Tag Archives: School of Workforce Development

Public Works Academy celebrates first group of graduates

Representatives from area municipalities and the American Public Works Association celebrated the graduation today of the first group of 10 students from GRCC’s Public Works Academy.

Amy Koning, dean of the School of Workforce Development, said GRCC created the seven-week academy with the help of local municipalities to give people in-demand skills. The 10 students in the pilot program have already interviewed for open positions and internships.

Rich Berning, a member of the APWA’s board of directors, addressed the graduates, saying that public works employees keep residents safe and improve their quality of life. He told the students that they will have opportunities to continually add new skills during their rewarding careers.

“Public works is out in front and behind the scenes, making sure that the streets are paved, maintained, swept and plowed — whatever the situation might be,” Berning said. “When one gets involved in public works agencies, there are many, many opportunities and many paths to promotions and self-fulfillment.”

Kris Nickens, 21, of Grand Rapids, enrolled in the academy after learning about the different skills he could learn. He said he’s sure his graduation is a first step to a career he’ll enjoy.

The academy training covered positions such as building specialist, engineering technician, equipment operator, fleet services technician, plant assistant, safety specialist, truck driver, and maintenance worker for utilities, streets, grounds and buildings. Because of a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, academy participants paid only $25.

James Hurt, Grand Rapids’ public services director, said agencies like his have been challenged to find people with the right skills to fill vacancies.

“It was not uncommon for us to have 150 people apply for our positions 10 years ago, and some positions now, we’re sometimes lucky to get 30 people to apply,” he said. “We needed to do something. How do we get people engaged in public works?”

Hurt said there are only a handful of public works academies in the country.

In addition to Grand Rapids, GRCC’s community partners on this program included public works departments for Kentwood and Grand Haven, in addition to the road commissions from Kent, Muskegon and Van Buren counties, the Michigan Department of Transportation, Prein&Newhof and Rowe Professional Services.

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GRCC In the News, 9-7-17

Michigan job growth fueled by apprenticeships

Sept. 7, 2017; Burton View

MICHIGAN – More than one-third of Michigan’s job growth will be through apprenticeships over the next five years, said United States Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, in an online post Last week, Governor Rick Snyder welcomed United States Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta to West Michigan to see how the state is connecting employers with educators and showing students the careers available to them at a young age. Michigan is a strong leader in apprenticeships, with the 8th most in the nation. Gov. Snyder and Sec. Acosta visited Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, where they are holding orientation for more than 150 new employees each week. They toured Grand Rapids Community College and Mercy Health to check out innovative job training programs. In Battle Creek, they checked out advanced manufacturing at Bleistahl and ROsler. Acosta told Snyder that he was impressed by Michigan’s leadership in job growth and its proactive approach to our future talent needs.

People and Places

Sept. 7, 2017; Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Maryann Lesert has been named the recipient of the Moondancer fellowship for 2017 at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs.

In all of her writing, the natural world and its human inhabitants are equally prominent and intertwined. From her first play, Superwoman (1998), a 90-minute warning of technologies that threaten to erase our biological sense of place, to Threshold, her current novel-in-progress about environmental activists working to stop fracking in Michigan’s state forests, Lesert’s work is equally inspired and supported by time with the natural world. Threshold grew from two years of boots-on-well-sites research on fracking in Michigan’s state forests. An excerpt from Threshold appears in Fracture, Essays, Poems and Stories about Fracking in America (Ice Cube Press, 2016). From 2012 to the present, Lesert has presented her research on the scientific, sensory and community effects of fracking in a presentation, titled Fracking in the Forest, to more than 50 academic, environmental and public audiences across the state. Lesert is a playwright, novelist and journalist who teaches creative writing at Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College.

Jayhawks volleyball team stays perfect in conference with a victory over Glen Oaks

Sept. 7, 2017; Local Sports Journal (Muskegon)

The Muskegon Community College volleyball team improved to 4-0 in conference play with a four-set victory over Glen Oaks Community College on the road on Tuesday.

… MCC will host rival Grand Rapids Community College on Thursday.

GRCC In the News, 8-31-17

Stabenow touts careers in the skilled trades during West Michigan visit

Aug. 30, 2017; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, held a  discussion Wednesday, Aug. 30, with West Michigan business, education, and labor leaders about how to better meet the ongoing challenge employers have finding enough skilled workers to fill positions.

… Grand Rapids Community College President Bill Pink said serving the community and its workforce needs is an import role of the college.

Spotlight on medical apprenticeships

Aug. 30, 2017; aacc21stcenturycenter.org (American Association of Community Colleges newsletter)

U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta on Monday joined Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) where they discussed the importance of apprenticeships before touring the colleges healthcare training facilities.

Market Musings: Adrian’s Fine Woodworking carving up unique pieces sold to shoppers from around the world

Aug. 30, 2017; therapidian.org

The Fulton Street Farmers Market is pretty true to its name. If you need meat, cheese, greens, or other assorted delicacies, you’re in the right place. However, every once in a while a different type of stand will pop up on a busy Saturday morning — a diamond in the rough, if you will. Or, in the case of Adrian Callaghan, wood in the rough.

Callaghan is the woodworking wizard behind Adrian’s Fine Woodworking, based here in Grand Rapids. After teaching woodworking at Western Michigan and part time at Grand Rapids Community College, Callaghan suffered a spinal cord injury in 2000, and uses his talents in woodworking as his rehab. He credits where he’s at now to the helping hands at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.

Betsy DeVos to speak at Michigan GOP conference

Aug. 30, 2017; The Holland Sentinel

Education secretary Betsy DeVos is returning to her home state to speak at the 32nd Biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference on Sept. 22-24 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

DeVos was last in Michigan in early August. On Aug. 1, she visited Grand Rapids with stops at the Van Andel Institute and Grand Rapids Community College, and she came to Holland on Aug. 2 to read to children at Degraaf Nature Center.

