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What's in a Name? A Job?

January 10, 2011 - Steve Schulwitz
Put yourself in the chair of a CEO of a large company who is interviewing candidates for a vacant position. In front of him sits two resumes, and the name of the person on one of them is about to be hired for a high-paying job in their field of study. While reviewing the educational information, you see both applicants have bachelor degrees, solid references, and the pedigree you are seeking. You face a tough choice. You examine the resumes further and look at the colleges each attended. One graduated from Ferris State University, the other from Alpena Community College. Who do you hire? I like to think the ACC graduate gets the nod, but I honestly don't think that would be the case. The bigger school wins again. The term "community college" does, and will continue to, garner misconceptions of inadequacies when being compared to their larger peers. Fair or unfair, that is the plain and simple truth, and I'm sure there are already ACC graduates who have been denied employment because of it. That is why I favor a name change for the Alpena Community College. Do I understand the potential backlash that is sure to come from the community if Alpena is excluded from the new name? Absolutely. I think we as a community must focus on the future successes of the graduates, however, and not on having our feelings bruised or our pride stripped. If the leaders of the school think a name change will lead to students launching more successful careers and help them hold their ground against graduates from larger institutions, than so be it. Make the move. If it is merely a marketing campaign, however, or a ploy to lure new students to the school, then I say long live the Lumberjacks and keep things as they are. I find it hard to believe that is the case, though. The economy is not improving as quickly as we would like, so many parents are encouraging their children to attend class closer to home and for a longer period of time. This is a trend I believe is not going to fade away anytime soon, at least in Michigan. If the college does indeed begin to offer bachelor programs, the people of Alpena should swallow their pride and let the change happen, because having our school's graduates earning prosperous careers, thanks to an education from the local schoo,l should create more pride than the school's name itself.


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