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Workforce Wednesday: Derek Winbush Jr. gains on-the-job training in Residential Construction

Sept. 15, 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.

Derek Winbush Jr. was in charge of food inventory/warehouse in a cold storage facility for many years prior to COVID-19. During the pandemic, he had a lot of time to think about what he wants for his future.

“I saw the Future for Frontliners program and looked into the opportunity,” he said. “I talked to a counselor about the construction programs and felt like the Residential Construction program would be a good fit.”

GRCC offers two 18-week Job Training Certificate programs in the fields of Construction; Residential Construction, and Construction Electrical.

The Residential Construction program takes place at a construction site, where students build a new home. Students get hands-on learning and application about the entire process of residential building including blueprint reading, site layout, concrete, carpentry, door and window installation, roofing, siding, and interior finishing.

Graduates are qualified for employment in the residential construction industry. The program focuses on constructing homes that achieve a 5-Star Energy rating, are Michigan Green Built, and LEED Certified.

“Right when I started this class, the instructor Kyle Lackscheide, asked me what do I really want to get out of this program?” Winbush said. “I told him that I have a knack for running heavy equipment. I helped out at my old job running heavy equipment but I needed to learn construction basics if I want to really get into that area of construction. He is helping me make the connections I need to get into the career I want.”

Winbush said Lackscheide “is like my big brother. He tells it to me straight and that is how I need it. I love watching this house take form.”

“Another bonus is that I live within walking distance from this house we are building! I just walk over. My son, who is six years old, just started kindergarten – I drive him past the jobsite and show him what I’m doing. I just love being a dad! I’m exciting to teach him all that I am learning here.”

GRCC offers other industry certifications including; Carpentry Certification 1, Commercial Construction, Lead Abatement Training, and the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program.

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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