Thursday, May 3, 2012

Michelle Mueller new Vice President of Economic Development at WCC

When you look at Michelle Mueller’s long list of business-related activities, you assume that she’s a successful businesswoman. But you would be wrong. WCC’s new associate vice president for economic development and community and corporate alliances is an experienced educator, administrator, and business collaborator.
Mueller will use her experience to expand the College’s partnerships and programs in the local and regional business sectors. She also will establish new alliances with educators, executives, and government agencies throughout southeast Michigan. It’s an assignment for which she’s well qualified.

As dean of workforce development at St. Clair County Community College, Mueller served on the leadership team and was the former chairperson of a consortium of nine southeast Michigan community colleges. WCC was one of the members. The consortium worked collaboratively on workforce development for the region.

“I am very happy to be at WCC,” Mueller said. “At St. Clair I worked on regional initiatives with MEDC [Michigan Economic Development Corp.] President Michael Finney when he was president of Ann Arbor SPARK. We also collaborated on regional strategic planning and developed the model for regional collaboration; it was a great experience for me.”

In addition to her work with the consortium, Mueller has served on Automation Alley, Detroit Regional Chamber, and Southeast Michigan Council of Governments committees. Automation Alley is Michigan’s largest nonprofit technology business association, which helps drive growth in southeast Michigan.

Her experience with educational associations at the state level also gives her a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities that face communities in and around Washtenaw County.
She served as vice chair of the Michigan Association of Continuing Education and Training. And she was a member of the Michigan Occupational Deans Administrative Council, as well as the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Collaborations Opened Up New Partnerships

Mueller and Demas worked closely with the St. Clair Chamber of Commerce and Lambton College, a two-year institution across the St. Clair River in Sarnia with international campuses in China, India, and Saudi Arabia. After a stint as co-chair of the St. Clair Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation visit, Mueller was given the assignment of dean of workforce development.
There she had success with short-term programs, contract training, and professional development contracts. However, she says that one of her biggest successes was a $2 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to develop job training in the areas of transportation, distribution, and logistics.
The proposal was written in partnership with Mott Community College, which provided grant-writing support. This successful outcome serves as an example of Mueller’s knowledge of community issues and opportunities, enthusiasm for collaboration, and ingenuity in securing resources.

“St. Clair is right on the I-69 corridor,” she said. “There is more commerce traffic across the Blue Water Bridge than Detroit has, in part from the double-stacking tunnel between Sarnia, Ontario, and Port Huron. A lot of cargo moves through that system to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and beyond. It’s truly a world trade route.

“You have to know what the plans are for the region in order to be a successful grant planner. You have to know where organizations like SEMCOG are going and what their challenges are in order to bring them on as partners. That’s where the opportunity is.

“If there’s anything that I do well, it’s connecting ideas with people and finding the resources to do it. It’s like a puzzle for me. I love finding where all of the pieces fit.”

Adapted from WCC News. For the full story please visit:

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