By Sean Chase
For many years, Grand Rapids Community College has focused on educating and sending talent back into the communities they serve. This hasn’t gone unnoticed especially at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Earlier this week it was announced that the W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded the Workforce Training Program at GRCC a three-year, $1,050,344 grant for the Equitable Empowerment Through Career Pathways program. This grant will be used by the college to connect people in underserved communities to career opportunities that will improve the city of Grand Rapids.
“This grant will help GRCC and our partners tear down barriers to success and provide life-changing opportunities for people to prepare for in-demand careers,” stated GRCC President Bill Pink, in a press release.
Diversity is important on the campus of GRCC. With these values in mind, administrators will work to develop specialized training that will improve the Michigan workforce by consulting with local governments, employers and community partners.
“We know the value of a strong, diverse workforce, as the Kellogg Foundation has shown through study after study,” stated Pink. “It makes good sense to use this funding to support such efforts. It will help our communities that are experiencing disparities, as well as our companies who continue to experience talent deficits.”
The Michigan Department of Transportation is one of the partners who have joined in the efforts to restore our infrastructure. As well as, the road commissions of Kent and Van Buren counties, the public works departments for the cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Grand Haven, and private contractors Rowe Professional Services and Prein & Newhof.
“The work of this grant is crucial to tackling the racial and economic disparities we see for families here in Grand Rapids,” stated W.K. Kellogg Foundation Program Officer Tracie Coffman, in a press release. “Grand Rapids Community College does such important work in our community and we look forward to strengthening our partnership over the next three years.”
The grant will focus on helping students learn skills in construction, water infrastructure and recreation. It will also be used to strengthen the Public Works Academy at GRCC, which offers programs for wastewater management, electrical and the National Green Infrastructure certification. These skills are especially important in our community, as efforts to restore portions of the Grand River begin. Students enrolled in the program are guaranteed to receive a minimum of two job interviews upon successful completion.
GRCC has scheduled Virtual Information sessions to provide students with information regarding the Public Works Academy on Jan. 11 and 12, running from noon to 1 p.m., which you can register for via this link. If you have other questions regarding the program, Leslie M. Tassell M-TEC and the team are available at 616-234-3800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.