By Kailey Coen – Collegiate Staff
Industrial sewing is a growing industry around the state and Grand Rapids Community College is helping prepare students to enter the job market
The college is offering a six-month long Industrial Sewing Certificate program, that recently launched statewide. GRCC is one of the only colleges that currently offer the program, along with Henry Ford Community College. Soon St. Clair and Lansing Community College will also be offering the program.
The next course available begins Sept. 29. The class meets three days a week and is located in northwest Grand Rapids, Steepletown. Each class will have 10 students, which means you are able to get a lot of one on one time.
In recent years, most industrial sewing jobs had left the states and business owners were able to find cheaper labor overseas. Now, because of problems with communication with other countries, and the growth of the industry the jobs are coming back and a trained workforce is needed.
Julie Parks, director of GRCC workforce training and the Tassell M-TEC facility, says she is excited that the college gets to be involved with the employers.
The certificate program teaches students how to safely operate industrial sewing machines.
After the course, GRCC brings in companies to interview students, who are guaranteed at least two job interviews. The job rates for industrial sewing is surprisingly high. About 91 percent of students who successfully finish the program are able to land jobs, said parks. Wages for sewing are usually between $14 to $16 an hour.
GRCC received a $30,000 grant from JP Morgan Chase to purchase more equipment such as sewing machines to use for the program.
“They are not sewing clothes, they are sewing things like seats, canvas and large bags used for shipping.” Parks said.
Julie Parks said the program has been a success so far and is leading people to great careers. Not many people are aware of the need for industrial sewing and the jobs out there for it.
“It is exciting the college gets to be involved with the employers,” Parks said “The students have great opportunities.”