In our continuing effort to find and share the best practices of educational collaborations that help skilled trades training, we feature Grand Rapids Community College and the High Schools they serve.
On Fridays, 33 Crossroads students, primarily seniors but some juniors, head over to GRCC’s Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Certificates earned could lead to various jobs and/or apprenticeships.
While the Northview program focuses on construction trade, Kentwood students are enrolled in three different programs:
- Healthcare – 12 students
- Welding – 18 students
- Construction – 16 students, primarily from Northview students
“The program goals are exposure for students to careers through hands-on activities and earning certification,’’ said Julie Parks, executive director of Workforce Training for GRCC.
“We also are packing in certifications for those who want to go into the workforce upon graduation.’’
For example, she said in healthcare students have a choice of Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), pharmacy technicians as well as CPR and First Aid.
Evan Hordyk, executive director of secondary education for Kentwood Public Schools, said the district has been increasing its focus on Career and Technical Education (CTE), particularly at Crossroads over the last three years.
“The kids are enjoying this great opportunity to get exposure and get certifications,’’ he said. “These are career options many of our students may have never thought of or thought that they could do.‘’
Hordyk said district educators are also working with the students on things such as resumes and interview skills.
He said the district has budgeted to pay $50,000 in tuition for the GRCC program but that could change based on the number of students at the conclusion.
Last year, Parks said 14 of the 16 Northview students completed the program and a total of 45 certifications were earned. She said more certifications were possible, but students missed four Fridays due to snow days.
The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) offered each Northview student at least three interviews with companies. Parks said around a half dozen decided to take construction jobs after graduation and five students are enrolled this year.
In addition to ABC, she said GRCC is grateful for the program support from Discover Manufacturing and the West Michigan Health Career Council.
“These groups let us bring students to them, offer materials or examples of projects, and come into our classrooms to talk about their fields,’’ Parks said.