GRCC In the News, 1-12-15

GRCC president says Obama’s free community college proposal a ‘great thing for this country’

Jan. 10, 2015; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Community College President Steven Ender said a proposal that would make the nation’s two-year colleges tuition free would be “a great thing for this country,” and would help build the educated and skilled workforce West Michigan needs to thrive.

GRCC’s new head of workforce development: Our primary focus is let’s get you into work

Jan. 9, 2015; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The new head of Grand Rapids Community College’s School of Workforce Development says he wants to forge relationships with businesses and provide the relevant training students and displaced workers need to land a good paying job.

Change Ups: Dickinson recognized for improving naval leadership

Dec. 26, 2014; Grand Rapids Business Journal


… Grand Rapids Community College announced a third of the 80 students graduating in December from its Job Training program have secured employment.


Aquinas College, Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University announced they will share a $65,000 grant from Grand Rapids Community Foundation to create and support a two-year Engaged Departments Initiative.

Change Ups: ECCU raises money to benefit Wounded Warriors

Jan. 2, 2015; Grand Rapids Business Journal


Grand Rapids Community College, with funding help from JP Morgan Chase & Co., now offers an industrial sewing course that costs students $35. The classes are in response to increased workforce demands. Steepletown Neighborhood Services and Blue Marble Threads provided machines and helped develop the curriculum.

Grand Rapids could drop elective classes required for alternative education students to graduate

Jan. 8, 2015; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Public Schools is reviewing a plan to drop electives from the required course load for alternative education students to keep them in the district and expedite graduation.

… GRPS has a total of 186 alternative students, according to the most recent numbers, in four programs: Grand Rapids Learning Center@Grand Rapids Community College, Southeast Career Pathways, Bethany Christian Services and Kent County Correctional Facility. School leaders say alternative students have been leaving to go to other programs such as in Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, where they are not saddled with electives.

Snow, ice lead to crashes around Michigan; many schools shut

Jan. 9, 2015; Oakland Press

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Snow and ice-covered roads are blamed for numerous crashes around Michigan and many schools across the state are closed.

… Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College also closed.

Inside Track: Webster whips up ingredients for successful business

Jan. 9, 2015; Grand Rapids Business Journal

Business owner, foster mom and baker extraordinaire Katie Webster adds a sweet creative flair to the Holland community.

Webster’s passion for the culinary arts began at a young age, and after attending Grand Rapids Community College’s culinary school, she discovered she didn’t want to hide in the kitchen. For Webster, owner of Second Floor Bakery in Holland, it is the pairing of food and the emotions that food brings out in people that are important.

Behind the Kitchen Door…with Bar Divani Executive Chef Baird

Dec. 28, 2014; MLive

Inspired to pursue the culinary arts by Jack Tripper from the late 1970s, early 1980s TV show “Three’s Company,” Jeff Baird began his training in high school before completing the culinary arts program at Grand Rapids Community College. His favorite restaurant is Fricano’s, which should come as no surprise since he is a Grand Haven native. When he’s not maintaining a “positive attitude” in the kitchen as the executive chef at Bar Divani, Baird is blowing off steam playing guitar with punk band The Bitters. This chef is “hardcore” when it comes to food and music.

Rockford welcomes new police officers

Jan. 5, 2015; MLive

The city of Rockford is beginning 2015 with four new additions to its Police Department.

… William Burnett and Braden Myers were hired after graduating from the Police Academy program at Grand Rapids Community College earlier last year. Tyler Glass graduated from the police program at Ferris State University and was hired in August, Jones said.

The curious story of Jenison’s Gus Penning, whose football dream led to a spot on Baylor’s team

Jan. 1, 2015; MLive

DALLAS — Baylor tight end Gus Penning has the sort of story that will get every current or recently finished high school football player’s heart beating faster.

… So Penning, whose only camp exposure was at Purdue one summer, decided to play football at Grand Rapids Community College in 2011 and redshirted that first season with the program.

Area high school grads making an impact on college sports scene

Jan. 11, 2015; MLive

The fall season has come to an end and the winter season is well underway for local college athletes. Following is a look at some area high school graduates who have been making news both in the fall and winter seasons on the collegiate level.

