GRCC, Davenport, Ferris, GVSU & WMU Sign Reverse Transfer Associate Degree Agreement

Surrounded by employers, elected officials, students and staff, the presidents of four area universities and Grand Rapids Community College signed a Reverse Transfer Associate Degree Initiative consortia agreement, further enhancing the "transfer and articulation" partnership that exists between these educational institutions.  

Under the partnership agreement, students from Davenport University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University could be granted an earned Associate Degree by combining credits from their transfer school with the credits they have previously earned from GRCC.  

“What this means is that a student can earn an Associate Degree after they’ve transferred, thereby obtaining additional credentials as they pursue their career goals,” said GRCC president Steven Ender.  “By ensuring that our students – and our workforce – obtain all the credentials available to them, we are ensuring that we have an ongoing supply of world class talent in West Michigan.”
TALENT 2025 is a non-profit group in West Michigan composed of more than 50 CEOs working with 13 university, college and community college presidents, K-12 educators, government officials, foundations and other stakeholders.
Davenport president Richard Pappas, Ferris president David Eisler, GVSU president Thomas Haas and Western Michigan president John Dunn, along with Ender, are all part of the Talent 2025’s CEO-Higher Education Working group.   The group’s work was outlined in a letter sent earlier this year to Mike Flanagan, Michigan’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, in which they share their objectives for West Michigan.  Among their two major goals: by 2025, 60% of Michigan’s workforce has earned some level of post-secondary education -  one year certificate, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree.

Fred Keller, CEO of Cascade Engineering, chair of the Talent 2025 board of directors and a member of the group’s CEO-Higher Education Working group, has been active in the efforts behind this initiative.  “As employers, we heartily endorse this initiative by the universities and GRCC and hope it may inspire others as well. Now, more than ever, employers rely on post-secondary credentials to help us clarify if a potential employee has the qualifications we need in the workforce – this is an important first step”, said Keller.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for nearly 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.

TALENT 2025 is a coalition of more than 50 CEOs from major employers in the nine-county West Michigan region who are focused on what is needed today to ensure that West Michigan can successfully meet the workforce needs in 2025. The group is setting bold goals for measurable improvement of talent in the workforce, conducting research to identify gaps and leading practices in the talent development process, and convening the appropriate stakeholders to design and implement plans to improve that process. TALENT 2025 is working with 13 university, college and community college presidents, K-12 educators, government officials, foundations and other stakeholders to ensure that everything possible will be done to create a globally competitive workforce by 2025.