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Board Approves GRCC-LG Chem $19 Million Jobs Training Agreement

Monday January 24 2011 - Grand Rapids, MI - The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees on Monday approved a Michigan New Jobs Training Program Agreement between the College’s Office of Economic Development and Training Solutions and LG Chem, one of the largest lithium ion battery cell makers.

“This partnership represents our largest Michigan New Jobs project to date, and confirms the important role we continue to play in training West Michigan’s workforce,” said GRCC president Steven Ender, in addressing the GRCC trustees and those in attendance.  “Our agreement with LG Chem demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the manufacturing and business communities: GRCC is here to help prepare workers for these types of highly specialized jobs.”

The full amount of this agreement is $19,630,500.00 and is expected to be finalized in 20 years.  “One of the benefits of the MNJTP is that funding is tied to true new job creation in the State of Michigan; it’s a solid investment on our part, and for all of West Michigan” said Ender.  “I commend our Economic Development and Training Solutions staff for their diligence and efforts in making this happen.”

LG Chem broke ground for its manufacturing facility in July 2010, and expects to be fully operational in 2012.  Initially, the plant will make cells for the highly-anticipated General Motors Chevrolet Volt.  Between 300-400 jobs are estimated to be created by 2013, with a total of over 3,000 over the 20-year grant period.  Employees will be hired by LG Chem and some will be trained in advance of the plant being operational.

As part of the agreement, GRCC faculty and staff will have the opportunity to work and design training with industry experts to meet the needs of the Advanced Energy Storage Industry.  

“We’re working diligently to have everything in place to begin training for LG Chem for these specialized positions,” said Mary Hofstra, GRCC’s Senior Program Manager in workforce training.

"This is an exciting opportunity, and a milestone for West Michigan – we’re thrilled to be a big part of it,” said Julie Parks, GRCC’s Director, Workforce Training.

This is the sixth Michigan new jobs agreement approved by the Board of Trustees for companies located in Kent and Ottawa counties involving over 4,700 new jobs to the region.  GRCC is a state-wide leader in the number of new job agreements.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 32,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. The Training Solutions department trained over 8,100 students in specialized training programs in 2009-10. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.  

LG Chem, Ltd. is Korea's largest chemical and rechargeable battery maker in terms of both size and performance. The company's chemical business is vertically integrated and manufactures a wide range of products, from petrochemical goods to high-value added plastics. It also extends its chemical expertise into high-tech areas such as rechargeable batteries and the display materials field, and is now a leading player in the advanced battery industry for electric vehicle, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and hybrid electric vehicle applications.  For more information, visit www.lgchem.com.