21 people in 2021: Mike Mannisto

Mike Mannisto

While the Cayman 2.0 series has thus far been looking at the ideas and strategies that could make the country a better place, we’re changing things up for December. This month, we’re highlighting 21 people who could turn some of those ideas into reality – or at least get the ball rolling – over the next calendar year.

As far as Mike Mannisto is concerned, the more Caymanians with a college education, the better. 

“It’s the last opportunity for people to get retooled,” said Mannisto, a partner at EY who heads its local scholarship programme and a longtime member of the International College of the Cayman Islands board of trustees. 

Getting a higher education will enable young people to develop the relevant skills to be successful and to have meaningful careers in the future, Mannisto added.

So his goal for 2021 is to do what he can – both at EY and ICCI – to ensure more Caymanians have access to a college or university education. 

“When you look at the statistics coming out of the Economics and Statistics Office… roughly 75% of Caymanians do not have a college or university degree. And that statistic is very alarming,” he said. 

21 people in 2021

James Whittaker
• Rachel Smyth
• Andre Gooden
• Adam Sax
• Marc Langevin
• Louisa Sax
• Dr. Marc Lockhart
• Lauren Nelson
• Jordan Stubblefield
• Brandon Caruana
• Josephine Horwitz
• Juliet Austin
• Stacy McAfee
• Blair Lilford

Mannisto says there are many successful people without degrees, but he believes increasing the number of Caymanians with a degree will go a long way in preparing the workforce for the next wave of job opportunities. 

“Think about the future, where we’re moving quickly to a digital economy. And this pandemic has accelerated that, organisations accelerated rolling out their digital agendas.

He says ICCI – Cayman’s only private not-for-profit university –  hopes to expand its open-enrolment programme.

The school is also looking at expanding its programmes to bring it in line with emerging employment trends, he added. 

“Up until now, we’ve basically been a business school. And that makes sense [when you] think about our economy,” Mannisto said. 

But looking to the future, he says the school is now aiming to make big investments elsewhere, such as in technology and healthcare. 

Mike Mannisto at a glance

“You can’t talk about education without figuring out where we’re going to head to and where we want to move to as a country,” he said. “At ICCI, we’re going to continue to invest in our business programmes, we’re going to continue to invest in our technology programmes. And we’re going to develop programmes in the healthcare sector… We’re really looking forward to partnering with leading healthcare organisations to develop those programmes.”

Partnerships are another key goal for Mannisto and ICCI, specifically those with government, private-sector companies and other educational institutions like the University College of the Cayman Islands. 

“There’s great opportunities to combine the two schools,” Mannisto said of UCCI and ICCI. “You take our [strong] governance structure – privately [funded] around higher education – and our success and track record, and you combine that with the talent that UCCI has,” and that is a formula to create an institution that can be “an anchor for a leading technology sector, for a leading healthcare sector and [a leading] financial services sector”. 

He hopes by improving current offerings, rolling out new programmes and expanding partnerships, Cayman can start to overcome its ‘75% problem’. 

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