On Monday, the Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees held their Sept. meeting and learned that the fall semester is starting off on a good note.
The meeting started on a positive note with GRCC president, Bill Pink, acknowledging students in GRCC’s Sheriff’s Corrections Academy.
The Academy offers students hands-on training as well as demonstration and lecture. The five-week long program is offered to those who are already in the corrections workforce as well as those who are new to the workforce.
The 11 students in the program are in week four and will be graduating next week.
“The instructors and students that are in the class have been working so hard to make the program successful,” Pink said. “But also the Kent County and Ottawa County sheriff’s department has made the experience so much better and have been great.”
Another agenda item was for the board to approve three new agreements.
The Michigan New Job Training program allows GRCC, through a revenue bonding situation, to provide training for employers when they have new jobs in Michigan.
The applicant, Koops Inc., designs custom manufacturing automation engineering systems to help businesses ensure greater control in their manufacturing process.
Koops Inc. currently employs 100 full-time Michigan employees and is expecting to add an additional 56 positions over the next three years.
“This agreement will provide training support for those new positions,” said Lisa Freiburger, VP of finance and admissions.
After the agreement was approved, Freiburger went on to go over the enrollment situation.
“I’m pleased to report that our enrollment is better than we had projected,” Freiburger said. “We are up approximately 1.5 percent in billing units, this translates monetarily into a fall difference of approximately $136,000.”
The last speaker to address the board was Frank Connor, President of the GRCC Faculty Association.
Connor didn’t have a report for the board but had a “perspective report” about the relationship between the students and faculty.
Connor talked to the board about how the institution should obviously focus on the academic and success rate of the students, but should also focus on the relationships between students and faculty.
“It’s a very important aspect of teaching,” Connor said. “If the teacher and student know how to communicate effectively with each other, then they can work better together and the teacher can help the student succeed.”
After Connor’s speech, Trustee Kathleen Bruinsma wanted to say a brief closing statement about the recent events concerning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“From an economic standpoint, ending DACA is an expensive loss,” Bruinsma said. “These students contribute millions of dollars to our local and state economy every year. From a moral standpoint, ending DACA is a blemish. These students were young children when they arrived here and they are classmates, employees, and friends. Because this college has a deep and abiding commitment to inclusion, equity and removing barriers to education, I’m grateful that this board, Dr. Pink, and the faculty council have asked that Congress extend DACA before it expires for the benefit of our students, our community, and our state.”
To learn more about the earlier statements made by Pink, the board and faculty council concerning DACA, click here.