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GRCC named a ‘Most Promising Place to Work' for commitment to diversity

May 4, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Community College is one of 16 in the nation named a 2020 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development and the publication Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

The annual award recognizes commitments to diversity through best-in-class student and staff recruitment and retention practices, inclusive learning and working environments, and meaningful community service and engagement opportunities. This is the first time GRCC has received the honor.

“Achieving equity is a strategic goal at GRCC and an important focus of all aspects of our work,” President Bill Pink said. “Addressing disparities in education and the workforce is essential for us to serve our students and our community as a whole. We are still a work in progress, and have much more to do, but we are honored by this recognition.”

Pink reframed an existing position in 2018 to create the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and charged it with developing a strategy championing equity and inclusion as an essential means to foster student success, employee wellbeing, and community vibrancy and growth.

A core focus of the ODEI unit is to identify, unearth, acknowledge, and address exclusionary institutional practices that impede building a sense of belonging and access for any member of GRCC’s community.

Changes include GRCC’s Office of Human Resources moving to align hiring practices with a project called HireReach, a collaboration between West Michigan Works! and Talent 2025. As part of this work, GRCC is shifting to an evidenced-based selection process model to reduce unconscious bias in the recruitment and hiring process

“The ‘all-hands-on-deck’ philosophy is paramount to advancing diversity and social justice,” said Dr. B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, GRCC’s chief equity and inclusion officer. “I am thrilled to be a part of an institution that cultivates cross-department partnerships to meet equity goals.”

The award is determined using a national study employing a web-based survey approach to obtain information from NISOD member institutions.

NISOD is a national organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges. It is based at the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education.

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education is a biweekly publication covering issues pertaining to underrepresented minorities in American higher education.

“We are proud to honor these colleges for their sustained commitment to diversity,” NISOD Executive Director Edward J. Leach said. “We are also pleased about the large number of applications this year. It shows that a growing number of colleges appreciate how critical diversity and inclusion initiatives are to their campuses and communities.”

Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.