Printer Friendly

Class acts: colleges and universities are reaching out to the region's small businesses.

When BEI Associates Inc. needed specialized training for its staff, the Detroit-based architectural/engineering firm turned to Wayne County Community College District for help.


WCCCD's staff of workforce experts helped BEI write an application to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. for a training grant. Although MEDC funding wasn't immediately available, WCCCD didn't give up. It took two years, but BEI finally got its grant, thanks to WCCCD's persistence. With the funding in place, WCCCD then developed a training program for 48 BEI employees, about a third of the company's staff at the time--managers, engineers, architects and CAD operators. The lineup included computer update courses, new techniques in CAD setups and "soft skills" sessions on team building and effective listening/communications.

"They did a very nice job of it, and the quality of their instructors was excellent," recalls Charles Blank, BEI's human resources director. "We did the computer-related training at WCCCD's downtown facility, and they came to our site and did the soft-skills training at noontime sessions. The comments I heard from our staff afterward were that they learned a lot, thought the program was good and were pleased to have gone through it."

WCCCD and other colleges and universities across the Detroit Region view business outreach programs as a vital component of their overall educational mission.

"As an educational partner to business, community colleges play a key role in providing a wide variety of customized training solutions for workforce development," says Dr. Mary Smith, WCCCD's vice chancellor for workforce development and continuing education. "We envision our role as developing and implementing quality training programs to help businesses thrive, prosper, grow and compete in the global marketplace."


Across town, the Family Business Center at Walsh College in Troy is dedicated to helping small, family-owned businesses succeed and grow in a challenging environment.

The Family Business Center offers a three-part program: a broad curriculum of business topics such as strategic planning, market analysis and legal issues; general membership meetings that often include case studies of successful entrepreneurs; and affinity groups in which participants can meet and share experiences in a comfortable, confidential setting.

"How do I grow? How do I reinvent my business? How do I keep changing my business model in response to how the world is changing? Those are the top issues for our participants," says Len Brzozowski, director of the Center for Leadership Development at Walsh College. "We talk about the concept of entrepreneurship, which many people think is only about launching new business ventures, but it's really about reinventing your business in creative ways as the environment is changing."


Looking ahead, Brzozowski says Walsh College plans to expand its outreach to include entrepreneurs as well as existing small businesses that are not family-owned.

The services offered at Wayne County Community College District and Walsh College are just two examples of how colleges and universities across the Detroit Region are reaching out to the small business community. Here's a sample of other programs:

Baker College

Corporate Services

The Personal Development Division of Baker's Corporate Services administers non-credit personal development courses to employees at their work sites. Courses include a variety of computer classes, time management, consumer law and small business entrepreneurship. Corporate Services also has a Special Projects Division, which helps small to mid-sized companies with specific training needs complete the required paperwork for state and federal grants. Once grants are obtained, the Division then secures the appropriate instructional venues for the specific training needs. For more information, visit and click Corporate Services.

Central Michigan University

Business Center

CMU's new Business Center is currently under development with a scheduled launch date this fall. Once up and running, the Business Center will offer companies of all sizes an assessment process for recruiting, hiring and placing employees. This process will help employers get a clear picture on who has the skills they need and who doesn't. The Center also will provide certificates of skill competency and a catalog of courses to increase employee proficiencies. For more information, call (800) 950-1144, ext. 3718, or e-mail:

Eastern Michigan University

Center for Entrepreneurship

The Center for Entrepreneurship at EMU's College of Business assists emerging growth companies in the Detroit Region with mentoring, seminars, business plan reviews and structured mentoring and networking between entrepreneurs and various resource providers. The Center actively collaborates with numerous organizations that promote entrepreneurship, including the New Enterprise Forum, The Indus Entrepreneurs, Great Lakes Venture Quest, Great Lakes Angel Forum, MIT High Tech Forum, ACE (Annual Collaboration of Entrepreneurs) and Automation Alley. For more information, contact Dr. Pradeep Chowdhry, director, at (734) 487-6516 or e-mail:

Kettering University

Co-op Program

Kettering's co-op program places talented students in business settings to benefit both the students and the business. "Finding enough workers with the proper skills is a challenge," says Jane Warner, president of Plexus Systems LLC in Auburn Hills. "One thing we are doing is leveraging the Kettering University co-op program to bring in promising IT students as full-time employees during their work rotations. We have found these students to be very talented and very helpful to our business." For more information, e-mail:

Lawrence Technological University

Continuing Education Business and Project Management

Through its Division of Continuing Education and Professional Development, Lawrence Tech offers a variety of one- to three-day business management courses for executive-level professionals. The program has been restructured to cater specifically to the needs of small business owners, project management professionals and engineers. Classes for small businesses focus on tax issues, finance strategies, human resources issues, Web-based marketing strategies, legal issues, problem solving, managing, and planning and research. For more information, call (248) 204-4050.

