Press release: GRCC Awarded $700,000 grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Pathways to Success Program to Help Vulnerable Families with Education and Employment


Leah Nixon
Director of Communications

GRCC Awarded $700,000 grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Pathways to Success Program to Help Vulnerable Families with Education and Employment

May 14, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College will expand its successful Pathways to Success program with a $700,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation that will allow additional families who are in need of post-secondary educational and employment services to find gainful employment.

The project is expected to build career networks and empower adults to move along career pathways to a sustainable wage in healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, green jobs and information technology.

“Programs like these, that empower those living and working in our community through access to education and community resources, are so essential to growing our local and state economy” said GRCC President Dr. Steven C. Ender. “I am very proud of the work of my colleagues who developed and grew Pathways to Success, and who secured this grant.”

The Pathways to Success program will target families in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming who have low-incomes, poor educational attainment, are single parents and have no or low employment. Challenges such as gender and racial barriers, and criminal backgrounds are also considered.
 “The program will be based on our nationally recognized Pathways Out of Poverty job training model that provides comprehensive intake, assessment, coaching, education and placement techniques proven to increase the number of jobs obtained by low-skilled residents,” said Julie Parks, director of Workforce Training at GRCC.

Participants also will receive support services from a number of area partner organizations, including Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids, Literacy Center of West Michigan, Women’s Resource Center, Urban League of Greater Grand Rapids, and Area Community Services Employment and Training, among others.

According to the U.S. Census American Community Survey, between 2008 and 2010 an average of 24 percent of families, and 47 percent of children with single mothers, lived in poverty in the three target cities. This data also shows a large disparity in those cities between the educational attainment of families and their economic status – poverty was highest for those with the lowest educational attainment. For example:
- 27 percent of those who are not high school graduates live in poverty
- 15 percent who are high school/GED graduates have incomes below poverty levels
- 12 percent of those with some college or associate degrees are considered to be living in poverty.

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.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit