“Kaplan’s fundamental philosophy is to help individuals achieve their educational and career goals,” said Executive Director Mark Chesney at the school’s grand opening last month.
Located inside New Center One, 3031 W. Grand Blvd. (Suite 236), Kaplan Institute occupies 24,000 square feet of the second floor and can expand up to the third. There are currently appoximately 10 instructors and 240 students who meet daily in either morning or afternoon sessions in medical assisting, medical office specialist and pharmacy technician courses. The school will soon offer evening sessions as well.
The nine-month curriculum teaches students all the skills necessary to function either in a physician’s office or in a pharmacy as a pharmacy technician.
“They’ve done lecture work, they’ve done clinical work and labs, and they’ve actually gone out and gotten real-world experience,” Chesney said. “So it is, in fact, very condensed and accelerated.”
While some might compare Kaplan Institute to a community college, Chesney doesn’t quite agree.
“When people think of a community college, they think of a longer program,” he said. “We wouldn’t want to say we teach everything they do in nine months. That wouldn’t be a fair statement.”
State Sen. Hansen Clarke (D- Detroit), who cut the ribbon at the opening ceremonies, welcomes the school. He said he owes the fact that he got into Georgetown Law School to Kaplan prep courses.
Clarke had graduated from Cornell University following a brief interregnum, but while his grades improved after he returned to college, courses he took in that latter period, such as silk screen, didn’t impress law school admissions people.
“So, I was desperate,” he said. “I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but the local law schools here wouldn’t take me. I just wasn’t strong enough of an applicant, but because I took the Kaplan course, I did decent enough on the LSAT that I was able to get into Georgetown Law School.”
He said his tenure at Georgetown is the reason he got into politics.
Clarke, who was raised by a single mother in the Baldwin/Mack area, added that many of his still-living friends either got caught up in drugs or are barely making it financially.
“Those were the only options — to go to college full time, or nothing else,” he said.
“If the option was available for my friends that’s available right now at Kaplan Career Institute, many of my friends would have been able to get into careers, make a great living, really contribute, share something with their children.”
The school doesn’t currently offer degrees, but Chesney said they will be looking at doing so in the near future. The school’s first class will graduate in November.
Chesney described Kaplan as one institution with overriding authority and reporting structure, but a lot of input from individual campuses is taken into consideration when designing a curriculum.
As an example, he said if the Detroit campus finds that there is a need for trained technicians in the fields of heating, ventilation and air conditioning, it would probably have the ability to start a program in those fields.
At present, however, the medical assisting, medical office specialist and pharmacy technician courses are the only ones offered.
“We have identified this market as being in need of trained medical assistants, and the outlook for employment in those fields in Detroit is very positive,” Chesney said.
Dr. Lisa Jones-Harris, director of education (equivalent to a dean) at Kaplan Institute, said Kaplan is looking at an enrollment of 500 students by the end of the calendar year.
“In terms of new programs, it really depends on the demand, in terms of what people are asking for and if we feel we can do it well,” she said.
For more information, call (313) 456-8100 or visit www.kaplaninstitute-detroit.com.
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