Trades college growth spells good things for future of studio complex

Photo by Chris Jackett

Photo by Chris Jackett

Stautzenberger Institute admissions representative Ken Sorenson grills hot dogs and hamburgers during its bring-a-friend barbecue and open house Thursday afternoon. Sorenson and fellow admissions rep Pam Williams currently are accepting applicants for the next semester of classes, which begins July 12.

By Chris Jackett
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – The city’s Studio Center is shaping up to develop into a successful series of partnerships, thanks to a few recent announcements involving its tenants.

The center, on a 104-acre parcel of land off Southfield Road just south of I-94, recently landed the Stautzenberger Institute and soon will be the new home of the Center for Film Studies, a film trade school currently in Madison Heights.

Mayor Gary Burtka and other officials announced the upcoming move at a June 11 press conference. CFS will move into a 10,000-square-foot lot within the complex, becoming the third educational facility there, along with the Lifton Institute for Media Skills and Stautzenberger.

The three will provide training that is further bolstered by partnerships with campus neighbors such as movie production company Global Renaissance Entertainment, Unity Studios, and Scenic Prop and Design – a props and set manufacturer for films and television shows that is scheduled to relocate its Fraser-based showroom and manufacturing facility to Allen Park.

Stautzenberger, which held an open house Thursday and Friday, has seen steady growth since its arrival. In addition to seeing a 12,000-square-foot increase in space from its now-closed Livonia campus, the institute has space reserved to expand from 20,000 to 100,000 square feet within the Studio Center.

Institute controller Roger Kidd said Stautzenberger looking to continue growing. It currently of
fers programs for massage therapy, medical administrative technology, medical assisting, medical billing and coding specialists, personal fitness trainers and phlebotomy technicians.

With a pair of partnerships in place, the institute already is creating jobs in the community by working with both Oakwood Healthcare System and Global Renaissance, which has six films signed on for development through the Allen Park facility.

“(Global Renaissance Chief Executive Officer Arthur Wiley) has agreed to write into their contracts that they’ll hire our students,” Kidd said. “Every film will have a personal trainer and massage therapist to start.

“One of the things that is different is our school. One of our jobs is to make sure there are jobs in our industry. That’s why we created the program with Oakwood. We made sure they had needs first.”

Although the jobs lined up through partnerships with Oakwood and Global Renaissance are currently both in the health-care field, Kidd said Stautzenberger Institute’s sister school, Madison Media Institute in Madison, Wisc., also could find a home in Allen Park soon enough, creating training for recording, music production, video production, film, video game design and animation as it adds one more hometown Hollywood feature to the Downriver community.

Although Stautzenberger is less directly film driven than the other tenants in the Studio Center complex, it already has seen an increase in enrollment since classes began in April. The institute transferred about 60 students from the Livonia campus, but now has more than 100. About 12 students will graduate Aug. 20. Combined with the two Ohio campuses in Maumee and Brecksville, Stautzenberger has about 2,000 students total.

The institute’s phlebotomy technician program takes nine months to complete; the other five programs take 15 months each. Officials say the relatively short time frame makes it an ideal direction for anyone unemployed or looking for a career change. Stautzenberger accepts financial aid and Michigan’s No Worker Left Behind funding for those who are eligible, Kidd said.

Campus Director Kristin Peterson said part of the reason institute students are so successful is that the connections they have with the Downriver and Livonia YMCAs, Canton Lifetime Fitness and Dearborn Health & Racquet Club allow the students to develop their skills in a hands-on fashion.

“We have opportunities for them to go out and perform their externships,” she said.

Massage therapist students get valuable experience by hosting a free public massage clinic Thursdays during the semester. Anyone interested in receiving a free massage can call (313) 294-9715 to make an appointment at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 6:30 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. from July 15 through Sept. 16.

“We train our students to the Ohio standards, which are some of the toughest in the country,” Kidd said, noting that Michigan has no set massage standards in place yet. The institute is successfully wrapping up its first semester at the new campus and is looking for even more students to sign up for the next semester, which begins July 12.

Stautzenberger’s final big event before the new term is a Family Fun Day, co-sponsored by the city, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 10. Stations will be set up for fitness education, massage therapists, health screenings, a movie viewing and more.

Go to for more information on Stautzenberger and its programs.

(Contact Chris Jackett at