GRCC In the News, 8-12-22

Community college earns gold-level recognition for veteran accessibility

8/11/22 Grand Rapids Business Journal

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) leveled up its veteran services, leading to recognition by a state agency. 

Community college earns gold-level recognition for veteran accessibility

8/11/22 Grand Rapids Magazine

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) leveled up its veteran services, leading to recognition by a state agency.

Spectrum Health, GRCC partner to fill in-demand EEG technician jobs

8/11/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Applause filled the room Wednesday as Spectrum Health celebrated the first graduates of a new apprenticeship program, created in partnership with Grand Rapids Community College, to fill a demand for neurodiagnostic EEG technicians.

Pilot program at Spectrum Health leads to more EEG techs

8/10/22 WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Spectrum Health celebrated Wednesday its first Neurodiagnostic Apprenticeship Program graduates.

Six graduate from Spectrum Health’s Neurodiagnostic Technology pilot program

8/11/22 MLive

(Photo gallery from EEG technician graduation.)

$6 million in grants announced for two MI adult education programs

8/11/22 WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A total of $6 million in grants will be available for students who are part of the Michigan Reconnect program or the Future for Frontliners program to help pay for costs outside of tuition.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist announced the funding on Thursday at Grand Rapids Community College, which has about 1,000 students in each program. The grants are available to help students pay for things like books, transportation and childcare.

State officials announce $6M in additional funding for Reconnect students


GRAND RAPIDS — Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist announced today in Grand Rapids that an additional $6 million in grant funding will be available to qualifying students in the Michigan Reconnect program to cover unexpected costs to help students complete their education. 

Gilchrist and other state officials discussed the additional funding Thursday during a press conference at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC). The $6 million is on top of the $55 million that was included in the state’s 2023 fiscal year budget for the Michigan Reconnect program. 

Michigan invests $6M to help college students overcome barriers

8/11/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Michigan is investing $6 million in new grant funding to help community college students overcome barriers they may face while earning their degrees such as access to internet, childcare and transportation.

… Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II announced the $6 million in new grant funding during a news conference at Grand Rapids Community College on Thursday, Aug. 11. He said the funding is in addition to a total of $55 million that’s been allocated to the Michigan Reconnect program in the fiscal year 2023 education budget.

El Vicegobernador Gilchrist destaca el presupuesto y la expansion de Michigan Reconnect

8/12/22 El Vocero

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (EVH)- El vicegobernador Garlin Gilchrist II se unió el pasado jueves a un estudiante que actualmente busca obtener su título en Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) bajo el programa Michigan Reconnect, para celebrar que la iniciativa acaba de superar los 100,000 solicitantes, con lo cual quiere motivar a otros habitantes de Michigan a inscribirse en una educación postsecundaria gratuita.

(GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (EVH) – Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II joined a student currently pursuing a degree at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) under the Michigan Reconnect program last Thursday to celebrate that the initiative just passed the milestone of 100,000 applicants, with which he wants to motivate other Michiganders to enroll in a free post-secondary education.)

Lt. Gov. Gilchrist visits Grand Rapids, spotlights $55M Michigan Reconnect expansion

8/11/22 FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist made a stop in Grand Rapids Thursday morning to spotlight a $55 million expansion to the state’s Michigan Reconnect program.

… GRCC President Dr. Juan R. Olivarez says both the Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs have proven instrumental in lowering barriers for adult students.

Morning News

8/12/22 WZZM

(Lt. Gov. Gilchrist’s visit.)

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II says additional state investment will help GRCC reduce obstacles for students using Michigan Reconnect, Futures for Frontliners

Students attending Grand Rapids Community College through the Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs are eligible for additional assistance from the state government to help overcome financial obstacles to starting or restarting their education.

The Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners cover the cost of in-district tuition. Lawmakers this year approved an additional $6 million for help pay for other expenses, such as daycare or transportation.

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II at GRCC on Thursday touted the bipartisan Fiscal Year 2023 budget’s inclusion of $55 million for the Michigan Reconnect program, calling it an affirmation of the program’s ongoing success in easing the path for working-age adults to earn a college degree or certificate.

“The groundbreaking Michigan Reconnect program is fully funded for next year and that is reason enough to celebrate on behalf of the tens of thousands of hardworking people taking the first step toward earning a college degree or certificate,” Gilchrist said. “But there is more to applaud. We’ve added another $6 million in new grants to reduce educational barriers and we’ve hit a milestone this month with more than 100,000 people accepted into the program.”

Gilchrist, speaking at the new computer lab in the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center, added, “By working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, we hit a trifecta in our work to put adult learners in Michigan on the path to a brighter future and to provide employers with the highly skilled workers they need to keep and grow their businesses throughout the state.”

