Contractors create internships for GRCC students



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213

Feb. 12, 2015 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Contractors involved in Grand Rapids Community College’s $15 million campus-wide renovation project are building work experiences for students while creating new learning spaces.

Gov. Rick Snyder has declared that February is Cooperative Education and Internship Month, and more than 400 students can attest to the importance of the internships and co-op opportunities that GRCC provides. This past year, GRCC asked companies involved in the recent capital bond issue to help create on-the-job experiences for students.

C2AE was the first company to respond to GRCC’s request. C2AE principal Dennis Bekken, a Kalamazoo Valley Community College alumnus, said he welcomed the opportunity to help GRCC students gain workplace experience.

“Community college was a great avenue to a degree because I was able to fill my general education requirements in an affordable way,” he said of his time at KVCC. “I wasn’t able financially to attend U of M for six years, which is what an architecture degree requires.”

C2AE’s second GRCC intern, Mauricio Urtubia, started last month.

“I am so excited to have the opportunity to have an internship at C2AE,” said Urtubia, a native of Chile who graduates from GRCC this spring. "This company has an outstanding reputation in the architecture industry and firmly believes a good design and great planning can make a huge difference to the community.

“My colleagues are very patient and willing to help every time I have a question. Right now, they have me working at creating detail components for their Revit library — I have about two weeks’ worth of work just doing that!”

“Real world” experiences like Urtubia’s are important to both students and employers, said Susan Lichtenberg, GRCC’s internship coordinator.

“Internships are becoming increasingly important as our community evaluates workforce and talent demand needs,” she said. “Employers tell us they value internships as a way to develop a pipeline of talent for the future. Students appreciate being able to apply their classroom learning to real-life situations.”

To learn more about internships in GRCC’s School of Workforce Development, click here. If you are an employer and are interested in setting up an internship, click here.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.