Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II tours GRCC, says community colleges play 'important role in preparing workforce for today and tomorrow'

Feb. 25, 2019 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II toured Grand Rapids Community College’s Wisner Bottrall Applied Technology Center on Monday, speaking with students and faculty about education leading to careers in the culinary arts.

Gilchrist and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are visiting colleges across the state on a “Home for Opportunity” tour, focusing on the variety of educational pathways to help more Michiganders earn degrees and credentials.

Whitmer visited GRCC’s Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC on Feb. 13, her first visit to a community college as governor. It was the day after her first State of the State address, where she recognized the vital role community colleges play in providing opportunities for credits for degrees or to transfer to four-year institutions and specialized training for in-demand jobs for people of all ages.

Gilchrest, joined on the tour Monday by state Rep. Rachel Hood, said “community colleges play an important role in preparing our workforce for today and tomorrow.”

“It’s really great to see the rich diversity of programs,” he said. “This culinary institute is a beautiful thing. I saw young people, I saw older students who are really hungry – no pun intended – to grow their skill sets and really be able to plug that back into the workforce in this area and in the broader community.”

Whitmer has said many of the jobs going unfilled in Michigan require postsecondary training, including degrees or certifications, and many people already in the workforce will need to gain additional skills to advance. She set a goal of increasing the number of Michiganders with postsecondary credentials from 44 percent to 60 percent by 2030.

Gilchrist toured the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education’s kitchen, brewery and commercial baking classrooms, meeting Program Director Werner Absenger, chefs Gilles Renusson, Wil Barajas, and Sasha Ahmed and brewmaster Jacob Brenner.

The internationally known Secchia Institute is one of the nation’s top 20 culinary programs and has been consistently awarded American Culinary Federation accreditation with exemplary status since its inception more than 30 years ago.

Students receive intensive practical training in all aspects of food preparation and presentation, and are prepared to step into any culinary venue. Graduates are prepared to accept jobs as cooks and chefs in fine restaurants, hotels, motels, resorts, and institutions.

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.

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