Washtenaw Community College (WCC) President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca said Friday that the new Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP) is a positive step forward for all levels of education in the state.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order signed Tuesday establishes MiLEAP to improve outcomes from preschool through postsecondary education. Three focus areas of the new state department include Early Childhood Education, Higher Education and Education Partnerships.
“Washtenaw Community College’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students and in the community that we serve. We do this by providing top-quality educational programs and workforce training. We look forward to partnering with MiLEAP on new opportunities to continue this important work,” Bellanca said.
“This is good for everyone in our state, for our children and all of our futures, and paves new paths toward educational excellence at all stages,” said Bellanca, who began her career as a pre-K-12 teacher and administrator before spending the last 20 years in higher education leadership. She is beginning her 13th year as President and Chief Executive Officer of WCC.
WCC provides more than 135 educational programs, placing a strong emphasis on workforce development. Partnering with industry to offer skills training and apprenticeships is a hallmark of the WCC education. About 65% of WCC students intend to transfer to a four-year college or university to earn a bachelor’s degree, and WCC is the biggest transfer school to the University of Michigan. Also, for the past 25 years WCC has been home to Washtenaw Technical Middle College for high school students.
“We have seen the benefits of working with industry to develop curriculum and provide the hands-on training needed by employers, which help students get good paying, high-demand jobs,” Bellanca said.
This summer, for example, more than 5,000 trades men and women are spending weeks at a time on the WCC campus to learn the latest in training techniques in their professions.
“We are committed to continuing our legacy of excellence and welcome this new opportunity created by MiLEAP to ensure everyone is afforded the very best education,” Bellanca said.