By Kosha Oswald – Collegiate Staff
Grand Rapids Community College has been awarded a $6 million federal grant from the United States Department of Labor, through its America’s Promise grant competition. GRCC and its community partner organizations will be using the grant to help create health care career pathways for those interested in a career in the health care field.
“There are so many different careers in health care that are open now, or will be coming open in the next few years,” said Julie Parks, executive director of workforce training. “We hope to expose more people to these opportunities and get them into training programs to get good jobs.”
The grant will start in January 2017 and will help to pay for career coaches and navigators at GRCC and West Michigan Works, as well as some community partner organizations. The coaches will work with individuals to see if they are a good fit for health care careers and help them create a career plan. It will also help them prepare for their education by offering support services and problem solving. The goal is to do what is necessary to help the students be successful.
In addition to the coaches, some of the money will go towards new program development costs at GRCC, Muskegon Community College, and Montcalm Community College. Some money will also be used to offset educational costs and reduce course costs.
“It gives GRCC a chance to do some innovation in how we offer our new health care programming, and it gives GRCC students more educational opportunities in health care,” Parks said.
The grant will also give GRCC closer ties to some of west Michigan health care employers.
Some of the employers that will be participating are:
- Mercy Health
- Cherry Health
- Porter Hills
- Holland Home
- Clark Retirement
- Sunset Manor
- West Michigan Healthcare Innovation Council
“We are honored at being funded $6 million through the America’s Promise Grant,” said Bill Pink, vice president and dean for workforce development. “What a great example of how GRCC continues to collaborate with great partners throughout West Michigan to provide great opportunities for students.”