigan. WCC’s programs to train service technicians offers a solid gateway to many other automotive careers and is especially helpful for those who want to return to college to earn engineering degrees. “Engineers with hands-on experience are so much more valuable to employers,” says Transportation Technologies Department CoChair Rocky Roberts. The disruptive nature of the electric vehicle and electric battery industries will impact education and workforce training. In the past year WCC received a Michigan Electric Vehicle Job Academy (EV Academy) grant through the Workforce Intelligence Network. Formerly called the Michigan Revolution on the Electrification of Vehicles (MiREV), the grant will help scale and deliver curriculum and employer outreach, aligning with the governor’s priorities to identify current and future training needs of industry partners within the electrification space of mobility. National and state leaders have called for a significant increase in the production of EVs and public EV charging stations by 2030. New jobs will include technicians for product development, production, sensors, electric batteries, controls and progressing levels of vehicle automation, as well as for the maintenance and customer service of EV systems. Roberts said that WCC’s approach of teaching new technology by incorporating the Mach-E and its hybrid vehicles sets students apart from their peers. The college also offers a certificate in the highly-skilled focus area of automotive cybersecurity, an increasingly critical component of training the next generation of the mobility workforce. More than 1,000 students are enrolled in over 60 automotive and cybersecurity technologies career pathways and courses at any given time.
WCC’s programs and pathways include automotive technology, advanced manufacturing, robotics and mechatronics, cybersecurity, data analytics and business intelligence. For the past six years, WCC has held a unique role in the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation (CCAT) grant, as the only community college in a coalition of five research universities, led by the University of Michigan. WCC operationalizes the research and knowledge gained from the partnership and applies it to the classroom, arming students with the skills needed to work and thrive in Michigan’s automotive, technology and mobility industries.
“I WAS INTERESTED IN AUTOMOTIVE IN SOME FORM, AND WCC HAS NOT ONLY GIVEN ME A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES TO EXCEL IN ALL THINGS AUTO BUT PREPARED ME FOR THE APPLIED OR PRACTICAL SIDE OF IT.”
College President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca delivered a keynote address at the group’s Global Symposium held on the U-M campus, also attended by Spencer and others. WCC will host the 2023 event typically attracting several hundred engineers and industry executives, researchers, policy makers and other advanced transportation experts.
FULL STEAM AHEAD!
SKILLED TRADES The demand for skilled trades is growing and is expected to climb
Far from traditional jobs of the past: Skilled trades careers are high-tech, high-demand, high-wage
he state of Michigan finds itself with a severe labor shortage in the professional trades, a mystifying scenario when you consider the following facts from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Outlook (LEO):
Professional trades careers in Michigan pay about 39% higher than the statewide medium for all occupations; Those same careers often require less schooling and student debt than a four-year degree. So, study for a shorter time and make more money? Win-win! Recent Washtenaw Community College graduate Caleb Rogers is a prime example of both of those points. The 19-year-old Saline resident was just one year removed from high school graduation and one month shy of starting a job that pays nearly $40 per hour when he earned a Welding Technology associate degree in May. The 20 college credits Rogers earned while he was a dual-enrolled student at Ypsilanti Lincoln High School — completing both welding and general education classes — gave him the head start needed to finish WCC’s welding program in just one year. He graduated with high honors (3.8+ GPA) and as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. On June 20, Rogers started a new job as a Maintenance Welder Craftsman at the Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s Detroit refinery making a base salary near $80,000, with a likelihood for regular overtime compensation. 12 | Launch Fall 2022
That’s one job filled out of an estimated 47,000 annual openings in advanced manufacturing, automotive service, construction and energy careers across the state through 2028. WCC has programs to prepare students for each of those fields. “Professional trades opportunities will continue to grow and we want Michiganders to be ready when those opportunities present themselves,” said LEO Office of Employment and training Director Stephani Beckhorn. “These are by no means the traditional jobs of the past. These are careers in high-tech,
high-demand industries that will position our state as a leader in innovation.” Skilled trades training at WCC can be accomplished by completing certificates, advanced certificates and associate degree programs, which sets up students interested in transferring to a four-year college or university to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The college’s welding program is one of the biggest in the state, with 72 welding stations, an enrollment of up to 550 students at any given time and plenty of accolades earned by instructors and students alike.
Welding principles are taught in a 24-credit certificate program and a 24-credit advanced certificate, which introduces more complex welding, cutting and fabrication techniques. An associate degree program combines the coursework from the two certificate programs and adds general education classes. Other WCC programs or concentrations that heavily incorporate skilled trades: Advanced Manufacturing: An 18-credit Operation Technician certificate program prepares students to set up and operate CNC machine tools, traditional mills, lathes and saws. A 19-credit Programming and Setup Technician program teaches students to write, read and edit programs. An associate degree program combines the coursework from the two certificate programs and adds general education courses. Auto Body Repair: This 30-credit certificate program appeals to a wide array of automobile enthusiasts – from hobbyists with an interest in custom cars to those wishing to start a career in collision repair. A custom auto body advanced certificate focuses on advanced body and paint techniques used to customize automobiles. Automotive Services: Start with a 30-credit certificate program that prepares students for employment as a certified automotive technician, follow with a 13-credit advanced certificate that builds on electrical and mechanical skills. Automotive Test Technician: Learn about data acquisition processes used in automotive testing in this associate degree program. Students gain skills needed to fabricate and instrument-test systems used for transportation development. Construction Management: This associate degree program prepares students for entry-level jobs in the construction industry, as well as for transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in construction management. Engineering & Design Technology: Students learn to create and design products using relevant engineering software and production methods in a 16-credit certificate program.
