In 2021, Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners removed cost as an obstacle for GRCC students of all ages

Looking back at 2021, the Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners state scholarship programs removed cost as an obstacle for students of all ages, helping them access life-changing Grand Rapids Community College programs.

The two programs have been wildly popular for West Michigan adult learners. Some students started an education they never thought was available for them. Others picked up where they left off years or even decades ago. At GRCC, 24 percent of students during the Fall 2021 semester — 3,017 out of 12,685 – were enrolled in the scholarship programs, which covers the cost of in-district tuition.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the programs are part of her “60 by 30” goal of having 60 percent of Michiganders obtaining a degree or career-focused credential by 2030.

“People are eager to get the skills, but the barrier has been the cost,” Whitmer said at GRCC’s Tassell M-TEC in August. “When we make this investment, we improve on that ability for so many people in our state.”

Michigan Reconnect provides free in-district tuition for students ages 25 and older who don’t already have a college degree. Futures for Frontliners provided the benefit to Michiganders who worked frontline jobs in essential industries during the state’s COVID-19 shutdown.

While the application period for Frontliners as closed, residents can still apply to attend GRCC through Reconnect. The Winter 2022 semester starts on Jan. 10, and there is still time to enroll. Additional information is available at, by emailing or by calling (616) 234-3366.

Here are some of the students we introduced you to during the year who are using the programs to transform their lives.

See Full Article

Here to Help: Dean Eric Mullen leads efforts to inspire and empower students to be lifelong learners

Eric mullen smiling.

Always remember, at GRCC, you are surrounded by people who want you to be successful and are ready to walk with you on your educational pathway. We are here to help!

Meet Dr. Eric Mullen. Eric is GRCC’s dean of Student Success and Retention, leading efforts to inspire and empower students to be lifelong learners and provide transformative opportunities for all learners to attain their personal, academic and career goals.

“We are here for their success,” he said. “Our unit is solely focused on how to help students develop and cultivate skills that will bring them success in the classroom and in their professional goals.”

A self-proclaimed “tech nerd,” Eric looks for innovative ways to leverage technology to connect with students, keep them informed and help them navigate their college experience.

“We help students figure out where they want to go, and who they have the potential to be, and surround them with the support to get there,” he said.

Eric’s career at GRCC demonstrates his love for helping others and his deep commitment to the transformational power of education.

“At GRCC we have the privilege and opportunity to transform lives, break cycles of inequity, and add to the vitality and health of West Michigan,” he said.

Eric has worked in higher education for more than 20 years in roles aimed at helping students thrive. At GRCC, he has worked in Student Life, Auxiliary Services, Admissions, Enrollment Management, and Financial Aid. He also served as Student Life director at Aquinas College.

Eric earned his doctorate in higher education leadership at Western Michigan University. He holds a master’s degree from Grand Valley State University and a bachelor’s degree from Aquinas.

He is recognized as a leader in the community, serving numerous roles in the American College Personnel Association’s Michigan Chapter, including as president.

He also serves as a member of the College Board’s Community College Advisory Board, and was recognized by the Grand Rapids Business Journal as a “40 Under 40” Business Leader in 2013.

Support Staff Professional Development (SSPD) Grant

The GRCC Grants Department is accepting applications for the Support Staff Professional Development (SSPD) grant program. The purpose of the award is to encourage support staff to improve their professional skills related to their GRCC assignments. Awards are for amounts up to $2,500 and the deadline is Friday, January 21, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.

The SSPD application packet and guidelines are available on the Grants Department webpage at Applications must include a supervisor’s approval form, a budget form, and budget documentation. Be sure to read and follow the application and guidelines carefully. If you have any questions, please contact Kim Squiers at Good luck!

Winter Semester Information Stations

Looking ahead, we’re excited to welcome our students back to campus for Winter 2022 and want to alleviate any challenges our students may be facing. At this time, we’re looking for volunteers to help with the Information Stations that will be set up for the first three days of the new semester (January 10, 11, 12). Sharing in the excitement of new opportunities, easing nerves, and helping students find their way is a great way to start the semester and show our students that we support them! 

A few things about info stations if you’re not familiar: 

1. There will be multiple stations: Sneden, ATC and RJF. 
2. Shifts are 2 hours long and there will be a table and chairs to accommodate 2 volunteers/station.

3. A Google document has been prepared for the occasion and has relevant information to campus services, hours, locations, even classroom schedules to help students find their way. 

If you see information from your area that is outdated, you are welcome to make changes to the document.

4. Please plan on using your GRCC-issued laptop or tablet to access the Google doc of information.

5. Hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes will be available at each station. Please wipe the table down in between volunteer shifts to keep our campus community .
Sign Up Here 

Thanks for considering, we couldn’t do this without you! 

GRCC In the News 01/03/2022

MI DNR looking for 2022 recruits for Conservation Officer Academy

12/21/21 WITL

If you have ever wanted to become a DNR conservation officer, your time is now.

… MCOLES Law Enforcement Basic Training Academy‘s are available at the following schools:

… Grand Rapids Community College

GRCC’s Jonathan Marshall adds to ‘virtual revolution’ with concerts in unusual locales

12/22/21 Local Spins

On Jan. 1, 2020, many of us rang in the new year with bright eyes and an abundance of hope for a fresh spin around the sun. Searching for deep significance in an arbitrary number, bottles popped, fireworks crackled and we sang in a chorus of celebration.

… Jonathan Marshall, guitarist of 25 years and an instructor in the Grand Rapids Community College Music Department, decided this was not the time to sit around and let his strings collect dust.

 Grand Rapids Community College already seeing higher enrollment ahead of winter 2022 semester

12/22/21 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Community College is seeing more students enrolling for classes ahead of the winter semester compared to this time last year, college officials say.

Anishinaabek Neighbors: Belinda Lin Bardwell

12/23/21 Traverse City Record-Eagle

GRAND RAPIDS — Native American students in higher education comprise about 1 percent of the U.S undergraduate population and less than 1 percent of the graduate population.

… “In high school I had a counselor tell me that I would never get in anywhere other than GRCC,” she (Belinda Lin Bardwell) said. After enrolling in a semester at Grand Rapids Community College, she cycled through years of dropping out and going to school.

How Tony Annese turned a mediocre football program into a national championship

12/23/21 The Pioneer (Big Rapids)

BIG RAPIDS – It was a matter of a few seasons for Tony Annese to show he could not only produce winning and conference championship contending teams at Ferris but also could build a program which would win heavily, make the playoffs and compete for a national title.

… “It was the pure desire to take on a challenge,” he said. “I had coached on the high school level and the junior college level. So the next step and challenge was to take on a  Division II program. The other reason was I wasn’t confident Grand Rapids Community College (his team before Ferris) was going to keep their program, which proved to be true. As soon as I took the Ferris job, they chose to drop the program after they had had it for a long time.”

Inside Track: McLemore’s artistic skills make messages pop

12/24/21 Grand Rapids Business Journal

Most artists’ handiwork is displayed in art galleries or at private viewings. Randy McLemore’s craftsmanship can be viewed along highways, sidewalks, storefront windows, interior signs and more.

… Following college, McLemore worked stints in computer graphics for a number of eclectic nonprofit and for-profit organizations including Grand Rapids First Church in Wyoming; Barfuss Creative Services; Grand Rapids Community College; and Flashes of Allegan. He ultimately concluded working in advertising wasn’t for him.

New Grand Rapids Promise Zone director looks to connect students to ‘life-changing’ opportunities

12/24/21 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Ashlee Mishler has spent her career connecting students to life-changing opportunities and experiences that she plans to lean on as the new Grand Rapids Promise Zone director, Grand Rapids Community College recently announced.

Former area athlete discusses her collegiate rowing career

12/26/21 The Pioneer (Big Rapids)

MORLEY — Breanna Berry is getting ready for her sophomore season at Michigan State in a very unique sport: rowing.

… Earlier this month, she attended the signing ceremony of her younger sister Braelyn to play volleyball at Grand Rapids Community College and talked about her sports career at MSU.

6 South Lyon High School band students will march in the Tournament of Roses Parade

12/26/21 The Detroit Free Press

Six students from South Lyon High School will march in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day 2022 in Pasadena, Calif.

… Eight students from other Michigan high schools and a Grand Rapids Community College student were also selected for the 2022 honor band

Arkansas transfer Jordyn Gates returns home to GV

12/29/21 The Lanthorn (Grand Valley State University student newspaper)

After two seasons of volleyball at the University of Arkansas, sophomore setter Jordyn Gates is returning home to continue her career at Grand Valley State University. 

… Volleyball runs in the Gates family, as her mother not only coached but played colligate volleyball at Arizona State University, while her two older sisters also played volleyball at Grand Rapids Community College and Purdue University Fort Wayne. 

Meijer Scholar Athlete: Kobe Kambestad

12/29/21 WZZM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — One might think it’s an extra burden when the head coach is your father but that’s not the case with this week’s Meijer Scholar Athlete.

… Kobe (Kambestad) has a 3.7 GPA. He thinks he might go to GRCC where he’ll have an opportunity to continue his basketball career.

Western Michigan professors secure $29.5M grant to support Grand Rapids-area children

12/30/21 MLive

KALAMAZOO, MI — Two Western Michigan University professors are expanding educational opportunities for Grand Rapids-area children with the help of a nearly $30 million grant.

… The program is a partnership between WMU and Baxter Community Center, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, Family Futures, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kent Intermediate School District and LINC UP, the release said.

West Michigan native and U of M student calling Orange Bowl

12/30/21 WOOD TV

MIAMI (WOOD) — When Amer Betkas’s parents arrived in America they didn’t speak a word of English and came with only the shirts on their backs. They were refugees, fleeing war-torn Bosnia. Now, they call Caledonia, home.

… After graduating high school in West Michigan and attending Grand Rapids Community College for two years, Bektas transferred to Michigan. He got involved with radio broadcast because of his passion for sports.

