$30+ Million Investment to Transform Region’s Talent Pipeline

Detroit Drives Degrees Community College Collaborative Launched, OCC Receives $6.3 Million to Boost Access and Graduation Rates, Meet Employer Talent Needs

Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees Community College Collaborative (D3C3) announced more than $30 million in support from Ballmer Group and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. The initiative is a partnership with seven Southeast Michigan community colleges, including Oakland Community College (OCC), to ensure students have equitable educational opportunities and graduate with high-value credentials or degrees that lead to good-paying, in-demand jobs with local employers, boosting the Region’s overall prosperity. 

Provenzano D3C3
OCC Chancellor Peter Provenzano (center) joins other area community college leaders at the D3C3 press conference.

“Community colleges are mission driven institutions. We know the difference that a college credential makes in the lives of our students and their families,” said OCC Chancellor Peter Provenzano.  “This collaborative can advance those outcomes for our region while ensuring that the promise of a college education is open to all.”   

“D3C3 is about transforming our talent pipeline through innovative partnerships with local community colleges that are uniquely positioned to help students enter the workforce with the qualifications employers need,” said Sandy K. Baruah, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber. “Ballmer Group and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s generous support speaks to the value of this initiative and importance of collaborative and job-focused education that will benefit employers, families, and the Region.” 

As part of D3C3, our institution and six other community college partners are currently executing plans to create systemic change at our institutions that increase equitable access and enrollment for high school students and align academic programs to promising career paths. We and our fellow community college partners are also developing regional strategies to collectively address inequitable systems. 

OCC plans to use the $6.3 million to fund three clusters of work focusing on student success, K-12 partnerships and career pathways for emerging mobility technologies over the next three years. 

Additional community college partners include Henry Ford College, Macomb Community College, Monroe County Community College, Schoolcraft College, Washtenaw Community College, Wayne County Community College District. 

“Students facing barriers to degree attainment deserve access to family-sustaining careers," said Kylee Mitchell Wells, Ballmer Group’s Southeast Michigan Executive Director. "This partnership is designed to open new doors and create smoother pathways from education to career success, closing equity gaps across our Region." 

D3C3“Community colleges are the largest and arguably most important talent development asset in Southeast Michigan. Skilled talent is directly linked to economic growth and regional prosperity,” said David Egner, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “The Detroit Drives Degrees Community College Collaborative (D3C3) is a large-scale, strategic injection of investment in our regional community college system that has the potential to make meaningful and lasting change. We are thrilled to partner with the community college leaders, Ballmer Group, and the Detroit Regional Chamber, to envision, and now officially launch, D3C3.”   

D3C3 developed out of the Chamber’s Detroit Regional Talent Compact, a 10-year equity-driven initiative to increase the Region's postsecondary attainment rate to 60% and reduce the racial equity gap by half by 2030 – the same “60 by 30” goal later adopted by the State of Michigan.  

About OCC 

Oakland Community College offers nearly 100 degrees and certificates programs with the resources students need to be successful and advance our community. As a top transfer institution, OCC offers one of the state’s most affordable tuition rates and flexibility in scheduling with face-to-face and online options. The College is nationally recognized for its high-demand career training with expert faculty in their fields. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at  oaklandcc.edu.   

About the Detroit Drives Degrees Community College Collaborative

The Detroit Drives Degrees Community College Collaborative (D3C3) is a regional initiative that elevates the role of community colleges in increasing equitable access to educational opportunities, boosting graduation rates, and bolstering the regional college-to-career pipeline. It is part of the Detroit Drives Degrees collective impact program of the Detroit Regional Chamber designed to increase postsecondary attainment in Michigan to 60% and reduce the racial equity attainment gap by half by 2030. Through D3C3, seven community colleges are being funded to implement college-level, systemic strategies to create lasting improvements for students and employers. Learn more at detroitchamber.com/d3c3. 

About Ballmer Group 

Ballmer Group is committed to improving economic mobility for children and families in the United States, funding leaders and organizations that have demonstrated the ability to reshape opportunity and reduce systemic inequities. We focus on multiple impact areas and systems that can impact economic mobility - such as early learning, K-12 education, college and career pathways, housing, behavioral health, and criminal justice - and we support leaders and organizations that focus on undoing systemic racism and the barriers it has created. Ballmer Group is both a national and regional funder – we have a presence and invest deeply in southeast Michigan, Washington state, and Los Angeles County. Ballmer Group was co-founded by philanthropist Connie Ballmer and her husband Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, founder of USAFacts, and chairman of the Los Angeles Clippers. Learn more at www.ballmergroup.org. 

About the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation     

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect the devotion of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his beloved Buffalo Bills NFL team. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson provided that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. Based in Detroit, the Foundation began with a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable, and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit www.rcwjrf.org.



Media Contact: Marketing & Communications | 248.341.2020 | contactus@oaklandcc.edu