Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tours GRCC automotive tech labs, talks about auto insurance refunds

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer visited Grand Rapids Community College on Monday, touring automotive technology labs and taking about auto insurance refund checks headed to car owners this spring.

It’s the third time Whitmer has visited the Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC and fifth visit to GRCC since becoming governor in 2019. The governor toured GRCC automotive tech labs and classrooms, met with students and was greeted by GRCC Provost Brian Knetl.

Whitmer was joined by Anita Fox, director of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, to announce that the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association will complete the transfer of $3 billion in surplus funds to Michigan’s auto insurers this week.

Once complete, the transfer will trigger a 60-day deadline for auto insurers to send out required $400 refund checks per vehicle to eligible Michiganders no later than May 9, 2022.

“These $400 refunds are game-changers for so many Michigan families,” Whitmer said. “I called for these refunds because I am committed to lowering costs for Michiganders and putting money back in people’s pockets. They are possible because we worked across the aisle to pass bipartisan auto insurance reform, and we will keep working together to grow our economy and build a state where families can thrive.”

The MCCA voted in Dec. 2021 to return approximately $3 billion of the surplus funds to Michiganders while maintaining approximately $2 billion in surplus funds to ensure continuity of care for catastrophic accident survivors.

Michigan’s auto insurers must now issue refunds to eligible state policyholders of $400 per vehicle, or $80 per historic vehicle, for each vehicle that was insured under a policy that meets the minimum insurance requirements for operating a vehicle on Michigan roads as of 11:59 p.m. on October 31, 2021. 

Eligible consumers who do not receive their refunds by the deadline should contact their auto insurer or agent. Additional information is available from DIFS online at, or by contacting the agency by phone at 833-ASK-DIFS (833-275-3437). or by emailing

Whitmer was joined by Shawn Jones, owner of Jones Logistics Services, a trucking small business, and Sarah Weir, Kentwood Public Schools’ homeless student liaison.

Connected, yet worlds apart: Unpacking the Ukraine-Russia crisis

Join the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) for a roundtable discussion on the Ukraine-Russia crisis. A panelist of GRCC faculty will offer their expertise and perspective on the domestic and global impact.

This virtual program, exclusive to GRCC stakeholders, will take place on Wednesday, March 16 at Noon
Use your GRCC email address to register at
Guest Panelists:
Yan Bai, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science
Matheta Righa
Professor of Business Administration
Robert Hendershot, Ph.D.
Professor of History

Susan Williams
Professor of European History

Gordan Vurusic
Professor of Language and Thought
B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, Ph.D.
Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer

GRCC Dental students, Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan partner to help senior citizens

GRCC  Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene student and instructor.

Grand Rapids Community College and the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan are hosting a free Senior Dental Day on March 14, helping students gain new experiences while volunteering to help residents.

Students in GRCC’s Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene programs will work with area dentists through the Kent County Oral Health Coalition to provide free cleanings, X-rays, exams and referrals.

The patients, all Kent County residents, are at least 60 years old and haven’t seen a dentist during the past 12 months. The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan has organized the patients’ initial paperwork and is providing transportation to those who need it.

Professor Christine Dobberstein said the event introduces the GRCC students to a volunteer opportunity and public health collaboration.

“The students benefit by getting outside their comfort zones with a variety of patient experiences,” she said. “As they haven’t yet started their partner-office rotations, the Dental Assisting students haven’t had the chance to work with patients who are not friends, family or classmates. While the Dental Hygiene students have been seeing patients here in our GRCC clinic, they may not have worked with very many seniors at this point in their clinical education.”

Senior Dental Day also gives the Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene students, who are often on very different schedules, a chance to work together as a team to care for a large number of patients, Dobberstein said.

GRCC’s Dental Clinic is located on the third floor of the Peter and Pat Cook Academic Hall, 143 Bostwick Ave. NE.

Services, offered throughout the year, include a review of medical and dental history, blood pressure screening, cleanings, preliminary dental hygiene exams, X-rays, fluoride treatments, dental health instruction, chemotherapeutic agents and sealants. More information is available online.

Roadmap for GRCC Leaders

This learning opportunity has been developed to guide supervisors and GRCC leaders in understanding the process for addressing employee behavior concerns.

All are welcome to enroll in the upcoming “Roadmap for GRCC Leaders” opportunity.

Facilitated by Cathy Kubiak and Brett Meyer, this session will provide guidance on how to notice and respond via the Roadmap outline.

