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GRCC receives $150,000 grant from JP Morgan Chase, set to begin training program for jobs in public works and clean energy

Grand Rapids Community College students interact, study, and head to class on a sunny day (MLive File Photo).

With a $150,000 grant from JP Morgan Chase, Grand Rapids Community College’s Workforce Training program is beginning a program in 2020 to train prospective students for jobs in water, public works, clean energy and river restoration projects.

The college is working closely on the program with the cities of Grand Rapids and Kentwood. Specifically working with the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority’s Whitewater Project team, GRCC is focused on the West Michigan Clean Water and Environmental Certifications Program.

The Whitewater Project in Grand Rapids is dedicated to restoring the low rapids in the Grand River and developing a safer, cleaner, more exciting river experience. Their work with GRCC to create an effective training program for students will focus specifically on the repair and maintenance of municipal water and wastewater systems, pipe and green infrastructure, water testing, hazardous materials removal and safety certifications.

“There are multiple trainings offered under this grant related to clean water and hazardous materials and lead removal,” Julie Parks, executive director of GRCC Workforce Training Program, told The Collegiate. “The idea is to work with the city of Grand Rapids to progress river restoration and removing lead from homes.” 

Parks said that the grant from JPMorgan Chase will “allow us to help people at very low cost to get this very valuable training.” 

According to a press release, “an employer advisory team will help GRCC develop a curriculum, which will incorporate national credentials for stormwater and green infrastructure training.” To help recruit students to the program, the Urban League of Greater Grand Rapids, among other nonprofit groups, will help connect underemployed residents.

“GRCC has strong partnerships with area municipalities’ workforce development work,” GRCC President Bill Pink said in the release. “This grant will help that collaboration grow, preparing the region for the changes planned for the Grand River, and the continued importance of prepared workforce to meet these needs.”

Call 616-234-3800 or email workforcetraining@grcc.edu to learn more about opportunities in the program.

News Editor Brianna Wetherbee contributed to this report.