TRAVERSE CITY — A seven-hour car trip from Traverse City to Houghton seems to be getting shorter — northwestern Lower Michigan and the Keweenaw Peninsula keep finding ways to “share” space.

In March 2019, Michigan Tech signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Traverse City officials. The agreement “outlines their commitment to communicating and coordinating on collaborative educational and research projects,” according to a release from Michigan Tech.

“The agreement outlined five areas of mutual interest the parties agree to explore: K-12/pre-college engagement, higher education, industry, economic development and community development,” the release states. “Specifically, Michigan Tech and members of the Grand Traverse Area Michigan Tech Steering Committee will collaborate to develop research and technology commercialization partnerships, tailored talent development programs and student-teacher placements.”

Later in 2019, MTU and Northwestern Michigan College formalized a new partnership “to expedite degree completion for engineering students transferring to Michigan Tech from NMC,” according to a release from the Houghton university.

The 2+2 agreements went into effect for the fall 2019 semester and allow engineering students to complete two years at NMC and transfer to Tech with junior status.

The Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District and MTU in March approved an MOU to further opportunities between the two organizations.

Officials from TBAISD and MTU solidified an agreement to “promote ongoing educational opportunities and career exploration for students enrolled in the Career-Tech Center’s Manufacturing Technology Academy” earlier this month, according to a release.

The agreement allows current and future MTA students to receive additional lectures, seminars and workshops from the Michigan Tech curriculum.

It also provides a $1,000 annual renewable scholarship for students who complete two years of the MTA and enroll as first-year students at Michigan Tech.

The agreement formalizes a cooperation between TBAISD and Michigan Tech “to identify initiatives that expand student learning, exploration and apprentice programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career paths.”

The same MOU also detailed “potential collaborative opportunities in business development, entrepreneurial training ... and community development projects related to health and wellness, mobility and health technology” with Traverse City’s technology and entrepreneurship incubator 20Fathoms.

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