Julie Parks is GRCC’s Executive Director of Workforce Training, and the GRCC Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC overseeing multiple programs that last year touched the lives of more than 20,000 people. She is intensely focused on helping people gain in-demand skills for rewarding careers.
Parks is an advocate for the underserved and under skilled in the West Michigan community and she has been instrumental in bringing over $50 million in grants to the Tassell M-TEC since 2010, with much of these resources used to offset training costs to students who may not otherwise be able to attend training.
Parks has a passion for education and works to bring employers into the development stage to build training curriculum to meet the needs of business and industry. She listens to the needs of the more than 435 West Michigan employers and stakeholders Workforce Training works with annually. In response, Workforce Training launched more than 10 pilot training programs and continuously develops new ones.
Parks has more than 15 years of experience in workforce development and curriculum development. Before starting with GRCC in 2005, she was a financial specialist for Western Michigan University and assistant to the director of Michigan State University’s Institute for Children, Youth and Families. Parks also worked for Meijer, Inc. in the company’s distribution center as inventory control manager and in Meijer stores as a department manager.
She is recognized as a leader on campus, in the community, and nationally. Recent honors include the 2019 Bellwether Award Finalist for Public Works Academy, the 2019 Innovation of the Year from the League of Innovation for the Sterile Processing Technician Apprenticeship Program, the 2018 and 2019 Impact Award Recipient from West Michigan Works!, the 2018 Community Partner of the Year from Connect Explore Achieve with Career Readiness, and the 2017 Special Project Award from the Michigan Association of Continuing Education & Training for ESL/CNC Precision Machining Pilot Program. She also received the GRCC Employee Excellence Award in 2010.
Parks earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and history from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University in Education, focusing on training and development.