DETROIT – Davenport University, the state’s second-largest non-profit university, plans to open a new campus in downtown Detroit in January. On tap will be 21 course offerings in areas such as business, healthcare, technology and urban education.

It marks Grand Rapids-based Davenport’s second foray into metro Detroit. Last year Davenport closed its 40,000 square foot Livonia campus to move closer to a lot more potential students that need 21st century work skills. The Detroit campus is taking up residency in the New Center area in Midtown.

“We’ve been wanting to be in Detroit, to serve the community where we can close the talent gap in healthcare, technology and urban education,” said Lisa Howze, Vice President of Detroit Campuses and Strategic Partnerships for Davenport. Howze is the former chief government affairs officer for City of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

“Quicken Loans relocated from Livonia to Detroit and brought all its employees with them,” Howze said. “With burgeoning success taking place in Detroit, it is where people are and where the need is. We have a commitment to transform the communities.”

The new campus will open with 12,000 square feet of space on the first floor of the New Center One building at 3031 W. Grand Blvd. It will have six classrooms, a computer lab and other work and study areas. It’s designed for 2,000 students.

Davenport has most recently said it serves “nearly 8,000” students throughout its 80-plus undergraduate and graduate programs, about half the enrollment reported in 2011-12, according to a report in MIBiz.

Davenport hopes its business-friendly classes will fill, among other needs, a yawning technology jobs gap. Lots of jobs, not enough tech talent to fill them. Means big potential pool of new students.

One of Davenport’s big calling cards is its 100-percent placement rate guarantee – for accounting, networking and nursing. If the Davenport graduate doesn’t get a job within six months in one of these fields of study, they can return to Davenport and get a Master’s degree at the University’s expense.

To get the guarantee, students are required to sign a contract and meet specific requirements, including a 3.0 GPA in addition to some student best practices. Howze said no one to date has taken advantage of the guarantee. Overall, Davenport has a 91 percent placement rate after graduation for all its students, she said.

Davenport also is working closely with Detroit and Wayne County governments in an educational partnership in which these entities will provide employees with info on the training provided by Davenport. In return, these government employees, their spouses and dependents up to age 29 qualify for tuition discounts of up to 39 percent.

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