By Madison Rose
With the help of a $9.8 million federal grant, Grand Rapids Community College and West Michigan Works! will lead the One Workforce for West Michigan manufacturing project, a program designed to teach underserved communities valuable and in-demand manufacturing skills, with a specific focus on automation and artificial intelligence.
The One Workforce for West Michigan project will help underemployed individuals gain marketable skills to enter into the manufacturing workforce, a move that will benefit the region as a whole. The program will target individuals that have low income, face language barriers and lack foundational skills.
“This coalition will not only provide much-needed skilled talent to our employers, but much-needed resources to some of our residents being left behind,” said Jacob Maas, West Michigan Works! CEO in a press release.
In an email, David Murray, communications director of Grand Rapids Community College said, “The partners are involved in a variety of ways. The community partners will help identify potential students and help them prepare for the training. The employer partners will provide hands-on training in their fields. These are outstanding opportunities for people who have faced obstacles to success to take advantage of the expertise from the partners and prepare for rewarding, long-term careers.”
GRCC and Michigan Works! Are the leaders of the project, which will include employer partners: Autocam-Medical, Scherdel Sales & Technology, GE Aviation, JR Automation, LG Chem, Magna, Howmet, Aggressive Tooling, Steeplechase Tool & Die, Montcalm and Muskegon community colleges, Discover Manufacturing Sector Group, and the Agribusiness Talent Council. This also includes community agencies: Grand Rapids Urban League, West Michigan Hispanic Center, and Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids.