GRAND RAPIDS – Grand Rapids Community College has been awarded a $140,000 grant to participate in a national effort to expand registered apprenticeship opportunities, helping students gain a quality education in addition to on-the-job training in a rewarding career. 

GRCC is one of 80 colleges selected for the Expanding Community College Apprenticeship Initiative, led by the American Association of Community Colleges in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor. Each college is expected to train 150 apprentices over the next three years. 

“Registered apprenticeship programs are life-changing for our students, helping them gain an education and skills with little or no tuition debt,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “We appreciate the grant, allowing us to provide more opportunities to more West Michigan residents.”

GRCC will use the grant to expand its Manufacturing, Construction Electrician and Medical Assistant registered apprenticeship programs:

·         The Manufacturing registered apprenticeship program offers a combination of on-the-job training and classroom work in tooling and manufacturing, plastics, quality science, and welding. GRCC currently works with 432 companies, with more than 340 students completing apprenticeship certificates.

·         The Construction Electrician program has been offered for 21 years. GRCC partners with 120 companies, with 400 students completing their apprenticeships.

·         The Medical Assistant program launched in 2016 to address a critical talent shortage. It was the first accredited Medical Assistant program and was recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as a Promising Practice in 2017.

“Registered Apprenticeship programs are great opportunities for students, but also for our employer partners,” said Julie Parks, GRCC’s executive director of Workforce Training. “We work closely with West Michigan employers to learn which skills are in great demand. Apprenticeships are an effective way to build a talented workforce and make our local economy stronger.”

The college will recruit new companies and increase outreach in area high schools to raise awareness about the opportunities.