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GRCC hosts open houses in Spanish and English

July 2, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College is reaching out to bilingual students and their families with a day of workshops and resources that will help them take the first step to a new future.

The college is hosting bilingual open houses 3-5 p.m. July 16, and 6-8 p.m. July 18 at the Wisner Bottrall ATC – located at Fountain Street and Ransom Avenue. Participants can park free in the GRCC Bostwick parking ramp.

Workshops in both Spanish and English will cover the enrollment process, financial aid and GRCC’s academic and transfer programs. While GRCC courses are taught in English, the college offers bilingual support services designed to help students get the degree or certificate they need.

“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2010 the number of Hispanic and Latino individuals in Michigan has increased by 34.7 percent. It is our goal to raise awareness of higher education options and encourage communication between the Hispanic/Latino community in West Michigan and our bilingual staff,” says Enrollment Center Support Professional Francisco Ramirez.

GRCC wants to reach out to students like Azusena Nevarez, a West Ottawa High school graduate who is the first in her family to graduate high school and attend college. "As a child I moved around a lot and can remember attending about six different elementary schools,” says Nevarez. “Everyone at home knew only Spanish, so it was harder for me to learn English. Over the years I have had many challenging experiences. I’ve learned that an education will be one of my strongest tools in life.

“GRCC fits me best because it is close to home, tuition is not ridiculously high, there are many locations where I can pick my classes, and there are many degrees and transfer programs. My plan is to transfer to Grand Valley State University in the winter, earn my bachelor’s in social work and go to Western Michigan University for my master’s right away.”

The open houses are an opportunity to learn about GRCC’s college success center; academic counseling and tutoring services; associate degree, certificate and job training programs; and GED and ESL programs — all at one time and in one location. Refreshments will be provided.

“Upon attending this event prospective students and their families will, gain a better understanding of the steps to becoming a student and strategies to pay for an affordable education at GRCC. Families will learn about different career pathways, educational options and academic programs available to them,” says Adult Enrollment and Outreach Coordinator Angela Salinas.

Reservations may be made at grcc.edu/prepare or by calling 616-234-2217 and leaving a message. Though reservations are preferred, the events are open to everyone.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 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 locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.