WCC instructor wins MCCA Outstanding Faculty Award

Tom Penird, a full-time instructor and department chair in the Advanced Manufacturing department at Washtenaw Community College, received the Outstanding Faculty Award presented by the Michigan Community College Association’s Board of Directors.

The award was presented at the MCCA’s 2017 Leadership Academy awards dinner, held July 27 on Mackinac Island. WCC Board of Trustees chairwoman Diana McKnight-Morton introduced Penird.

After relocating to Ann Arbor in 1989, Penird was taking a calculus class at WCC when he discovered the college’s “adult sand box” full of machine tools and robots. He spent so much time there, WCC finally put him on the payroll. He taught his first class in CNC machining in 1991 and accepted a full-time position in 2000.

WCC represented at Career Pathway announcement

WCC was invited to attend Gov. Rick Snyder’s press conference unveiling the Michigan Career Pathway Alliance, aimed at closing the state’s talent gap by expanding and strengthening career technical education.

WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca joined Snyder, Talent and Economic Development Director Roger Curtis, State Superintendent of Schools Brian Whiston, Square One Education Network Director Barb Land  and other dignitaries at the June 26 event at Brose North America.

“Skilled professionals will be required in multiple occupations and functions to implement new intelligent transportation systems,” said Bellanca. “Without the talent to compete in this new industry, Michigan will not be able to attract businesses to locate and expand here.”

The alliance brings together economic developers, employers and educators -— including K-12 districts and higher education institutions — with union leaders and businesses.

Recommendations of the alliance include increased funding for high school and at-risk students, a focus on competency-based learning, and more access to postsecondary learning.

MDOT brings its youth mentoring program to the WCC campus

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) held its Youth Development and Mentoring Program Career Exploration Fair at Washtenaw Community College on July 25.

The event provided an estimated 250 high school students from around the state a chance to learn about the value of higher education and align themselves with mentors who provide guidance on career development.

The 10th, 11th and 12th-grade students were joined by graduates of the program, ranging in age from 18 to 24, who served as team leaders at the event.

Along with a traditional career fair setup that included booths staffed by government, industry and education personnel, the students were exposed to professional presentations and classroom learning opportunities.

WCC faculty and staff were on hand to discuss programs, career options and mentoring opportunities available at the college.

This is the first year MDOT has held its annual event on the WCC campus.