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Workforce Wednesday: Brian Stauffer says Futures for Frontliners helped him with a new career pathway

Aug. 25, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – GRCC Workforce Training programs provide in-demand skills leading to rewarding careers. Each Wednesday we’ll meet students who are heading down an educational pathway and changing their lives by earning occupational certificates.

Brian Stauffer spent the last 18 years working for a franchise restaurant, supervising five locations and had planned to purchase his own franchise. Then COVID-19 changed everything.

“It become clear that the pandemic along with corporate politics were going to keep me from moving forward with my plan,” he said. “So instead of retiring in 15 years, I am starting over at 40. When I saw the Future for Frontliners opportunity I made sure to apply before I even knew what I was going to do. I needed to have as many options as possible.”

“I’m familiar with GRCC, and its trade programs have a great reputation. Welding seems like a strong foundation for my future. This certificate will definitely help me get my foot in the door.”

This program is highly regarded by employers as a top trainer in welding and fabrication. Job developers are ready to help students with the job search process. After graduating, students will be ready to begin a career as a welder, cutter or brazer – with the skills to meet the needs of local employers.

“This is only my third day and I’m welding already,” he said. “This program is definitely teaching more than just welding skills here. The way it is set up, it’s like prepping for students to go to work.”

The GRCC Job Training Welding program meets for 18 weeks for 34 hours per week. The program offers small class sizes, hands-on learning and job placement assistance. Students learn: shielded metal arc welding (arc/stick welding), gas metal arc welding (metal inert gas/wire welding), gas tungsten arc welding (heli-arc/tungsten inert gas welding), oxy-fuel welding (gas welding), cutting, brazing, blueprint reading, mathematics, metallurgy, problem solving, teamwork and communication skills.

“The facilities are great and everyone has been so helpful, empathetic, professional, caring,” Stauffer said. “My instructor is awesome!”

Instructor Nate Haney holds a Bachelor of Science in Welding Engineering Technology from Ferris State University and is an American Welding Society Certified Welding Inspector and Certified Welding Educator.

Stauffer is not sure about what his future holds but feels grateful to be moving forward. “Mentally emotionally, this program has really saved me.”

On Tuesday, Stauffer took advantage of the opportunity to thank Gov. Gretchen Whitmer personally for the Future for Frontliners program. “This program means a lot to me and my family.”

The next section of Job Training programs begins October 18, 2021.

Anyone interested in gaining career skills through GRCC Workforce Training can connect via email at, and by phone at (616) 234-3800.

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