September 12, 2022

Michigan Tribal Colleges Join Michigan Community College Association

LANSING — Michigan’s three tribal colleges have joined the Michigan Community College Association, bringing the association’s membership to 31 colleges. 

“Michigan’s tribal colleges will strengthen our network of community colleges,” said Brandy Johnson, MCCA President. “Their membership will help amplify MCCA’s impact on issues related to student success, talent development and community vitality.”  

Bay Mills Community College, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal and Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College joined the MCCA this summer. The colleges will each have two members on the MCCA board of directors and will have access to the wide variety of programs and services the association provides to community colleges. 

“In Michigan, an alarmingly small percentage of Native American students are enrolling, persisting and earning a certificate or degree compared to all students in the state,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, Michigan College Access Network executive director. “Tribal colleges play an invaluable role in addressing this disparity by supporting the postsecondary goals of Native American students and helping Michigan reach Sixty by 30. We are thrilled to provide grant funding to support the colleges’ MCCA membership.”

Bay Mills Community College was founded in 1984 and is located on the southeastern shore of Lake Superior within the Bay Mills Indian Community, approximately 17 miles west of Sault Ste. Marie in the Upper Peninsula. The college serves 450-550 students per semester and offers two bachelor’s degrees, 15 associate degrees, 11 certificates, and one Anishinaabemwin Pane Language Immersion diploma annually on its campus. 

“Bay Mills Community College is excited to join the MCCA and create partnerships while collaborating with all community colleges in Michigan,” said Duane Bedell, Bay Mills Community College President. “Most importantly, we are excited to learn and work with our new colleagues to help our future generations become leaders in our communities and throughout our beautiful state.”

Located in Mt. Pleasant, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College was founded in 1999 offers four associate degree or credential programs annually on its campus.

“Our small tribal college is excited to join the MCCA,” said Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College President Carla Sineway. “The opportunity to network with other Michigan community colleges will definitely benefit our students.” 

Located in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College was founded in 2009.  KBOCC serves the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, as well as surrounding communities, and across the United States due to online learning.  The college delivers education to 196 students and offers 8 associate degrees, 10 certificates, and 3 CTE high school courses. 

“Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College is growing in many ways, particularly through our expanding online program,” said Lori Sherman, KBOCC President. “We look forward to partnering with MCCA and know that our partnership will be fruitful and an exchange of knowledge.”    

The Michigan Community College Association is the unified voice for Michigan’s community colleges, empowering members to lead in the areas of student success, talent development, and community vitality.  MCCA exists to strengthen public awareness and recognition of the role of community colleges, and support members in delivering education and training that is responsive to changing labor-market needs. It is focused on fostering collaboration, connection, and partnerships among community colleges and stakeholders. Learn more at