Programs, resources mark HFCC progress

Photo courtesy of Henry Ford Community Collge

An artistic rendering of the HFCC Science Center, which is slated to open in 2012.

Since it was founded in 1938 as Fordson Junior College, Henry Ford Community College has been the gateway to higher education for thousands of students seeking affordable, high-quality post-secondary education.

HFCC is a comprehensive public community college serving about 19,000 students and offers more than 100 associate degrees, university transfer programs and career programs. Its high-quality, innovative programs are designed to meet the educational and training needs of the culturally and racially diverse population of southeast Michigan.

In fact, HFCC received national recognition from Community College Week in 2011 as one of the top 100 community colleges in the United States in awarding associate degrees to students. With approximately 1,700 community colleges nationwide, HFCC ranked in the top 100 for associate degrees awarded overall and in associate degrees conferred upon African Americans.

HFCC also ranked among the top 50 associate degree-producing community colleges in the areas of Business and Management, Criminal Justice, Education, Nursing and Health Careers.

According to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, key demand occupation projections for 2012 reveal a number of areas with expected growth and career opportunities. These areas and positions include computer and information systems, computer support specialists, industrial engineering, health care and nursing, among others. HFCC offers students unique opportunities to gain skills in these disciplines required for high-demand positions and achieve the educational experience required to transfer into university programs.

HFCC’s Michigan Technical Education Center supports the region’s economic development by providing customized programs and services to enhance current workforce skills and provide certification for job seekers. This program continues to make significant impact for many organizations, including the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, Detroit Workforce Development Dept., Michigan Economic Development Corp., and Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services.

Additionally, HFCC’s Biotechnology, Energy Technology-Alternative Energy, Life Sciences, International Business, Advanced Manufacturing and Computer Information Systems programs represent high-growth industries for new jobs and give students an edge on their careers. The Biotechnology Program works to train students to become biotechnology technicians in the region’s molecular biology-based industries and institutions.

HFCC’s Energy Technology-Alternative Energy program provides students in-depth study in non-traditional types of energy, including renewable/alternative energies, heating and cooling and “green” construction. This program offers students hands-on laboratory work combined with practice theory to meet the needs of industry today. Students take courses in wind, solar and fuel cell technology, geothermal systems, renewable energy sources and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Later in 2012, HFCC will open the doors to a new state-of-the-art Science Center. A new 19,000 foot expansion will offer four new laboratories and two new classrooms for life sciences. The building design uses green principles to work toward LEED status. The expansion models and teaches sustainability with a green roof and a ground level rain garden.

Also in 2012, the HFCC Welcome Center will open. This facility incorporates an Apple store design geared toward extraordinary customer service. The Center will help expedite student enrollment services, financial aid and other critical services to help students get the assistance they need immediately.

HFCC’s comprehensive music department offers a multitude of concerts for community members throughout the year. For instance, HFCC presented the “Big Band & Chicago” concert Jan. 28 at the Michael A. Guido Theater in the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center. The concert featured HFCC’s internationally acclaimed HFCC Big Band and Midnight Blue, HFCC’s top vocal jazz ensemble. Selections include hits by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Benny Goodman, Glen Miller and arrangements by the rock group Chicago. Midnight Blue, directed by HFCC’s G. Kevin Dewey, sang with the Henry Ford Big Band and performed many well-known vocal hits.

In December 2011, Edsel B. Ford II was named as director emeritus of the HFCC Foundation – the first individual to ever receive this honor in the 30-year history of the Foundation. He was chosen for this designation because he has served more than four terms on the HFCC Foundation Board, demonstrated strong leadership in the HFCC Foundation, as well as in the corporate and civic arenas.

His efforts have helped raised significant charitable support for the Foundation and its initiatives. The HFCC Foundation has raised more than $900,000 in scholarships for students who would not otherwise be able to begin or continue their college education.

HFCC is also committed to a healthy environment on all campuses. On Jan. 1, HFCC initiated the Breathe Easy Smoke Free Campus Campaign to demonstrate the college’s commitment to wellness and support a healthy campus environment for students, faculty, staff and our community members and guests. Through this campaign, HFCC offers a host of free smoking cessation resources to help everyone develop a life of wellness.

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