Grand Rapids Community College

Founded in 1914, Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) is a public, non-residential higher education institution. The College is unique in the West Michigan region as the only higher education institution in a three-county area providing open access for all. GRCC. The School of Workforce Development (SWD) is committed to serving West Michigan through offering high quality degrees, certificates, and training for the workplace. We offer over 50 degrees and certificates that equip our students with the relevant knowledge, skills and abilities to not only exist in a job but to also perform successfully in their chosen career path. Many of these programs and courses will transfer to our partner educational institutions so you can continue your education.

Approximately 46% of GRCC students are enrolled in credit based occupational programs. Twenty-one percent of our 625 School of Workforce Development graduates from 2012-13 were enrolled this past year in four-year colleges and universities. Additionally, the School of Workforce Development serves significant segments of the workforce, i.e., over 10,000 students through job training programs, apprenticeship programs, customized training opportunities and community partnership programs.

Advanced Manufacturing

GRCC focuses on providing individuals with the skills required for success in today's and tomorrow's advanced manufacturing workplace. We work closely with manufacturing partners to ensure programs are relevant. Our classes and programs are designed to include problem-solving, critical thinking, troubleshooting and core technical skills that lead to successful careers in manufacturing. Education and training opportunities exist in welding, precision/CNC machining, mechatronics/industrial maintenance and various production offerings using our Tassell M-TEC, Thompson M-TEC and the Applied Technology Center. Unique programming opportunities like the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP); Manufacturing Readiness; Industrial Sewing; Tooling and associate degree programs. GRCC also provides career coaching/navigation and job placement services to insure students understand the many career options available to them. Individuals have the opportunity to visit manufacturing plants and interact with employers during training.

Student Success

After serving our country as a Marine, Seth Knapp worked at a job in Ohio for several years. After being laid off, Seth was unsure what to do next. His brother-in-law suggested moving back to Michigan. When Seth and his family relocated, he searched the internet for training in Machine Tool/CNC.

With help for GRCC’s veteran’s support contact, Seth began the Job Training program. After only one month of training, Seth was hired! It is important for Seth that he finish his training. He goes to school four days a week and works for his new employer two days a week until he completes his program in January.

I couldn’t be happier. I have always enjoyed working with my hands, building things. This work is very gratifying. The instruction I am receiving is excellent. I’m looking forward to a successful career and future in west Michigan.Seth Knapp, Machine Tool/CNC student

Prior to taking the Manufacturing Readiness Course (a one week program) Jonah Wooten had jobs here and there in the construction industry. He was referred to the program by Hope Network.

“The class was great. It was pretty fast paced but I learned so much about manufacturing. It really gave me the advantage I needed to get in the door of a manufacturing company”Jonah Wooten, Manufacturing Readiness student

ROL of Holland manufacturers table legs for a variety of customers. As part of the Manufacturing Readiness course, companies come to the M-TEC on the last day of class and conduct actual job interviews.

After only one week of training, Jonah received an offer for a position with ROL and is now a line leader there. Not only is he making $12/hr. but he has opportunities to grow within the company. The company has provided full benefits including tuition reimbursement. Jonah is now looking into continuing his education in Machine Tool/CNC.

GRCC's Impact

  • Over 580 employers engaged with GRCC
  • Faculty and staff who have industry experience in manufacturing
  • $26 million dollars in manufacturing new job training projects; growing jobs in west Michigan
  • Sponsor and Participate in the CareerQuest, an event to build awareness for 6th grade-12th grade students in manufacturing careers

Impact: Oct 2013 - Aug 2016

  • 625 people have participated in GRCC's training opportunities.
  • 344 participants have completed their program of study.
  • 270 participants have continued to study in their program after the initial class was completed.
  • 84 participants acquired employment after completion.
  • 303 participants have seen an increase in their wages after completion.


"We use the NCRC Workkeys Assessments in several different ways. We use it in the hiring process as well as in the promotion process as a preferred credential for advancement. We also use it for training purposes; to determine what training is needed and provided to our employees." Bonnie Mroczek, Butterball

Teacher helping younger student

"After talking with Joe, a career coach, I became very interested in the Machine Tool/CNC Job Training Program. After completing my program, I was immediately hired as a machinist at Laser Access. It has been great to learn even more while working there. I now make a good living and have potential to increase my income." Don Flores, Job Training Graduate, Machinist, Laser Access

Young man working with drill press

"This program was great for me. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I had worked several different types of jobs but I really wanted a career that can take me places. I am looking forward to doing some traveling in my new job and eventually I want to get some training in underwater welding. That can take me all over the world!"Alec Haas, Welding Job Training graduate

Career Pathways