GRCC partners with Ludwig Institute to help students overcome financial barriers while gaining new career skills

Grand Rapids Community College is partnering with the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity to remove financial obstacles preventing residents in underserved communities from connecting with life-changing career skills.

LISEP is providing financial support to GRCC to cover living expenses for eligible students. Students with dependents will receive $350 stipends per week or $6,300 over an 18-week career-training course. Students without dependents will receive $225 per week, or $4,050 in total.

The Washington-based institute will cover students enrolled in GRCC’s welding, electrician, and computer support technician courses.

“To date, these students haven’t received financial assistance geared specifically toward living expenses while they pursue their credential,” said Gene Ludwig, who founded LISEP in 2019. “This means some of them have had to forego valuable training courses or drop out prior to earning an industry certification. This stipend is intended for students to be able to put food on the table and complete classes at the same time. Ultimately, it will give young adults a better chance at a good-paying job and a better future.”

GRCC will work to place these students into jobs with local, minority-owned businesses they are working with that employ welders and electricians and that are positioned for growth.

“We get to see the transformation in a student’s life when they leave our program with in-demand skills and a job,” said Julie Parks, GRCC’s Dean of Workforce Training. “We also know there are so many more people who could benefit, but worry about the financial obstacles. The Ludwig Institute’s program will remove those barriers and give people opportunities that will not only help these students, but the region’s employers as well.”

West Michigan employers are looking for welders, fabricators, electricians, and computer support technicians, and are often struggling to find people with the needed skills to fill openings. GRCC partners with employers to create programs that match the skills needed in evolving fields.

The Ludwig Institute’s mission is to improve the economic well-being of middle- and lower-income Americans through research and education. Its research includes new economic indicators for unemployment, earnings, and cost of living. Gene Ludwig is an internationally recognized leader on matters related to banking and fiscal policy and was Comptroller of the Currency during the Clinton Administration.

Ludwig is also the co-founder of the Carol and Gene Ludwig Family Foundation, whose grantmaking in education primarily focuses on empowering young people from low-income backgrounds to achieve their educational and professional goals. The Carol and Gene Ludwig Family Foundation has been helping grantees award direct financial assistance to students from low-income communities since 2014.

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