Michigan’s Ferris State University Partners with Alta Equipment to Establish Endowment

Partnerships with area employers help Ferris State University students gain access to the most-up-to-date training and strengthen the local economy with a skilled workforce, Ferris State President Bill Pink said while celebrating a new collaboration with Alta Equipment.

Alta, a Livonia-based construction and material handling equipment dealer, established an endowment to support Ferris State’s Heavy Equipment Department and the College of Engineering Technology, including classroom and laboratory upgrades, professional development, and recruiting opportunities. Ferris State named one of its Heavy Equipment Center spaces the Alta Equipment Lecture Hall to commemorate the partnership.

“When you work with us that closely, that is when you and Ferris State are truly making strong differences in the lives of people and making a difference in the state of Michigan,” Pink said. “We, working with you, are providing a workforce that is getting it done for our state — and for you.”

Alta Senior Vice President Kyle Huss, a 1994 Ferris State graduate, said there are many fields that need people with heavy equipment skills and would love to see hundreds more students in the program. Heavy equipment operators are in demand as national spending on infrastructure increases. Many roads, bridges, and water and sewer systems need repair nationwide, and population growth is spurring new projects. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects about 42,300 new openings each year during the next decade.

“When you bring someone from Ferris State on, they are at a different level than someone who comes from a different school,” Huss said. “We’ve always found that when we bring on a graduate of the Ferris Heavy Equipment program, they know our guiding principles and have a one team mentality. They have mutual respect with their fellow employees. And when you bring on alumni and they are in a position of hiring, they are going to bring on the best of the best.”

Ferris State’s School of Automotive and Heavy Equipment offers five majors – three Bachelor of Science and two Associate in Applied Science degrees – that lead to transportation careers for today and tomorrow.

Each program is specialized with faculty skilled and trained in their specific area – such as alternative fuels, engineering, high-performance testing, electronic controls, management, diagnostics, and hydraulics.