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GRCC Board of Trustees discuss new job training agreements during meeting on Monday

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The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees during a regular meeting on September 17, 2018 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Tatiana Diaz/The Collegiate)

The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees met for the first regular meeting of the academic year to discuss updates since the last meeting held in June, approve the local strategic values resolution and discuss two new job training agreements.

The meeting kicked off with guest speaker Joe Gomez from Cascade Engineering thanking GRCC President Bill Pink for serving as keynote speaker during the eighth annual Young Professionals of Color Conference during which Cascade Engineering donated a scholarship to one of the student members of the Alpha Beta Omega student organization, however the student was not named during the meeting.

“The Alpha Beta Omega fraternity was in attendance (at the conference),” Gomez said. “In fact, we’re working with one of the members who’s seeking an apprenticeship at Cascade Engineering as a result of the conference.”

After approval of the meeting’s agenda, Vice President for Finance and Administration Lisa Freiburger presented the board with a local strategic value resolution and spoke about what that means for GRCC.

“This is an annual resolution that is required by the state as part of the state’s school aid act,” Freiburger said. “So our annual funding from the state is contingent in part on us complying with and reporting out the items that are appropriate to this resolution.

“As has been in prior years, there are three different categories that the state requires us to report activities within, and we must prove that we beat four out of five of the best practices that the state has identified and provide examples of those.”

Freiburger noted that GRCC meets the criteria to bring forward the resolution for the local strategic values and further noted that GRCC gets approximately $18.7 million in operating revenue from the State of Michigan which is a .8 percent increase from the previous year. The current 2017/18 Local Strategic Values Resolution can be found on GRCC’s website under the Budget and Performance Transparency Reporting icon on the bottom of the website’s main page. The local strategic values resolution was approved by the board. It is not yet clear as to when the new local strategic values resolution will be posted on GRCC’s website. 

Also on GRCC’s website is a new box required by the state to show GRCC’s Campus Safety Information and Resources which shows emergency contact phone numbers, like campus police and the Grand Rapids Police Department, as well as Title IX contacts, safety and security services, sexual assault survivors resources and more.

Following the local strategic values resolution, Freiburger presented the board with two Michigan New Job Training Agreements, one from Agropur Inc., a local dairy processor in Grand Rapids, and JR Automation, a Holland-based industrial automation company.

Agropur, Inc. is set to add 66 new jobs in Grand Rapids with a $400,000 agreement to train the new employees and compensate them at 125 percent above the current $9.25 minimum wage. JR Automation will be adding 50 new positions with a $100,000 agreement. Each company predicts to add the new jobs within the next two years and will pay the new employees in excess of $16.19.

“In both cases… (we) have worked directly with the company to ensure we have a plan whereby that $400,000 for the Agropur or the $100,000 with JR Automation will be repaid to the college within a five year timeframe with employee payroll tax diversions,” Freiburger said.”

President Bill Pink used his time during the president’s report to talk about GRCC’s most recent award, the Diversity Champion Award by Corp! Magazine last Thursday and recognized Mansfield Matthewson as a leading force behind the award for GRCC.

“Aside from Mansfield being great at singing songs in a truck,” Pink said referring to a recent video Pink posted with administrators, faculty, staff and Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. “Mansfield also is really good at what he and his team do at our purchasing office. So with what Mansfield and his folks have put together around supplier diversity and how we do our work here at GRCC, that was a big catalyst as to why Corp! Magazine decided to recognize Grand Rapids Community College in this way.”

Pink also publicly acknowledged Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal’s retirement announcement from earlier today.

“I was able to go over to Madison Elementary School this morning to listen to superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal at GRPS announce her retirement,” Pink said. “I want to publicly during this meeting acknowledge that she will be missed and that GRCC recognizes the good work that has been done for 44 years in that district… I just wanted to publicly acknowledge that and we will be definitely participating and wishing her godspeed in her future endeavors.”

The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15 in the Board Library on the fifth floor of the Main Building. For meeting agendas and dates, click here.

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