Press release: GRCC job training awarded $75,000 grant

Kathy Mullins
Executive Deputy to the President and Board Liaison

April 1, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Michigan Center for Student Success has awarded a $75,000 Michigan Pathways to Credentials grant to Grand Rapids Community College’s Job Training program.  

The grant will be spread over a two-year period, and will increase the GRCC Job Training department’s support of adult learners by helping them find sustainable employment and continuing their education through job training and credential building. The support provided by Job Training will include advising, counseling, skills assessment, tutoring, employability skills, and job placement assistance.

A recent report, a joint effort of Breaking Through, Jobs for the Future, and the Michigan Center for Student Success, praised GRCC for “scaling up” its workforce development programs – taking small successful programs and expanding them to serve a larger population of students – calling this achievement the “holy grail of education reform.” That report also noted that GRCC’s programs are a true collaboration, with faculty members from the credit and noncredit programs working together to help students achieve their goals.

“Grand Rapids Community College has been involved with Job Training programs for over 40 years,” said Scott Mattson, Job Training Program Manager.  “These programs allow the college to address West Michigan’s employer needs by providing a highly-skilled and qualified workforce.  The Michigan Pathways to Credentials grant will support our efforts to increase the credentials and employability of our workforce.”

Of the 275 students enrolled last year, 67% have progressed through their training program to earn a Certificate of Completion, and are now in the workforce, furthering their education or seeking employment. With the support of the Michigan Pathways to Credentials grant, Mattson foresees a significant increase in the number of highly skilled and credentialed candidates entering the West Michigan workforce in the upcoming two years.

The Kresge Foundation provided the funding for the Pathways to Credentials grants, which will be administered by the Michigan Community College Association’s Michigan Center for Student Success. GRCC is one of six Michigan colleges that were selected through a competitive process overseen by a panel of state and national experts in career pathways for post-secondary education.

 “Given the economic downturn and changing job market in Michigan, it is critical that we create effective pathways for adult students who need to gain new skills and attain credentials with labor market value,” said Chris Baldwin, executive director of the Michigan Center for Student Success.

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.