GRCC gallery to feature student’s work in January

1/1/22 The Holland Sentinel

GRAND RAPIDS — An art gallery on the campus of Grand Rapids Community College will display the work of a student who was inspired by a recent fellowship opportunity.

Local Eats: The Winchester in Grand Rapids offers ‘neighborhood bar’ experience, seasonal dishes

1/1/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Paul and Jessica Lee opened The Winchester restaurant in 2008 to honor a “hometown bar” feeling and put a twist on classic club sandwiches.

… During his sophomore year, Lee transferred to Grand Rapids Community College to continue studying, and eventually wanted to transfer to the East Coast.

This Year in West Michigan

1/1/22 WOOD TV

(Tri-County student who earned high school diploma and GRCC associate degree.)

Med device manufacturer remains optimistic about building talent pipeline


Last month, Autocam Medical Devices LLC graduated its fourth class of CNC machinist apprentices under a program that’s meant to lure young professionals to the skilled trades. John C. Kennedy, president and CEO of the contract manufacturer of medical devices, is using the program to grow his talent pipeline while the company is on the verge of a major expansion. Autocam Medical is in the process of building an additional 100,000-square-foot facility in Kentwood that will support 250 new jobs and roughly double the company’s workforce. Kennedy recently talked with MiBiz about building a talent pool amid an ongoing skilled trades shortage, as well as his leadership principles that helped guide the company through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tech Tip: Rearranging your office

As we return back to campus, our customers may want to rearrange their office layouts. GRCC Information Technology would like to remind all of our staff to notify IT of any plans for office rearrangements.

This is important because not all outlets are turned on, so you may experience issues getting technology reconnected. Before moving equipment please contact the Customer Support Desk at 616-234-4357 or submit a ticket at

For more information and helpful tips, please visit the IT Customer Support Portal or contact the IT Customer Support Desk at x4357.

If you have a suggestion or a Technology Tip you think can be useful, you can submit them by emailing

Tech Tips: Student employee access extension

Do you have a student employee who will be working with you again next semester? Now is the perfect time to request for their access to be extended with the IT department! If you weren’t aware, access for student employees is only granted on an academic semester basis. 

We’ve simplified the process for you! Please navigate to the Network Account Provisioning Form  on our Support Portal and under request type select extend current access. From there you add the student’s information and submit the request. IT will make sure your student employee’s access is extended for them when they come back to work the next semester. 

For other great tips, visit the IT Customer Support Portal and search the Knowledge Base for other articles.

If you have a suggestion or a Technology Tip you think can be useful, you can submit them by emailing 

Tech Tips: Computer Reboot

When is the last time you rebooted your computer? Not sure? We totally understand! It is very easy to get into a routine of putting your computer to sleep every day so you can keep things open that you are currently using. It makes the start of the next day feel productive by continuing where we left off. The truth is, we may actually be slowing ourselves down.

Rebooting makes our computer run more efficiently and it can also fix problems we may be encountering. Please take the time to restart your computer at least once a week which will save you time in the long run.

Check out this article Why Does Rebooting Your Computer Fix So Many Issues?

For more information and helpful tips, please visit the IT Customer Support Portal or contact the IT Customer Support Desk at x4357.

If you have a suggestion or a Technology Tip you think can be useful, you can submit them by emailing 

Tech Tip: Protecting personally identifiable information

As we continue working remotely and in person, IT wants to remind our community about the importance of not storing documents with personally identifiable information (PII) inside your Department’s Google Team Drive.

If this information needs to be stored, it should be stored inside the S: Drive for security purposes. For more information view the Team Drive Guidelines folder inside your Google Team Drive or the below college policy. 

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Policy

For more information and helpful tips, please visit the IT Customer Support Portal or contact the IT Customer Support Desk at x4357.

If you have a suggestion or a Technology Tip you think can be useful, you can submit them by emailing 

Tech Tip: Google Calendar Focus Time

Google has been working on updating various applications to make them more accessible for users no matter where they are working. The latest update is the ability to add focus time in your calendar. This allows you to add a block in your calendar where no one can schedule a meeting with you and indicates to people who have access to your calendar that you would like to work uninterrupted to focus. 

Instructions to Block off Focus Time:

  1. Navigate to
  2. Select the Create + button in the left corner
  3. Add a title for your focus time
  4. Below the title, select Focus Time 
  5. Add in the dates and time
  6. Select the check box if you choose to automatically decline any meeting requests that come in during your focus time. 
    1. Choose to either Only new meeting invitations or New and existing meetings
    1. Enter a message that will be sent to anyone trying to set up an appointment to you during this block
  7. Add any other details such as location, calendar, or description.
  8. Select Save

       As Google updates more of our applications, we will communicate the changes as quickly as possible to allow for our customers!

GRCC Bookstore: January schedule

January 3– 8

Monday and Tuesday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday and Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

January 10 – 14

Monday and Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday and Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

January 17 – 21

Monday through Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.