By Andrew Nemeth
Huntington Bank recently donated $50,000 to Grand Rapids Community College, the most they’ve ever donated to a community college, to give students more resources before they go to college.
The grant will be spent on developing the “Connections to College and Careers” program which will give Grand Rapids high school students a chance to see what college has to offer before they enroll as well as what is required in today’s economy to get certain jobs.
Huntington bank also hopes to strengthen the college’s connection with Grand Rapids Public Schools and better educate students before they head to college.
GRCC’s Director of Communications Dave Murray explained the importance of this event in helping students make decisions about their educational path.
“Career exploration is increasingly important for high school students to help them plan for the future, making them aware of options they’ll have and the education needed,” Murray said.
This program will be an expansion of the Cruising to College program which has already been working to connect high school students with colleges and make the transition easier for students. The grant will allow the program to expand to careers as well so students can better plan for their futures.
High school students will visit the college monthly for workshops with GRCC faculty to provide hands-on experience in areas such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as opportunities within GRCC’s Secchia Institute of Culinary Education.
Seminars held at the Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC building will teach attendees about a range of topics such as budgeting and leadership development. Each lesson includes a dinner for both students and their parents should they choose to attend.
Students who attend will also be paid a stipend that will go into a savings account, however the details surrounding this stipend, such as how much and when it will be accessible by the students, have yet to be determined.
Monthly visits from employers to the high schools will allow employers to directly connect with students to educate them about job requirements. The high schools already have connected with companies Spectrum Health, Mercy Health and Haworth to visit. Haworth is a locally based worldwide manufacturing and design company. Experts from the Secchia Institute will also visit.