GRCC, municipalities team up on Public Works Summer Camp



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213

June 22, 2017 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College has teamed up with area municipalities on a new camp that will have kids digging, building and organizing projects as a team. 

The Public Works Camp will take seventh- to ninth-graders through activities and tours of various municipalities to learn about public works careers and the vital role they play in our communities. 

Campers will see Grand Rapids' traffic control center, learning how the flux of vehicles and pedestrians is monitored and handled and will check out the views from the city's traffic cameras. They will also:

  • Build a project in the GRCC lab.
  • Take part in a water main break simulation with public works employees.
  • Tour the Grand Rapids Water Filtration facility.
  • Interact with big machines like street sweepers, dump trucks, plows and sewer equipment. 

To develop -- and run -- the new camp, GRCC has teamed up with:

  • The cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Grand Haven.
  • The road commissions in Kent, Muskegon and Van Buren counties.
  • The Michigan Department of Transportation.
  • Prein & Newhof.
  • Rowe Professional Services Co.

"This is an impressive group of community partners eager to share public works careers with students," said Julie Parks, GRCC's executive director of Workforce Training. "They will be conducting the tours, opening their facilities, showcasing careers and donating the use of their equipment."

People in public works careers make a difference in the lives of citizens, said James Hurt, public services director for the city of Grand Rapids. 

"A career in public works provides many rewarding opportunities to make a difference in the health, quality of life and well-being of our communities, from delivering high-quality drinking water to maintaining street systems, sidewalks, and parks,” he said. “In addition to earning a competitive salary and benefits with a great work-life balance, jobs in public works offer security, opportunity for advancement, professional development, a chance to work with your hands, and, in many cases, time outdoors -- without requiring a four-year college degree. "

The Public Works Camp, for students who will be entering seventh through ninth grades, will run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 17 to 20 at GRCC's Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC facility, 622 Godfrey Ave. SW. Lunch is included in the cost, which is $35 for Grand Rapids residents, $55 for Kent County residents and $70 for residents outside of Kent County. You can register online.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 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.