Detroit Regional Chamber > Detroiter Magazine > Knocking Down Barriers: Learn4ward Offers Unique Pathway to Two- and Four-Year Degrees

Knocking Down Barriers: Learn4ward Offers Unique Pathway to Two- and Four-Year Degrees

December 16, 2022 James Martinez

James Martinez | Metro Detroit Freelance Writer

Reaching the goal of 60% educational attainment and cutting the racial equity educational attainment gap in half by 2030 is going to require concerted and coordinated efforts that create more pathways to two- and four-year degrees.

Learn4ward is just the type of innovative program that can make it possible. It allows students to begin their academic and career pathways at Henry Ford College (HFC), and if they maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75, seamlessly transfer to the University of Michigan-Dearborn as juniors with at least 60 credit hours.

Those who complete the guaranteed admission program walk away with both an associate and bachelor’s degree within four to six years, thanks to the innovative new partnership announced between the two schools on Oct. 24.

“Every barrier that exists to a young person or adult to get that two-year or four-year degree needs to be addressed, and those barriers knocked down,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and chief executive officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “That is exactly what (Henry Ford College and UM-Dearborn) have done.”

Both schools are signees of the Chamber’s Detroit Regional Talent Compact, which is designed to drive collective impact and action. Launched in 2020, the compact’s vision is a Detroit with systems, policies, and resources that allow every resident to access and succeed in postsecondary education, leading to careers that fill the region’s talent needs.

“These are the kind of initiatives we’re encouraging through the Talent Compact,” said Greg Handel, vice president of talent and education at the Chamber. “The more colleges can create these innovative partnerships to advance student achievement and increase access to two- and four-year degrees, the closer we’ll get to realizing our attainment goals as a region and state.”“Learn4ward is a great example of bringing together the best of Michigan community colleges and universities to support student success,” said HFC President Russell Kavalhuna.

The program leverages the many opportunities, synergies, and benefits available to students on HFC and UMDearborn’s adjacent campuses, including facilities and student services. Through the program, students will have access to many resources and activities at UMDearborn while enrolled at HFC.

While students may take up to 6 years (3 at HFC and 3 at UM-Dearborn) to complete the Learn4ward program, both institutions will encourage and support students to complete their degrees more rapidly by studying full-time.