On December 7, 2020, the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce recognized outstanding individuals and companies for their achievements and announced the winners of their annual Silver & Gold Awards. These awards honor leaders and organizations for their leadership, innovation, and community involvement. The Silver & Gold Awards recognize those who represent “sterling” qualities of excellence and leadership.
This year, Dorsey Schools had the honor of being named the recipient of the Detroit Pistons Game Changer Award. This award is presented to an individual or organization that is changing the way business is done or making a significant contribution within the community. Dorsey Schools received the Detroit Pistons Game Changer Award for the steps they took to transform how their campus-based, career training programs were delivered when the Covid-19 pandemic took hold here in Michigan in March 2020.
When the first confirmed cases of Covid-19 were identified here in Michigan, Dorsey was a thriving entirely on-ground career school with 2,000+ students spread across various campuses. A few weeks later, in late March, when the state of Michigan closed all non-essential services, Dorsey buildings effectively closed. Knowing the critical impact that skilled professionals have within our local communities, Dorsey Schools wanted to find a way to ensure students could continue their training program while staying in compliance with the orders issued by the state to curb the spread of Covid-19. Over the next three weeks, educators and staff at Dorsey Schools worked around the clock to re-envision hands-on career education as an entirely online experience. Dorsey Schools invested heavily in technology, electronic resources, and online simulation tools. By mid-April, Dorsey Schools was able to resume education online in the majority of its programs, returning about 1,500 students. By June, nearly all Dorsey programs had been restarted in an online format. In the summer, as circumstances allowed, Dorsey Schools started returning small groups of students on-ground for key competency assessments to assure they would graduate with all the necessary skills to be successful in their newly chosen career.
John Barnes, President and CEO of Dorsey Schools, commented on the award by saying, “this award is representative of the efforts put forth by our entire team to not only ensure our students would be able to continue their training programs but also ensure that we were helping our local communities in the midst of this pandemic. Early on in this pandemic, the phrase “essential workers” was coined, and our team realized that the future Licensed Practical Nurses, Medical Assistants, Emergency Medical Technicians, and Paramedics (just to name a few) would be needed to help keep our local communities going. We knew that we had an inherent obligation to figure this out because we play a key role in training the essential workers of tomorrow.”
Dorsey Schools has the distinction of being the oldest career school in the state of Michigan. Founded by Ruth Dorsey in downtown Detroit in 1934 as a secretarial and calculating school, Dorsey has continuously evolved over the decades to meet the workforce needs of Michigan employers. Today Dorsey Schools has campus locations in the Metro Detroit and Saginaw areas and prepares students to pursue careers in fields such as healthcare, nursing, beauty, culinary, skilled trades, and emergency medical services. Dorsey Schools strives to ensure graduates are equipped with not only the skills needed for their chosen career but, equally important, possess the life skills of self-esteem, self-reliance, and confidence that can lead to long-term success.