2021 Newsmaker: Patricia Harris


Patricia Harris


Kuyper College

Kuyper College made working students a priority in 2021.

It was the only school in Michigan and one of 10 nationally to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a work college after it developed the KuyperWorks program, a two-year program that allows students to work on campus or at off-campus organizations for 10 hours each week during their first year in the program.

The work college designation is awarded to a school that has intentionally integrated work, learning and service in its teaching.

“Anyone who has spent time at Kuyper College will recognize the words in our official seal that form our school’s motto — Ora et Labora — Pray and Work. From the very beginning, this idea has been infused into every part of life at the college,” said Patricia Harris, president of Kuyper College. “To further this vision, Kuyper College is entering an exciting new period in its history as it now becomes a work college.”

With Harris’ leadership, Kuyper started an urban WorkPlace Partnership initiative last year. It gives a cohort of 20 freshman students the opportunity to earn a business degree while working a part-time, entry-level job at Butterball Farms or Lumbermen’s throughout their four years to help pay for their tuition.

The students take classes in the evenings and weekends and work 20 hours per week at either Butterball Farms or Lumbermen’s, where they’ll earn at least $13.50 per hour.

The money the students earn goes toward their tuition. The college and individual students reach a mutual agreement to decide how much of their paychecks go to students.

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