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Building Partnerships

Now & Always - The Campaign for Ferris State University

 

Building Partnerships

When Ferris became a state institution in 1950, that charge to serve the community officially became part of our mission. That service has ranged from the more general — educating workers and citizens — to specific partnerships that reach into communities around the state.

Building Partnerships

In 1991, Ferris partnered with Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) to create the Applied Technology Center (ATC), allowing students to earn both an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree from Ferris, all in one location; a partnership that has helped both institutions facilitate dual enrollment and to share space and resources for more than 25 years. Thousands of people have been able to earn current and competitive education in a familiar and comfortable learning environment within the community in which they work and live.

This simple proposition — meeting needs where you find them — became the model for scores of subsequent partnerships. Ferris now offers programs online and at 24 locations throughout Michigan and partners with more than 100 nonprofit organizations around the state.

These partnerships:

  • Help to increase diversity by building a welcoming and supportive environment for students facing significant socioeconomic, cultural and language barriers to education.
  • Prepare students for successful careers, responsible citizenship and economic success.
  • Create synergy with local nonprofits by matching specific expertise and community involvement with academic quality.
  • Supply job-ready graduates to the many industries and businesses in Michigan.

Now & Always: The Campaign for Ferris State University will expand the reach and impact of these collaborations.

Latino Community Development

Latino Community Development

Latinos are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Michigan — and the fastest growing. Studies show, however, that Latinos lag in education performance, income levels, employment rates and health status.

  • Summer programs, such as Avancemos and Promesa Summer Success work with middle and high school students to close the education achievement gap.
  • The University’s Latino Business and Economic Development Center offers programs that invest in up-and-coming community leaders and business people through the Latino Talent Initiative and the Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Campaign support will allow these multifaceted partnerships to grow, building a strong, diverse workforce that will allow West Michigan citizens, communities and businesses to flourish.

Plaza Roosevelt for Grand Rapids

Plaza Roosevelt for Grand Rapids

Plaza Roosevelt is a 5.5-acre community-informed redevelopment project in the southwest Grand Rapids Roosevelt Park neighborhood. Ferris at Plaza Roosevelt will bring both the University to the neighborhood and the neighborhood to the University, continuing to foster mutual understanding and respect.  We envision this as a resource for our partners and neighbors, hosting existing programs and collaborating with neighborhood students and families to create new opportunities that inspire the pursuit of educational and career pathways aligned with the unique strengths and talents of participants.

Recently, FSU received a lead gift commitment to support Ferris at Plaza Roosevelt in Grand Rapids. Ferris leadership toured our classrooms located in the Southwest Community Campus High School on September 14, 2020, where final preparations for furnishings and programming implementation are underway. The two-year project lays the neighborhood groundwork for college access, career pipeline and adult education programming with a focus on diverse and equitable talent and workforce development.

Partners in this project include:

  • Habitat for Humanity of Kent County
  • Dwelling Place of Grand Rapids
  • Grand Rapids Public Schools
  • Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities
  • Mercy Health Clinica Santa Maria
  • Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association
  • The Hispanic Center of West Michigan.

Ferris State University serves as the lead higher educational partner in this project.