The Michigan Reconnect program, launched in Feb. 2021, is aimed at students 25 and older who have not yet earned a degree. Frontliners was available in 2020 for residents who worked in essential fields during the state’s COVID-19 shutdown.

Gilchrist was joined by Sarah Szurpicki, director of the state’s Office of Sixty by 30, part of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity; GRCC Interim President Juan R. Olivarez; Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Director of Government Affairs Nate Henschel; Eula Gaddis, the director of Quality at Jireh Metal Products in Grandville; and Michigan Reconnect student Morgan Brink.

Olivarez said 22 percent of GRCC students were using the state programs last academic year. The number of GRCC students age 30 and older was 14 percent above pre-pandemic levels, with the state programs a significant factor. The college has enrolled 1,100 Reconnectors and 1,004 Futures for Frontliners students for the upcoming fall semester so far.

“We are proud of our success as a Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners partner as we strive to attract, train and graduate students for the high-paying and high-demand jobs that will drive Michigan’s, and our region’s, economic future,” Olivarez said.

A married mother of two, Brink said she and her young family understand the value of the Reconnect program.

At 32, Brink never thought college was in the picture for her until the COVID pandemic forced her to take another look. Realizing that college was the path to a more secure future and an opportunity to demonstrate to her children the power of education, she decided to enroll through Reconnect.

“Honestly, I barely graduated from high school,” Brink said. “Now, my daughter sees me studying and going to school and now she’s already talking about going to college. That’s the power of the Michigan Reconnect program – it’s for college degrees now and for our children later.”

Gilchrist said the $6 million in grant funding is aimed at helping defray other costs that often keep adult learners returning to college or enrolling for the first time through the Michigan Reconnect or Futures for Frontliners programs.

The new grants, which will be distributed by the state’s community and tribal colleges, can be used for books, childcare, internet access and transportation to help students pursue associate degrees or skills certificates.

GRCC and other eligible institutions can distribute the allocated funds directly to eligible students who have completed at least one semester – with as much as $550 available per student per academic year.

GRCC will have about $500,000 to distribute to students.

To be eligible for the grants, students must:

  • Be Michigan Reconnect or Futures for Frontliners scholarship participants.
  • Have completed at least one semester within the respective scholarship program they are participating in.
  • Be enrolled already or be in the process of enrolling for a following qualifying semester.

The wraparound grants build on Michigan’s network of people and resources in place to provide students with the critical support they need to successfully enroll in classes and complete a skill certificate or associate degree program.

To help Reconnect students succeed with the steps leading up to enrolling with a community college, the state’s Reconnect Navigators are available to help applicants complete admissions and financial aid requirements, set career goals, identify relevant educational opportunities and create a plan to graduate. Navigators, who reach out to students after they have been accepted into the Reconnect scholarship, will also connect students to additional programs and assistance offered by their community college and local partners to remove barriers to education.

Since Michigan Reconnect launched, over 100,000 Michiganders have been accepted into the scholarship program and nearly 18,000 have enrolled in a community college, helping to drive success toward Gov. Whitmer’s Sixty by 30 goal of having 60% of Michiganders with a postsecondary degree or skills certificate by 2030. In Kent County alone, there have been approximately 6,500 Reconnect applicants.

More information is available at and

Lt. Gov. Gilchrist stands with Morgan Brink, her husband and her two children.

Learn from the Best: Greg Corfixsen teaches GRCC science students what to learn, but also how to learn

Gregory Corfixsen enjoys teaching so much, he helps students at both the high school level and at GRCC as an adjunct professor. 

“Teaching can be a difficult job at times, but it is also very rewarding,” Corfixsen said. “It takes a lot of time outside of just being in class. Building relationships and helping to teach students how to learn, and not just what to learn, is very rewarding.”

Greg Corfixsen
Greg Corfixsen

Corfixsen said GRCC instructors are very caring, and are sensitive to the general needs of the students.

“The program evolves to meet the academic needs and expectations of the students and community.”

Corfixsen’s day-job is teaching science-related courses at the high school level. After graduating from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and Teaching, he began teaching biology and general science at Algonac Community schools.

A couple of years later he moved to Wyoming High School where he teaches biology, ecology, human anatomy and physiology, and AP biology. 

In 2003 Corfixsen completed his master’s degree in secondary education and teaching with an emphasis in biology from Grand Valley State University, and he began teaching as an adjunct professor at GRCC in 2007.

“GRCC has a terrific student-centered atmosphere in which to teach,” Corfixsen said. “The faculty and staff are professional, supportive and willing to collaborate with each other.”

Look for Corfixsen on the class list this fall, teaching BI 101 General Biology, BI 117 Human Anatomy & Physiology, BI 121 Human Anatomy & Physiology I, or BI 122 Human Anatomy & Physiology II.