September 6, 2023
Students embarked on three brand-new credentials this fall, preparing for careers in high-demand fields in which NMC has established leadership, while overall enrollment among the more than 60 programs ticked upward slightly.
Enrollment is up 1.6 percent in terms of headcount, or 48 students. While a small increase, it’s a welcome change from the pandemic-accelerated enrollment declines of recent years. This fall’s study body includes the first Michigan Achievement students, 2023 high school graduates who received up to $2,750 from the state, and the third class of Michigan Reconnect students, which provides free in-district tuition for students 25 and older who don’t have a college degree.
The new programs, all approved by NMC’s Board of Trustees, are:
Culinary maritime certificate: Most of the 11 students enrolled are adding the certificate onto their associate degree. The certificate formalizes what began as an intra-campus partnership between NMC’s Great Lakes Culinary Institute and Great Lakes Maritime Academy. For several years, a small number of culinary students have completed an internship onboard the Academy training ship State of Michigan. Due to the strong demand for shipboard cooks, they were employed immediately upon graduation, at high salaries.
Students in the certificate program, the only one in the U.S., will earn both the culinary and maritime credentials required to sail on U.S. flagged vessels.
“This certificate creates a unique offering that will distinguish the Great Lakes Culinary Institute from other programs. It also gives our students more options and meets the needs of industry,” said NMC President Nick Nissley.
UAS degree: Creating a standalone Uncrewed Aerial Systems degree instead of a specialty within NMC’s Engineering Technology degree creates a clearer path for students, said UAS program coordinator Tony Sauerbrey. So far, seven students have enrolled.
NMC first offered drone classes in 2010, several years before the FAA established a commercial license in 2016. Today drones are used for inspection and monitoring in multiple economic sectors, from agriculture to infrastructure. NMC’s Police Academy also offers drone operator certification to its students, the only one in Michigan to do so.
“The new degree will allow for greater flexibility in meeting the needs of the ever-changing drone industry,” Sauerbrey said. “The UAS industry is continuing to grow with a need for workforce development.”
Wet Tech degree: The only one of its kind in Michigan, the degree utilizes existing courses from surveying and unmanned aerial systems programs as well new courses in environmental site assessment, aquifer sampling, and groundwater monitoring. An internship is also required.
Four students have declared it as their program so far.
“This program will focus on training a workforce supporting the direct monitoring and cleanup of waters within the Great Lakes watershed and focusing on the direct impact to the quality of our water resources,” said Great Lakes Water Studies Institute Executive Director Hans Van Sumeren.
Another program, Marine Technology, enrolled its largest class yet this fall, at 14 students.
Besides these three credentials, this summer NMC also began partnering with Davenport University to offer a bachelor of science degree in nursing. Eight students total are now enrolled in the fast-track program.
The new credentials and, for nursing, the accelerated delivery, are part of NMC Next, the college’s strategic plan, specifically offering future-focused education and building on areas of institutional distinction.