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Community colleges in Michigan may soon offer 4 year degrees


COLDWATER, MI (WVB) - Community colleges, like the KCC Grahl Center satellite campus in Coldwater, could offer four-year degrees in six new areas of education under a bill introduced last week in the Michigan House. Sponsored by Representative Mike Shirkey, a Clark Lake Republican, it would allow the offering of bachelor's degrees in nursing, wastewater treatment technology, allied health, ski area management, information technology and manufacturing technology. Those areas would be in addition to four others that were in much-debated legislation that passed in Lame Duck session: cement technology, maritime technology, energy production technology and culinary arts. Shirkey says the idea is to give students more options on where they can earn four-year degrees. He contends that in some cases these areas of study reflect a specific industry demand not currently being met by the state's four-year universities. He calls it a step forward in curbing work force shortages, reducing unemployment rates and increasing access to affordable education. Opponents to the measure say it will increase operating costs and would lead to more competition than collaboration.