Macomb Community College

Center for Executive & Professional Development

MCC's Center for Executive & Professional Development is one of the most advanced professional development facilities in Southeast Michigan. The latest electronic delivery technologies are used to create a distinctive place where executives and professionals can update their skills and competencies. The Center is located within the University Center complex on MCC's Center Campus in Clinton Township. For further information, contact Mary DeNault at (586) 263-6461 or e-mail:

Marygrove College

Institute for Professional Development

The Institute for Professional Development facilitates Margrove's commitment to non-credit education that enhances skill-based training. The Institute offers a full range of courses to enable employees to enhance existing skill sets, including computer and financial literacy. Marygrove also sponsors an Annual Business Department Lecture, which is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Northwood University

Executive and Continuing Education

Northwood's Executive and Continuing Education courses and educational programs focus on enhancing both personal performance and business productivity. Classes are offered on business sites or at any Northwood campus or program center in the Detroit Region or around the country. For more information, call (800) 684-2786 or e-mail:

Oakland Community College

Workforce Development Services

OCC's Workforce Development Services assists business and industry in acquiring and administering funding for training and hiring needs and in designing training assessment and plans. OCC's state-of-the-art M-TEC[SM] facility is available to host training sessions. For further information, call (248) 232-4000 or e-mail:

Oakland University

Center for Executive and Continuing Education

OU's Center for Executive and Continuing Education offers education menus to help professionals upgrade, update and enhance their knowledge and skills and help businesses meet the demands of changing needs. Specialty education and certification in financial planning (including Certified Financial Planner and Security License Series 7 exam preparation), appraisal and valuation, health-care management and emergency planning, paralegal certification and automotive product development management are available. For further information, call (248) 370-4513 or visit and click Center for Executive and Continuing Education. (On Nov. 10, OU will host the Second Annual Emergency Preparedness for Business Continuity Conference. The event is for business leaders, IT managers, and facilities, security and risk managers who want to improve their emergency preparedness programs.)

Schoolcraft College

Business Development Center

Small Business and Technology Development Center

Procurement Technical Assistance Center

Schoolcraft College's Business Development Center provides consulting on entrepreneurial issues and research, ranging from general business practice to industry-specific information. Schoolcraft's Small Business and Technology Development Center's services include business plan development, one-on-one counseling, market planning, financial projections, capital information and licensing requirements. The Procurement Technical Assistance Center offers government contracting assistance to small businesses that are new or experienced with government contracting. For more information, call (734) 462-4438 or e-mail: The Business Development Center also assists companies in customizing training to advance the skills of their employees. For more information, call (734) 462-4441 or email:

University of Detroit Mercy

Centre for Assurance Studies

UDM's Centre for Assurance Studies in the College of Business Administration provides training, research and technology transfer in information assurance for businesses in Southeast Michigan. The Centre offers worldwide recognized certification in information assurance standards as well as awareness programs for academia and industry. UDM also has partnered with Henry Ford Community College and Oakland Community College to form the Midwest Coalition for Information Assurance. For more information on training programs, e-mail Dan Shoemaker, director, at or visit

University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business

The Center for Experience Co-Creation

The Center for Experience Co-Creation provides the knowledge, tools and resources to help managers and companies migrate to the next practice of co-creating unique experiences with customers to generate profitable business growth. The Center offers multi-client public programs to expose managers at various levels in the organization, in different industries, to the next practices of experience co-creation. The Center can co-create custom programs and workshops tailored to the specific business contexts of a company and the specific needs of managers in the organization, and deliver them onsite, if desired. For more information on this and other Centers of Excellence programs, visit and click "Centers of Excellence."

Walsh College

Walsh Family Business Center

The Walsh Family Business Center offers a comprehensive learning community featuring educational forums, seminars and academic programs focused on the unique characteristics of the family business. Membership is open to established family businesses in which the family has controlling interest in the firm and one or more family members work in the company. Benefits include four to six seminars annually dealing with a variety of business topics; participation in one or more affinity group roundtable discussions; and a confidential and personal environment for airing and sharing problems and solutions. Walsh anticipates expanding this concept in the future to include entrepreneurship as well as non-family small businesses. For more information, visit

Wayne County Community College District

Workforce Development Division

WCCCD's Workforce Development Division works with employers to design training programs specific to their needs; programs are delivered either onsite or offsite at the employer's choice. WCCCD also has training partnerships with these Detroit Regional Chamber members: BEI Associates Inc., Detroit Employment and Training Department, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Detroit Public Schools, Ford Motor Co., Johnson Controls Inc., MGM Grand Detroit Casino, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, MotorCity Casino, Southeast Michigan Community Alliance and Wayne State University. For more information, contact Michael Poole, dean of business, at (313) 496-2704 or visit:

Wayne State University

Small Business Workshops

Edward King, director of the Small Business Services and Professional Development Division of WSU's School of Business Administration, leads these entertaining and informative workshops. Participants learn how to slash their taxes; the 20 biggest pitfalls in starting and running a small business; how to price their product or service; how to start or expand with very little cash; the three questions every ad must answer; who they should never hire; where every business advertises, but 90 percent waste money; where to go when the bank says no; the 10 hottest businesses of the year and much more. For more information, visit


All of the educational institutions listed in this section are members of the Detroit Regional Chamber. This list is designed to give small businesses and other employers a general idea of the outreach programs and services available and how to get further information. This list is not intended to be a comprehensive business-school directory. Information was provided by the institutions or compiled from their Websites.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Detroit Regional Chamber
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Special Guide Inside
Author:Mead, Chris
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2005
Previous Article:Classified listing.
Next Article:21st Century challenges: a vibrant Chamber is an imperative if this region is to thrive.

Related Articles
Verifying the effectiveness of low-volume steam pasteurization.
The College Aid Game.
Pollution 101. (Water Disposal).
Oscar trivia triumphs: entertaining, informative, and openly gay experts can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the Academy Awards....
Meet the next president.
Big business getting cozy with nation's universities.
What Are the Animals to Us?
What Are the Animals to Us?

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters