Published in Manufacturing

GRCC program aims to train hundreds of people for Industry 4.0

BY Sunday, January 16, 2022 06:30pm

Grand Rapids Community College and workforce development organization West Michigan Works! have launched a program aiming to make big strides in preparing participants for the future of manufacturing.

In early 2021, GRCC announced that it was a recipient of a $9.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to create the One Workforce for West Michigan Manufacturing Project. The school was just one of 19 organizations in the country to receive grant funds.


The program — which is being steered by a coalition of employers, workforce development organizations, educators and community groups — targets members of underserved populations and provides them with modern manufacturing skills training.

“About 80 to 90 percent of the training is hands-on,” said Dennis Triggs, project manager for One Workforce. “So, when they get out into the workforce, it’s not like an employer is hiring someone that just studied a lot of theory. They’re getting someone who has put practical time in, with hands-on training. They walk into a job with about six months of on-the-job training already.”

Training with Industry 4.0 technology is a major focus for the program. In fact, Triggs said a lab under development will be devoted to training in automation and artificial intelligence. He expects the lab to be up and running by February 2023.

Employers including Autocam Medical Devices LLC, JR Automation Technologies LLC, LG Chem, and GE Aviation have partnered with the program. Triggs said involvement from the private sector is pivotal in updating and adding relevant programming.

“It’s extremely important to have our partners in the private sector on board,” Triggs said. “They’re the ones we’re training people to work for. … If we learned anything from COVID, it was that you have to be able to be flexible and be able to adjust to all situations, and one of these situations is the lack of qualified, trained people in these fields.”

GRCC seeks to enroll 1,600 people in the program by 2024.

Read 3111 times Last modified on Friday, 14 January 2022 15:09