Ferris State President Bill Pink (sitting, right) and WSCC President Scott Ward (sitting,
left) recently signed an agreement this week to use a state grant to expand a partnership
and allow WSCC students to work toward a Ferris State degree while remaining on the
WSCC campus with costs covered.
Ferris State University is partnering with West Shore Community College to create a pathway for students to earn both an associate and a bachelor’s degree in nursing and help fill a growing need for people with nursing skills.
Ferris State President Bill Pink and WSCC President Scott Ward signed an agreement this week to use a state grant to expand a partnership and allow WSCC students to work toward a Ferris State degree while remaining on the WSCC campus with costs covered.
Pink said the program is an example of Ferris State collaborating with community college partners to help residents gain highly needed skills and grow a talented workforce, especially where there are shortages.
“I believe Ferris State is the strongest four-year university partner to Michigan community colleges,” Pink said. “We have long had a connection with West Shore, and together we can address the huge need for nursing statewide.”
The demand for nurses is increasing across the country. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that nursing jobs are expected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations. About 193,100 openings for registered nurses are projected each year, on average, over the decade.
Michigan has about 100,000 nursing jobs, with 6,345 openings, according to the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics in the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget.
The partnership is tapping a $56 million state program to expand nursing education opportunities. The program is administered by the state Department of Labor and Economic Development and was included in the state’s 2023 budget, which went into effect this fall. Community colleges are encouraged to partner with a four-year college or university and design a Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion program with input from local employers and local workforce development agencies.
West Shore and Ferris State have long been partners, including collaborating through the Ferris Connections Program. That allows West Shore students who plan to transfer to Ferris State to have access to university support programs while still at WSCC, which is based in Scottville, just east of Ludington.
Ward said WSCC is excited to partner with Ferris State and create opportunities for students to succeed.
“Ferris is one of those unique institutions, rare institutions, that offers associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and doctoral degrees and has concentrations on occupational programs,” Ward said after signing the agreement.
Ward said students can earn a bachelor’s degree and quickly enter the workplace, addressing local and national shortages.
“It is the best of both worlds,” he said. “We could not find a better partner.”