June 1, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Young adults overcoming challenges will be able to gain job skills, educational opportunities and employment counseling at Grand Rapids Community College through a $1.18 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
GRCC is one of 20 colleges in the nation and one of two in Michigan selected for the new Job Corps Scholars Program, which will serve people between the ages of 16 and 24.
The college will provide the services during a 12-month career technical training program, which will be followed by up to a year of employment counseling to help participants find good jobs.
“GRCC will play an essential role in West Michigan emerging from the coronavirus crisis,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “Our economy will be strongest when everyone has opportunities to contribute and succeed. I’m proud this program will help people overcome obstacles and gain skills that can lead to rewarding careers, but also can transform their lives.”
GRCC will work with community partners to identify about 80 potential students, including those who have faced numerous obstacles to success, including homelessness. Staff members will plan an intensive, holistic approach to providing comprehensive services, building on each student’s unique strengths and experiences.
Students will gain in-demand skills, and will work with GRCC partners to learn through employer panels, site visits, networking opportunities, and mock interviews with feedback to help them gain good jobs.
“Our goal is to help people prepare for careers, but also for them to have resources and skills to be successful long after graduation,” said Julie Parks, GRCC’s executive director of Workforce Training. “We have tremendous partners among West Michigan employers and community groups, and we appreciate the support and confidence of the U.S. Department of Labor to make this happen.”
The college will help students with academics in addition to career training. GRCC’s intensive Fast Track program is a three-week learning lab to boost math and reading skills.
The Jobs Corps Scholars Program is supported by the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 with a goal of strengthening the connection between workforce development and education. This demonstration project will also provide the Labor Department with insight into ways to improve the effectiveness of the Job Corps program.
"As we look towards defeating coronavirus and reopening our economy, the Job Corps Scholars Program provides an innovative way to prepare at-risk youth for participation in the job market," U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said. "Combining job training, classroom education, and employment counseling will give participating young adults an opportunity to excel."
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.