HVACR: A 25-credit certificate program prepares students for entry-level jobs in residential heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration; a 17-credit advanced certificate prepares students to work in the commercial trade. An associate degree combines the coursework from the two certificate programs and adds general education classes.
dynamometer operations and more in a 14-credit advanced certificate.
Industrial Electronics Technology: This 16credit certificate program prepares students for entry-level employment in the electronics cluster of occupations. A 16-credit advanced certificate enhances skills in the area of industrial electronic controls.
Transportation Technologies: Students follow one of three specialty tracks (Auto Body, Auto Service or Motorcycle Service) in this associate degree program.
Powertrain Development Technician: This associate degree program develops the knowledge and skills to perform powertrain testing on complex analytical equipment and software.
Mechatronics (Robotics & Automated Systems): This associate degree program prepares students for entry-level positions as automated equipment technicians who assemble, install, program, troubleshoot and maintain robotic and automated equipment. An 18-credit Robotics Technician certificate programs is embedded within the associate degree. Motorcycle Service Technician: Earn fundamental certification as a motorcycle technician in an 18-credit certificate program. Additional emphasis is placed on engine performance, 13
Boost Your Earnings Potential What can you earn with your education?
hether a Washtenaw Community College graduate goes directly into the workforce or transfers to a university for a bachelor’s, WCC offers a smart path to higher wages. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (April 2021), workers with associate degrees earn median wages of $50,076 annually while those with bachelor’s degrees earn $69,368. Someone with a professional degree brings in a median wage of $100,048.
Regionally, 24% of jobs requiring associate degrees or apprenticeships pay an annual wage of at least $76,000, and 58% of the jobs requiring bachelor’s degrees or higher pay at least $76,000, according to data from the 2022 Detroit Regional Chamber State of Education Report and Michigan Future Inc.
nities are likely to plateau, leaving little room for growth. “One thing a community college offers is a highway to life. There aren’t any dead-ends,” says WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca, who got her start at a community college and is now in her 11th year leading WCC.
The tight labor market, particularly in the hospitality and service industry, has led to starting wages of $15 or $17 and even more for workers with no experience or a college education. These opportu-
“ONE THING A COMMUNITY COLLEGE OFFERS IS A HIGHWAY TO LIFE. THERE AREN’T ANY DEAD-ENDS.” –WCC PRESIDENT DR. ROSE B. BELLANCA
Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment 2021 Median Usual Earnings
Less Than a High School Diploma
High School Diploma
Some College No Degree
Note: Earnings are for full-time wage and salary workers and are derived from earnings originally reported as weekly median income. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey; May 2022 “Career Outlook, Data on Display, Education Pays 2021” 14 | Launch Fall 2022
ENROLL NOW FOR THE FALL SEMESTER How To Get Started at WCC! Apply to WCC. It’s free! Applying is free and only takes 10 to 15 minutes. wccnet.edu/apply
Complete items on your personal checklist We’ll call within three days of receiving your application to walk you through each item. wccnet.edu/orientation
Meet with an academic advisor WCC advisors can help you select a major and plan your class schedule. Call 734-677-5102 or contact the Student Welcome Center. wccnet.edu/advising
Course Schedule Search and register for classes by subject, class name, instructor name, class number or Course Reference Number (CRN). Other tools help you find classes by subject, location, time of day, days of the week and type of class. Online classes are available on-demand or in a virtual classroom format. Mixed-mode classes are a combination of online instruction and on-campus lab time. wccnet.edu/schedule
Fall Sessions Session I: August 29 Session II: September 21 Session III: October 5 Session IV: October 20 On Campus and Online
Pay for school There are many ways to pay for school—financial aid, scholarships and payment plans. wccnet.edu/pay
Tips to help you register! Log into wccnet.edu/mywcc, click on Student Services, then Registration. You will be able to: • Check your course prerequisites • See if there are any holds on your account • Register for classes wccnet.edu/mywcc 15
What do you call someone who attended WCC?
Broadcaster. Kristy King is a WCC alumna in Broadcast Media Arts living out her dream of becoming a television sports reporter. She regularly reports and provides sideline color analysis for Eastern Michigan University athletics on ESPN/EagleVision and provides in-house broadcast work during Detroit Tigers home games. Kristy is also hosting the new Launch with WCC program soon to air on Community Television Network.
Enroll for Fall | wccnet.edu/start
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