fbpx
Published in Manufacturing
From left: GRCC President Charles Lepper; Julie Parks, GRCC’s executive director of workforce training; U.S. Sen. Gary Peters; and U.S. Rep. Hillary Scholten at an event announcing the college’s new Center for Automation. From left: GRCC President Charles Lepper; Julie Parks, GRCC’s executive director of workforce training; U.S. Sen. Gary Peters; and U.S. Rep. Hillary Scholten at an event announcing the college’s new Center for Automation. MIBIZ STAFF PHOTO

New GRCC facility to move automation training ‘years ahead’

BY Friday, February 03, 2023 01:18pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids Community College is building a first-of-its-kind automation and robotics manufacturing training center in West Michigan, thanks to a recently secured $1 million federal grant.

GRCC officials this morning joined private-sector employers, as well as U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Hillary Scholten, to announce the $1.5 million Center for Automation. The center will be located at GRCC’s Leslie E. Tassel M-TEC in Grand Rapids and serve as a training hub for students pursuing careers in advanced manufacturing and automation.

GRCC officials say it’s the first facility of its kind in West Michigan and will train nearly 700 people at various educational levels, such as certificates or apprenticeships, in the first two years.

Officials say the facility will make strides in training the next generation of much-needed manufacturing workers in West Michigan.

“It’s really been driven by what employers are telling us they want us to have,” said Julie Parks, GRCC’s executive director of workforce training. “There will be thousands of people who are impacted by this.”

Peters was in Grand Rapids this morning to announce the $998,000 federal grant he helped secure as part of a federal spending bill signed into law late last year. The remaining funds for the $1.5 million project come from a U.S. Department of Labor grant.

“This is one of the few places, actually, in the country where you’re going to be able to get that kind of training,” Peters said while announcing the project. “This is really a big deal for Western Michigan.”

In an interview, Peters noted GRCC’s ongoing work with the private sector to try and meet employers’ needs.

“GRCC has demonstrated their ability to train folks for jobs in the community. They work closely with the business community,” Peters told MiBiz. “Given GRCC’s strong track record, it was natural that if we’re going to make a $1 million investment in next generation technology related to automation and artificial intelligence, it should be here.”

GRCC President Charles Lepper called the training lab a “perfect example of higher education, government and employers working together.”

“Lives are changed in this building,” Lepper said at today’s announcement. “It is truly a transformational opportunity for GRCC.”

The lab will be located within the manufacturing training center that already includes a metal forming and welding training facility and some robotic equipment. The federal funding will “go towards buying the robots that we need,” Parks said.

“We have a few robotic arms, but this is going to move us years ahead in what we can offer,” she said.

Read 2308 times
SUBSCRIBE TO MIBIZ TODAY FOR WEST MICHIGAN’S FINEST BUSINESS NEWS REPORTING >