Workforce Wednesday: Residential Construction program helps Jack Case build a new life

Jack Case.

Jack Case struggled with addiction for years.

“Four years ago, I was on heroin and was pretty desperate. Fortunately, I went through a rehabilitation program in Grand Rapids and after the program was over, I saved my money from working two jobs to buy my own house.”

Case bought the house and turned it into a home for other recovering addicts.

GRCC Workforce Training programs provide in-demand skills leading to rewarding careers. We are introducing students who are heading down an educational pathway and changing their lives by earning occupational certificates.

Case was eligible for the state of Michigan’s Future for Frontliners program which came at just the right time. The program covers the cost of in-district tuition for people who worked in essential roles during the state’s COVID-19 shutdown in 2020.

“I heard about the Residential Construction program and signed up!”

Case started the program last October and finished this week.

GRCC offers two 18 week Job Training Certificate programs in the construction field; Residential Construction, and Construction Electrical.

“The program is great and the instructor is excellent; he’s very charismatic,” Case said. “I like his style of teaching. He shows you once how to do something and then just steps back and lets you do it yourself. He’s right there if you have any questions but you definitely learn by doing. I loved it!”

The Residential Construction program takes place at a construction site, where students build a new home. Students get hands-on learning and application about the entire process of residential building including blueprint reading, site layout, concrete, carpentry, door and window installation, roofing, siding, and interior finishing.

“With my new skills, I will be able to purchase houses at a lower price,” Case said. “Those are the homes that need attention. Now I have the skills to do the ‘rehab’ work on those houses myself.”

Case’s goal is to start a nonprofit that will offer housing to others in recovery.

Graduates are qualified for employment in the residential construction industry. The program focuses on constructing homes that achieve a 5-Star Energy rating, are Michigan Green Built, and LEED Certified.

“My future looks good. I am looking to start my own non-profit. That way I can qualify for grants to help me buy more houses so then I can turn them into more recovery homes. There is a great need for facilities like this in the Muskegon area and I hope to establish my non-profit there.

GRCC offers other industry certifications including; Carpentry Certification 1, Lead Abatement Training, and the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP).Contact the Workforce Training team for additional information through email at and by phone at (616) 234-3800.

GRCC In the News 03/17/2022

New production facility brings more jobs to W. Michigan

3/16/22 WOOD TV

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A nonprofit is helping to bring more jobs to West Michigan with a new production facility in Wyoming.

… The Michigan Department of Economic Development will be supporting the expansion through the Michigan Strategic Fund. West Michigan Works! and Grand Rapids Community College are creating workforce training packages to support the project.

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… High-end lighting and furniture company Roll & Hill will be opening a second location in Wyoming, south of Grand Rapids.

… The Right Place worked closely with the MEDC to ensure the company continued its growth in the region rather than out-of-state locations. With the approval of a $300,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant, the MEDC is supporting the expansion through the Michigan Strategic Fund. West Michigan Works! and Grand Rapids Community College also will be supporting the project with a workforce training package.

Baker, leader, future small business owner

3/16/22 (Kent Intermediate School District)

On a countertop in a temperature-controlled room in the bakery at Kent Career Tech Center, the 25-pound first layer of Erin Mangan’s three-tier wedding cake project is taking shape. 

… Erin is grateful for the opportunities the Tech Center has provided, including free dual enrollment in GRCC classes and connections in the industry made through instructors. 

Heritage Hill Weekend Tour of Homes in Grand Rapids is back in May after a two-year hiatus

3/16/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Seven Heritage Hills families will open the doors of their historic and well-loved homes in May, welcoming visitors back to tour the neighborhood after a two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

… Two public buildings, the Calkins Law Office and the Custer Alumni House, recently renovated by Grand Rapids Community College, are also included in the tour, according to Barbara Draughon, executive director of the Heritage Hill Association.

FACULTY FOCUS: Tore Skogseth is a Student Success counselor at MCC

3/17/22 The Daily News (Greenville)

SIDNEY — Hailing from the foothills of the Norwegian mountains, this thunderous bearded Norwegian left the fjords of Norway for the cornfields of Michigan (following a brief interlude between soybean fields and refineries in Southern Illinois).

When Montcalm Community College Student Success Counselor Tore Skogseth packed his suitcase for his big move, it was filled with CDs, with just a few clothes used as padding. In a life filled with detours, he finally found his destination at MCC, where he started as a student services assistant in 2001 and returned as a counselor in 2010. In between these stints at MCC, he also spent time at Alma College and Grand Rapids Community College, but it is here that he now feels at home.