GRCC and GRPS Announce New Degree Completion Program

Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Rapids Public Schools announced today that they have teamed up on a plan to give teens who have dropped out of school a second chance to complete high school and start college at the same time.

GRCC President Steven C. Ender, who led a press conference with GRPS Superintendent Bernard Taylor at GRCC’s Wealthy Street Learning Corner, where the classes will be held said, ”This is a program specially designed to re-engage students who have had an interruption in their pursuit of a high school diploma.  We are going to seek out students who have left traditional high schools settings and may benefit from a collegiate environment that meets their educational, social and emotional needs.”

“But I want to be absolutely clear about this: the students we will be serving will be viewed and treated, not as high school drop-outs, but as future college students,” Ender said.

“This is another example of a partnership opportunity that can benefit students and the community,” said Taylor. “It is an excellent opportunity for students that have been out of school to return.”

Potential students must have attained a sophomore standing in high school before they left, be between the ages of 16 and 19 and read at an eighth grade level.

The program capacity is 148 students with classes being held at GRCC’s Learning Corner, 1154 Wealthy SE, which has college classrooms, but is purposely situated in a neighborhood to appeal to people who may not feel comfortable going to a college campus.

As the start date of September 6 approaches, GRCC staff is working closely with GRPS teachers and staff by providing professional development so that they become more familiar with strategies that build college readiness.

“Another important first step we are taking is providing a career coach to help the students identify a career path, to help them deal with barriers to success and to transition smoothly to college,” said Taylor.

Interested individuals can call 616-819-3798 or  616-819-2150 for more information or to enroll.  

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.  Information at  

Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) is Michigan’s third largest public school district and the second largest employer in the City of Grand Rapids, serving more than 19,000 students with 3,500 employees, including 1,600 dedicated teachers. The School of Health, Science and Technology locates at Central High School campus is the region’s premier specialty high school focused on preparing students for college and career pathways in the wide-ranging health care industry. Located just a few blocks from “Medical Mile,” HST is partnered with some of the top health care institutions, medical providers, and colleges/universities in the area. For more information please visit