GRCC’s Tassell M-TEC Celebrates 10 Years - Workforce Training Facility Has Served More than 365,000 Students, Visitors, Local Businesses, and Event Participants

Grand Rapids Community College’s Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC (Michigan Technical Education Center) was dedicated to the Grand Rapids community ten years ago this month, and a community celebration is being planned to commemorate its success and contributions to West Michigan.

“The M-TEC was the result of local businesses demanding higher skilled workers, and ten years later, that demand continues,” said Fiona Hert, Dean of the School of Workforce Development.   ‘We are very pleased with our success and growth and we intend to keep training the local workforce for today’s job market.”

According to GRCC officials, this year also marks the 40th anniversary of the college’s Job Training Program.  “Forty years ago, Job Training was developed to create an alternative learning option for non-traditional college students that prepared them for work in a short period of time,” said George Waite, Director of the Tassell M-TEC.  According to Waite, GRCC’s Job Training Program has served more than 14,000 students, supplying area employers with qualified, highly-skilled workers to fill their employment needs.

GRCC officials are inviting the public to a community-wide open house being held on Tuesday, August 21 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  The event will include refreshments, snacks and tours of the facility.  The event is free and open to the public.

The Tassell M-TEC, located in downtown Grand Rapids, was built to support workforce training in West Michigan.  The 90,000 square-foot, $13.3 million M-TEC provides hands-on technical training in manufacturing, including a world-class metal forming and welding training facility; automobile repair through its 23-bay Automotive Service training facility; and in the construction trades, which today includes building LEED-Certified homes. 

MichCon/DTE donated the 17-acre lot the facility is built on, and seed money from the then Michigan Economic Development Corporation, matching GRCC funds and private donations through a capital campaign helped fund the project.  The lead donor was the late Leslie E. Tassell who had a vision for creating career pathways for individuals who have a passion to learn and work hard. 

“My father (Les Tassell) was a firm believer in people and the need to invest in training, not just so that they can provide for their families, but so that our local employers can have the skilled workers they need to stay globally competitive.,” said Joyce Wisner, president of the Tassell-Wisner-Bottrall Foundation.  “My dad would be so proud of the beautiful job that is done every day at ‘Tassell Tech.’  We have been working with the College and M-TEC staff for over 10 years, and are reminded each time we’re there of the importance of providing excellent training in excellent facilities.”

Today the Tassell M-TEC is one of 18 such facilities in Michigan, and one of the largest and most successful.

“It really is a community partnership and vision that made the M-TEC a reality for our students and our West Michigan community,” said Hert.  “This ten-year anniversary is a special occasion and we hope the community will join us in celebrating.”

In addition to GRCC officials, funding partners – including the Tassell Family and representatives from the Tassell-Wisner-Bottrall Foundation – will join local employers and students from throughout the community at Tuesday’s event. 

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.