Release Date: 
Friday, May 29, 2020

Governor Whitmer appoints President Kavalhuna to statewide board to lead workforce development

President Russell A. Kavalhuna

Calling Michigan the “birthplace of the middle class,” today Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the creation of a new Workforce Development Board, whose job will be to advance “the development and continuous improvement of the workforce development system in Michigan.”

The Board comprises the Governor and 20 executive leaders from across the state. They represent elected officials, business and industry, and higher education. President Kavalhuna is the sole community college president. His term on the Board runs through May 29, 2024.

“Preparing the state’s workforce for jobs of the future and making sure that Michigan wins on talent will be incredibly important as we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to working with these key industry, labor and community leaders, utilizing their diverse perspectives as we build a stronger Michigan together,” said Jeff Donofrio, Director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

Henry Ford College has a proud tradition of leading workforce development since the College’s founding more than 80 years ago. Most recently, HFC has been an active supporter of statewide workforce development initiatives, including:

  • The Sixty by 30 Action Alliance, an effort to increase the number of working-age adults in Michigan with an occupational certificate or college degree to 60 percent by 2030.
  • MI Reconnect, an initiative to provide tuition-free pathway to an in-demand industry certificate or associate degree for Michigan adults over age 25.
  • The Michigan Opportunity Scholarship, which is intended to provide graduating high school students with two years of tuition-free postsecondary education at a community college.
  • The regional Detroit Drives Degrees program, a consortium to improve the talent pipeline by improving access, boosting success, and attracting and retaining talent.
  • Hawk Pathways, HFC’s arm of a statewide debt-forgiveness program that encourages former students to return to college to complete their certificates or degrees.

Henry Ford College is also an avid partner with business and industry. The College has many longstanding partnerships that prepare graduates for immediate employment and leadership in high-demand fields. Just a few of these partnerships include the Ford Motor Company, Fiat Chrysler, US Steel, AK Steel, DTE Energy, Secure 24, Beaumont Health System, the DMC, Henry Ford Health System, Trinity Health, and many others.

“Workforce development is a driving force at Henry Ford College,” said President Kavalhuna. “We have been out in front for decades, preparing graduates to become teammates and innovators in many high-demand fields. We are a leader in providing a path to a successful middle class life for the citizens of Michigan, including underserved populations. I am proud to be part of a consortium that can lead to new partnerships and creative ways to help Michigan lead the way nationally in workforce development.”

Read Executive Order 2020-107 creating the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Michigan Workforce Development Board.