GRCC, OAISD celebrate 15-year anniversary of Thompson M-TEC partnership



Michelle Ready, OAISD
Director of Communications/Marketing
(616) 738-8940, ext. 4093

Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213

Oct. 9, 2015 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Grand Rapids Community College and the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District are celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Patrick A. Thompson M-TEC facility, an embodiment of the flourishing partnership between the two institutions.

Thompson M-TEC was Michigan's second technology education center when it opened in 2000 at 6364 136th Ave. in Olive Township. It was named for Patrick Thompson, founder of Trans-Matic Manufacturing Co.

GRCC and OAISD planned the facility to meet a regional need for training in the skilled trades. Their vision was supported in both funding and time from many area business leaders, Ottawa County Michigan Works, the Holland/Zeeland Community Foundation, and the GRCC Foundation. All together, they contributed $1.2 million, with the state providing $3 million in funding.

An anniversary event to recognize Thompson M-TEC’s founding partners and donors is scheduled from 4-6 p.m. Oct. 15. Members of the media are invited to attend. Facility tours will take place from 4-5 p.m. with a recognition program to follow. For questions or to RSVP contact Janice Winters at (616) 738-8935, extension 4242 or

GRCC President Dr. Steven C. Ender said the Thompson M-TEC has played a key role in the college's growth.

"We have been partners with the OAISD since 1992, and that bond has only strengthened since the Thompson M-TEC's opening," he said. "Not only does the OAISD provide crucial support in the day-to-day business of running a college, they work with our staff to make sure our programs continue to meet the needs of lakeshore employers and residents."

During the 2014-15 academic year, the GRCC Lakeshore campus served 2,372 students in Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Applied Arts and Sciences in the following programs of study: welding, tooling and manufacturing, industrial technology, business management, management and supervision, and industrial maintenance technology. In addition, GRCC partners with 35 Ottawa County programs in apprenticeship programs and has partnered with six area businesses with the Michigan New Jobs Training Program.

The OAISD Thompson M-TEC corporate and non-corporate programs served 3,970 students in 2014-15 in Manufacturing: CNC, Machining, Welding and Robotics. In Health Sciences: Certified Nurse Assistant, Dental Assisting and Radiology, Medical Office. In Office and Technology: QuickBooks, Microsoft Office Suite, and Web Design. In Commercial and Residential Skilled Trades: Electrical, HVAC-R, Plumbing and Property Maintenance. In the same year they also provided 2,491 assessments including, Electrical Skills Assessment and Mechanical Skills Assessment through Scientific Management Techniques, Inc., WorkKeys - National Career Readiness, Pearson VUE, Microsoft Office, and the National Healthcare Association.

"We are pleased to celebrate the anniversary of this model partnership that collaboratively serves the development needs of the communities we serve," said OAISD Superintendent Peter Haines. "That partnership is greatly enhanced by the relationships we are able to nurture by listening to employer needs and tailoring our services in response."

"Thompson M-TEC is a prime example of a successful public-private partnership that addresses the in-demand, skill training needs in West Michigan," said Val Putnam, OAISD assistant superintendent for career and technical education. "It has become a premier training and assessment center for adult learners seeking specialized, short-term and job-specific courses and programs - one that also serves business customers in need of customized training for their

The M-TEC's key role in West Michigan's economic development was recognized earlier this year when GRCC was awarded a $2.9 million Skilled Trades Equipment Grant. This state grant allows students in programs at both the Patrick A. Thompson M-TEC and the Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC in Grand Rapids to gain experience with state-of-the-art equipment, meeting area employers’ need for workers with sophisticated technical knowledge.

The grant funding for these upgrades was awarded through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and was supported by employers and employer organizations like Autocam, Michigan Works, and Talent 2025.

With the grant, Thompson M-TEC purchased:

  • HAAS Mini Mills
  • HAAS CNC Turning Center
  • Bridgeport Manual Mills
  • Bridgeport Manual Lathes
  • Horizontal Band Saw
  • Manual Surface Grinder
  • Drill Press Clausing
  • Drill Press Vises
  • CNC & Manual Mill Vise

Ottawa Area Intermediate School District works collaboratively with schools and communities to meet the educational needs of students of all ages in the Ottawa area. By pooling resources and providing services regionally, the OAISD provides important programs and services to local K ‐12 school districts, public school academies, and parochial schools and adults in the most cost‐effective ways possible.

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.