Column: Charters can help parents’ dreams come true

Aug. 31, 2017; The Detroit News

As another exciting school year begins across the state, we’re reflecting on the fact that it’s been a spring and summer of great news for the charter school world especially in Michigan. In late April, U.S. News and World Report released its highly respected rankings of the Best High Schools in America. The rankings showed that the top three high schools in Michigan were all charter schools, led by No. 1 Wellspring Preparatory High School in Grand Rapids. The top three high schools nationally were also charter schools.

… He (Ariel de la Paz-Solorza) got it at Wellspring Prep. He found a teaching staff that never gave up on him and gave him all the extra tutoring and support he needed. He took and passed three Advanced Placement classes. He was accepted at seven colleges and universities, and ended up earning a full-ride scholarship to Grand Rapids Community College. His plan is to graduate from there and then transfer to a four-year university to become a nurse.

GRCC In the News, 8-28-17

Morning News

Aug. 28, 2017; WZZM

Kamady Rudd: “It looks pretty nice out now — a beautiful way to start off the school year. We’re joined by Superintendent Weatherall Neal.”

… Weatherall Neal: “I guess going into this school year, I’m really excited for the students and staff members … We are starting middle college this year, which is awesome. Our seniors will be able to graduate with an associate degree from Grand Rapids Community College. So that’s nice — it’s free of charge, actually, to parents.”

Street Talk: The fountain of youth

Aug. 25, 2017; Grand Rapids Business Journal

… U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta joined Gov. Rick Snyder at Grand Rapids Community College last week, where they discussed the importance of apprenticeships before touring the third and fourth floors of the colleges Peter and Pat Cook Academic Hall.

Craft brewing makes its way to Michigan college campuses

Aug. 27, 2017; The Lanthorn (GVSU student newspaper)

A new trend has been brewing on college campuses around Michigan, and that trend is craft brewing.

… Western Michigan University, Michigan State University, Ferris State University and Grand Rapids Community College are just a few examples of colleges in Michigan that offer a craft brewing program.

GRCC In the News, 8-23-17

GRPD: Man jumps fence at public pool, drowns

Aug. 22, 2017; WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A 21-year-old man drowned in a closed Grand Rapids public pool Tuesday morning, police say.

… (Damon) Smith-Phillips’ father, David Smith, said his son was a Detroit native and a graduate of Osborn High School. Smith-Phillips was in Grand Rapids to attend community college and his father said he hoped to have a career in video game design.

Spotlight on medical apprenticeships

Aug. 22, 2017; Community College Daily

U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta on Monday joined Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) where they discussed the importance of apprenticeships before touring the college’s healthcare training facilities.

Gov. Snyder joined by Labor Secretary for tour of GRCC’s medical programs

Aug. 22, 2017; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta and Gov. Rick Snyder toured Grand Rapids Community College’s Cook Academic Hall Monday, Aug. 21, as part of a series of tours focused on manufacturing and medical apprenticeships, officials say.

‘A Happy End’ kicks off Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids 25th season

Aug. 22, 2017; FOX 17

Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids is getting ready to kick off another season of shows for their 25th season, opening with A Happy End.

… A Happy End will be performed at GRCC Spectrum Theatre at the following times:

Governor, U.S. Secretary of Labor visit GRCC

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta joined Gov. Rick Snyder at GRCC on Monday, where they discussed the importance of apprenticeships before touring the third and fourth floors of Cook Academic Hall. The visit comes as part of a series of tours that Snyder and Acosta are conducting focused on manufacturing and medical apprenticeships.

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GRCC In the News, 8-7-17

Change Ups: Updates planned for GRCC technology center

Aug. 4, 2017; Grand Rapids Business Journal

Grand Rapids Community College’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center will be updated and expanded, thanks in part to $6,367,250 in state funding that will cover half the cost of the $12,734,500 project. The development will focus on computer and manufacturing programs. Students completing these programs are in high demand, and so it’s important for GRCC to keep its classrooms current with the latest equipment and tools used in these industries, according to Amy Koning, dean of the School of Workforce Development.

Cascade Engineering embraces innovation

Aug. 4, 2017; Grand Rapids Business Journal

Sustainability drives innovation at Cascade Engineering, and the plastic injection molding company is constantly driven toward innovation to better serve a wide variety of industries.

… Cascade’s center for innovation is staffed with undergraduates from Grand Rapids Community College and Ferris State University in Big Rapids. There also are Ph.D.-level scientists on staff who head the formulation and understanding of the properties of plastics used.

The Public Schools Near Betsy DeVos’ Hometown Are Doing Great

Aug. 7, 2017; NPR

Betsy DeVos was back in western Michigan last week. It was her first public visit to the area where she grew up since being named education secretary. She visited a science-focused summer learning program and Grand Rapids Community College, and met privately with superintendents from across the state.

The Omelette Shoppe serving more than breakfast for Restaurant Week GR

Aug. 4, 2017; FOX 17

Restaurant Week GR is less than a week away, and for the first time a majority of the 70 restaurants participating will be serving a lunch option.

… For every meal sold, each restaurant will donate $1 to the Secchia Institute of Culinary Education Student Scholarship Fund at Grand Rapids Community College.

Nick Truesdell On His Crazy Road To Vikings Training Camp

Aug. 6, 2017; CBS Minnesota

MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) — There are great stories every year in training camp, as football players give it their best to try to earn one of the 53 spots on the roster.

… In 2011 he (Nick Truesdell) enrolled at Grand Rapids Community College, and promptly tore his ACL in the very first game, of what turned out to be Grand Rapids’ final season — they cancelled the football program at the end of the year.