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.

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