… A pair of former Rockford basketball players are playing key roles for the Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team. Sophomore forward Sara Karamol is averaging a double-double for the Raiders with 12 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Karamol is also shooting 50.8% from the field and adding 3.6 assists per game. Karamol scored a season-high 15 points in two different games this season and also pulled down 17 rebounds in two other games. Sophomore point guard Andrea Straw leads the Raiders in assists with 5.7 per game and is adding 1.1 steals. Straw is averaging 10.9 points per game, is shooting 48.5% from the field, and is averaging 4 rebounds per game.

… The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team is getting a strong effort from freshman forward Kevin Brower. Brower is averaging 9.3 points per game, along with 9 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Brower is shooting 46.3% from the field.

College notes: Emily Spencer caps volleyball career with second Player of Year award at IPFW

Dec. 25, 2014; MLive

… DeMarkus Stuckey, Grand Rapids Community College: Stuckey, a sophomore guard, has been on fire this season. He score 24 points in a win over Schoolcraft CC on Dec. 17 and is averaging 23.4 points per game. Stuckey (GR Catholic Central) had a season-high 39 points on 17-of-32 shooting against Alma College JV on Nov. 24.

… Andrea Straw, Grand Rapids Community College: Straw had a season-high 28 points and 11 assists in an 86-78 loss to Davenport JV on Dec. 10. Straw (Rockford) is averaging 10.9 points and 5.7 assists for the Raiders.

Grand Valley State volleyball player heads to Rose Parade after penning essay about losing starting job

Dec. 26, 2014; MLive

ALLENDALE, MI — The disappointment Grand Valley State’s Clair Ruhenkamp felt after she lost her starting job on the Lakers volleyball team has ultimately turned into a positive for her this holiday season.

… But in her junior season, Kaitlyn Wolters, a transfer from Grand Rapids Community College, came in and eventually won the starting job. It’s the routine competition of sports, but it was a new challenge for Ruhenkamp.

GRCC In the News, 10-14-14

Man gets probation and suspended jail term for crash that killed Grandville High student, cousin

Oct. 13, 2014; MLive

MECOSTA COUNTY, MI — The driver in a crash that killed two cousins – a Grandville High School student and a Coopersville man – was sentenced to two years probation and a suspended jail term.

… Two passengers in his vehicle, Michael Aguilar, 22, of Coopersville, and Roman Aguilar-Emmons, 18, of Wyoming, were killed in the May 3 crash. Fuentes-Perdomo was seriously injured. The driver of the pickup truck, a 31-year-old Cedar Springs man, suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.

(This article does not mention it, but Roman Aguilar-Emmons had enrolled in GRCC’s Police Academy.)

Trayvon Martin’s mom to speak at West Michigan colleges to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy

Oct. 13, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin – whose fatal shooting in 2012 sparked a nationwide debate and protests over racial profiling – will speak in January at programs celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College and Davenport University.

Ask the Community College Presidents

Oct. 9, 2014; WGVU

(Video features President Ender, Robert Ferrentino of Montcalm Community College, and Dale Nesbary of Muskegon Community College.)

Changing lives, one ramp at a time

Oct. 13, 2014; WOOD 8

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOOD) — Recently, a group of students from GRCC’s Tassell M-TEC Construction Trades teamed up with the pros at Home Repair Services to work on a very special project. Every year Home Repair Services teams up with the Grand Rapids Home Builders Association for Community Repair Days. They help to build wheelchair ramps for disabled and low income. For the students, it was a great chance to get out of the classroom and see what happens on a construction site. Home Repair Services tries to build 15 wheelchair ramps a year.

18th Annual GRAND RAPIDS GRAND AWARDS Are Announced

Oct. 14, 2014;

For performers and audiences alike, the name on everyone’s tongue this week is “The Grand Awards!”

… Community theatres presently participating in the Grand Awards are Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Jewish Theatre, Actors’ Theatre, Circle Theatre, and Master Arts Theatre. Participating colleges include Grand Rapids Community College, Aquinas College, and Cornerstone University.

Meet the teacher: Kentwood Public Schools welcome 37 new teachers

Oct. 13, 2014; MLive

KENTWOOD, MI — With a little over a month at a new school under their belts, MLive and The Grand Rapids Press asked area school districts to share information about new staff members.

… Stacey Stankewicz, resource room teacher at Explorer Elementary School. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Aquinas College and a Master of Arts degree in special education from Ottawa University. Previously, she taught in London, England, and Grand Rapids Community College.

