GRCC awarded $1 million grant to build diverse workforce

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The grant will help students develop construction skills and other skills that will provide career opportunities related to water, water infrastructure, recreation and the variety of projects that are expected to arise from the efforts to restore portions of the Grand River. Courtesy Grand Rapids Community College

Grand Rapids Community College Workforce Training Department was awarded a three-year, $1,050,344 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support its Equitable Empowerment Through Career Pathways program.

“This grant will help GRCC and our partners tear down barriers to success and provide life-changing opportunities for people to prepare for in-demand careers,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “We know the value of a strong, diverse workforce, as the Kellogg Foundation has shown through study after study. It makes good sense to use this funding to support such efforts. It will help our communities that are experiencing disparities, as well as our companies who continue to experience talent deficits.”

The grant will help students develop construction skills and other skills that will provide career opportunities related to water, water infrastructure, recreation and the variety of projects that are expected to arise from the efforts to restore portions of the Grand River.

The grant also will support the college’s Public Works Academy, which will offer skills in electrical, wastewater treatment, National Green Infrastructure certification and other areas determined by municipalities.

GRCC will partner with public works departments for the cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Grand Haven; road commissions for Kent and Van Buren counties; the Michigan Department of Transportation; and contractors Prein&Newhof and Rowe Professional Services.

“The work of this grant is crucial to tackling the racial and economic disparities we see for families here in Grand Rapids,” said Tracie Coffman, W.K. Kellogg Foundation program officer. “Grand Rapids Community College does such important work in our community, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership over the next three years.”

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