My Story Started at GRCC: Once a nontraditional student, Jennifer Orme says GRCC was ‘springboard’ for her success

 Jennifer Orme smiling.

Starting at Grand Rapids Community College allowed Jennifer Orme to build the skills she needed while she advanced in the professional world. 

Start at GRCC and go anywhere. Every former student has a story to tell about how GRCC gave them the education and opportunity to be successful.

“It’s been a long and interesting journey to get to where I am today, and I feel that my time at GRCC was the springboard to success,” said Orme, director of human resources for the city of Holland. “As a nontraditional student who chipped away at my education while gaining valuable professional experience, I have had the opportunity to grow into a leadership role within my community.”

She especially appreciated the variety of courses she found at GRCC.

“My coursework was well-rounded and ranged from business and communication courses to philosophy and the arts,” she said. “These classes broadened my knowledge, sparked my curiosity and exposed me to a diverse group of people and perspectives. I also took several theater courses and worked in the box office at the Spectrum Theater on campus. This experience really helped me to become a confident public speaker, which is something I do often in my role with the city.”

Orme worked for Spectrum Health while earning her GRCC associate degree in 2001. She then set her sights on a bachelor’s degree, attending classes part time at Colorado State and Grand Valley State universities, while working full time in the human resources field for Heska Corp. and Meijer.

“After a decade in the private sector, I decided to make the switch to the public sector and was hired as an HR generalist at Ottawa County,” she said. “I spent the next five years at the county overseeing the hiring, benefits and wellness programs. In 2016, I completed my Bachelor of Science degree at Grand Valley State University as part of a leadership cohort with other nontraditional students.”

Orme, who has worked for the city of Holland for six years, gets great satisfaction in making sure employees have the skills and support they need to do their best work.

“As someone who finds great purpose in helping others to succeed, human resources leadership in the public sector is an excellent fit,” she said. “I have also been extremely fortunate to work under some incredible leaders who have inspired me, supported my professional growth and encouraged me to push myself further. I have learned from the best of the best!”

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