December 13, 2012 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The success of Grand Rapids Community College’s Pathways to Prosperity and Career Advancement programs was highlighted in a recent report exploring the impact of a national initiative. The college plans to compete for a $75,000 Pathways to Credentials grant, to be spread over a two-year period, to expand that work.
Forging New Pathways: The Impact of the Breaking Through Initiative in Michigan looked at the efforts of GRCC and five other Michigan colleges to create pathways to post-secondary technical credentials for adults with reading and math abilities at or below the eighth-grade level. The 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.”
GRCC had a Career Advancement Program (CAP) for displaced workers even before the Breaking Through initiative was established in 2005. The college then created Pathways to Prosperity to take these efforts further, using the best practices of CAP and adding career coaching and working with local employers and community agencies to help low-skilled adults move into “green” careers.
But GRCC is already working on the next step: bringing the biggest successes of CAP and Pathways to Job Training Student Success, started last year.
“The CAP program started it, and the Pathways program went farther,” said Julie Parks, director of Workforce Training. “Now, Job Training is working to incorporate the best practices of both to create the next model.”
The report notes that GRCC’s programs are a true collaboration. Faculty members from the college’s credit and noncredit programs work together to help students achieve their goals.
GRCC hopes to further expand its efforts with assistance from the Kresge Foundation grant, which will be administered by the Michigan Community College Association.
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.