One Workforce grant expands access to in-demand CNC operator skills through GRCC Workforce Training

Instructor and student at a CNC machine.

Residents can gain skills to enter the in-demand field of computer numeric controls through the One Workforce for West Michigan Manufacturing grant, provided to Grand Rapids Community College from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The One Workforce grant staff worked with West Michigan employers to develop the program. The grant will supplement the cost of the program, making the hands-on training available for $50.

There are more than 25 companies in West Michigan with CNC operator positions available with starting wages from $18-$22 per hour. Job developers will connect students to employers by providing two interviews as part of the program.

“What sets the One Workforce program apart is the intentional connection it creates between the student and the employers,” program manager C. Dennis Triggs said. “Not only are we listening to employers to tailor the training, we do everything possible to place every student in the right job.”

This 16-week, part-time class is open to anyone and allows those who are currently working to gain skills to improve their income potential. No experience is necessary. Students will learn by doing in the Advance Manufacturing Lab at West Michigan University’s downtown Grand Rapids location.

Instructor Andy Beach has many years working in the field and enjoys teaching others about it.

“Watching the students realize the opportunities that are available to them just by learning these basic skills is very rewarding,” he said. “Once a participant learns what CNC or machine tooling is, they start seeing it everywhere in our lives. When the light bulb turns on and the student understands, it is the best. It’s fun to watch.”

The One Workforce for West Michigan Manufacturing project will help people who are unemployed or underemployed gain transformative academic and career skills with enhanced support. The program will build a talented workforce to fill existing job openings and prepare for the future of manufacturing, helping residents and the region as a whole.

GRCC in 2021 was one of 19 organizations in the nation and two in Michigan to earn grants in the program.

To find out if you qualify for this 64-hour, hands-on training, apply at or call 616-234-3383.

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