Join us on

Tuesday March 15 (1-2 p.m.)

Register for all HR learning opportunities via the Professional Development tile in your Online Center account.

Tech Tip: Mobile Authenticator

With the launch of the new MyGRCC portal, we wanted to give our community more information about what a mobile authenticator is and how you can set one up with your MyGRCC account. 

We totally get it. Learning new technology can be intimidating and confusing. Mobile authenticators don’t need to be and we encourage you to set up this part of your recovery settings in the MyGRCC portal in order to protect your account. There are a few extra steps involved, but it’s worth it! 

Mobile authenticators work similarly as text-based multi-factor authentication does, but instead of receiving a code via text, the code will appear in the app. The code changes every 30 seconds as an added measure of security. A great authenticator app is Google Authenticator which can be downloaded for free from your App Store. 

Instructions on Setting up a Mobile Authenticator

Set Up Password Recovery Information in MyGRCC

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

GRCC In the News 03/08/2022

New scholarship available for Kent, Ottawa students

3/7/22 Grand Haven Tribune

Two incoming high school students will attend Grand Rapids Community College tuition-free through a new scholarship opportunity from the GRCC Foundation.

Course to help students learn to best serve detained youth

3/7/22 (Kent Intermediate School District)

Lynnell Talbert knows the importance of giving youth a voice in the justice system, and the power of being a transformative force and advocate in their lives.

An assistant professor in the GRCC criminal justice program, Talbert saw a need to better prepare students for working with incarcerated youth. She created a new juvenile residential services course, which is expected to launch this summer. 

Women Who Weld

3/7/22 Contractor Magazine

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Both Brianna Lampe and Brianna Conway are first-year apprentices through the Local 174 Plumbers & Pipefitters. Nicknamed “Bri 1” by her colleagues, Lampe joined Egan Co. in September of 2020, while Conway—or “Bri 2”—was hired just two months later.

… Both Lampe and Conway had a couple of years of work experience in non-union welding roles before their apprenticeships, but different training paths up to that point. “I was always a hands-on, artsy person,” says Lampe. Her dad, a professor at Grand Rapids Community College, encouraged her to enroll there, where she earned her Welding Technology Associates Degree.

News at 11 p.m.

3/7/22 FOX 17

(Gov. Whitmer’s visit.)

News 8 Daybreak

3/8/22 WOOD TV

(New GRCC Foundation scholarship.)

GRCC transitions to making face coverings optional as COVID-19 cases drop, calls for respect for those continuing to wear them

Student smiling, not wearing a mask.

Grand Rapids Community College is changing its campus face covering mandate, transitioning to a new phase of COVID-19 protocols allowing masks to be an option for students, employees and community members, a move in line with other employers and educators across the region.

“We are not declaring victory over COVID. Not yet,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “But we are in a better place, and we are entering a different phase, and adapting as we have done since March 2020. We will continue to work with the authorities and monitor the data and conditions.”

Face covering dispensers will remain stocked and available on campus.

“There are many people who will choose to continue wearing face coverings, and it is important for us to respect their decisions, and the reasons behind them,” Pink said. “We have been resilient. We’ve shown each other grace and patience throughout this pandemic, and will continue to do so.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in Kent and Ottawa counties continues to fall. The Centers for Disease Control has adopted new metrics, and has moved the counties out of the high-risk category.

GRCC required face coverings in summer 2021 after the CDC added the counties to the high-risk category. Campus leaders said they would continue to follow data, and seek guidance from health authorities when considering face covering protocols. 

Masks will be required while riding public transportation, including the Sneden Shuttle bus route that connects the Main and DeVos campuses, following federal mandates.

Pink said the face coverings are just one tool in the college’s efforts to keep our campus community safe. Other changes set in place, such as distancing, increased air filtration, and plastic glass panels at some workstations, will remain. Classrooms will remain at 75 percent capacity through the end of the semester, and the college will continue offering classes in a variety of formats.

Help spread the word to GRCC students: Over $1,000,000 in scholarships available to them from the GRCC Foundation

Please share and encourage the students you teach and support to complete the GRCC Scholarship application.

They can fill out a single application to be considered for over three hundred scholarships!

These scholarships can provide them with free money to help cover 2022-23 GRCC tuition, books and fees. 

Students should apply for GRCC scholarships on our  Scholarships webpage.

The priority deadline is March 15, 2022. In order to maximize scholarship opportunities, students should also complete a 2022-23 FAFSA.