Home Featured News New report pushes for community college support

New report pushes for community college support

Officials joined forces at Sweden Hall for a press conference Tuesday.

Grand Rapids Community College leaders have joined forces with Michigan business leaders and local law enforcement with a new joint report in support of students.

The report addressed the “skills gap” officials say employers are facing nationwide, meaning there are not enough qualified people for the jobs that need to be filled.

Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma said the same applies to law enforcement community.

“Our recruits need to be among the best and the brightest among our citizens,” Stelma said.

Stelma said in addition to being proficient in math, reading and problem solving skills, it’s important that recruits leave their respective programs with the skills and knowledge to protect the community they serve in.

The report outlined six goals for bettering the community college experience, which included a push for more advising and counseling, simplification of the Federal Application For Student Aid (FAFSA), make Pell Grant money available in the summer, keep colleges accountable on transfer and retention numbers and increased support for workforce training and dual enrollment.

“The more people that are prepared for these jobs, the more prosperous we will be,” said Milton Scales, member of the ReadyNation business leader group.

GRCC student Andrew Ringling has been at GRCC for two years now. Ringling, 23, is one of 35 recruits that will graduate from the police academy in October.

Ringling said he decided to come to GRCC because of its affordability, but said there are some things he hopes become easier for the next class of recruits.

“Sometimes it is difficult to get all the financial aid that you need,” Ringling said, about the difficulties of the FAFSA. “A lot of times it’s available, but it’s hard to get.”

After graduation, Ringling hopes to serve his local community in the Grand Rapids area.