GR officials see development as next stop for bus rapid transit

Oct. 13, 2014; Crain’s Detroit Business

The first exploration of bus rapid transit in the Grand Rapids area is already halfway to its goal of 5,000 riders a day most weekdays. And although nothing is shovel-ready yet, city officials think developers are starting to get interested in investing along the corridor of the new bus line.

… “We are hearing that we have a lot of Grand Rapids Community College students and a lot of people who are working on Medical Mile, especially Spectrum Health employees,” (Jennifer) Kalczuk said.


Construction students tackle wheelchair ramp project

Students in John Doane’s construction class will be hard at work this week building a wheelchair ramp on the southeast side of Grand Rapids. They will start building on Thursday and continue on October 13 and 14 if needed.

This is the fourth year that GRCC construction classes have worked with Home Repair Services, a nonprofit organization that provides resources, repairs, a tool lending library and hands-on workshops to lower-income homeowners in Kent County.

Computer support technician class attends expo

Moss Ingram took students in his computer support technician class to the one-day Trivalent Solutions Group Expo at Calvin College. Keynote presenters at the event were Ben Tyson, from Google, and Lance J. Richards, of Kelly Services. In addition to attending break-out sessions, students had the chance to speak with representatives from Microsoft, Google and other Fortune 100 companies, as well as IT leaders from local employers.

One student perfectly summed up the experience: “Now I understand why we spend so much time learning about business in our computer class.”

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GRCC In the News, 10-9-13

Federal grant will make low-cost day care available for GRCC students with children

Oct. 8, 2013; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A federal grant will help put daycare within reach for a small number of low-income parents attending Grand Rapids Community College.

West Michigan home builders struggle with a labor shortage

Oct. 8, 2013; MLive

WYOMING, MI — West Michigan home builders say they need more workers as life returns to an industry that was on the ropes just five years ago.

… “We have the programs, but nobody’s going through the training,” said Duane McIntyre, a construction instructor at Grand Rapids Community College, where only five students have enrolled in the school’s residential construction program.

Oct. 8, 2013: Wolverine third quarter beats expectations; Michigan Energy Conference slated for Oct. 24

Oct. 8, 2013;

The Right Place, in partnership with Ferris State University and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, will host the Michigan Energy Conference on Oct. 24 at Frederik Meijer Gardens. The event runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes a panel discussion featuring local university presidents from Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College and Ferris State. John Quackenbush, chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission will give a keynote speech followed by two breakout sessions each with three energy-specific topics to choose from led by regional business leaders. See more and register at

UPDATED: Lakeshore Head Start to stay open during federal shutdown

Oct. 8, 2013; The Holland Sentinel

Holland — The federal government’s shutdown will not shut down Lakeshore Head Start.

… “(It will mean) definitely less stress,” said Briana Farrell, whose 1-year-old daughter Neelah is in Head Start day care while Farrell attends nursing classes at Grand Rapids Community College. “I was having a hard time finding someone every day for her. Now I don’t have to worry. I can go to school.”

Elyse Ray, Beka German return to Muskegon, lead No. 8 Muskegon Community College volleyball team

Oct. 8, 2013; MLive

MUSKEGON, MI — Muskegon Community College volleyball players Elyse Ray and Beka German did not begin their collegiate athletic careers with the Jayhawks.

… The two spikers are big reasons why the Jayhawks are ranked No. 8 in the nation and in second place in the conference behind seventh-ranked Grand Rapids (21-3, 7-0). Muskegon, which fell to Grand Rapids in a tough four-setter on Sept. 17, hosts the Raiders at 5 p.m. Thursday.

College notebook: Kellogg CC women’s soccer coach resigns

Oct. 8, 2013; The Battle Creek Enquirer

Kellogg Community College women’s soccer coach Barth Beasley resigned on Oct. 4, ending his tenure with the program he helped start three years ago.

… KCC (volleyball) snapped its 11-match losing streak on Oct. 1 with a three-set victory over Lake Michigan (25-16, 25-21, 25-19). In that contest, Tristen Erhedt (Pennfield) led the way with 11 kills and three digs. Also for the Lady Bruins, Tara VanDenberg (Pennfield) recorded eight digs and Cortney Pipher (Lakeview) had 26 assists. On Oct. 3, seventh-ranked Grand Rapids CC swept the Lady Bruins by scores of 25-15, 25-16, 25-19. In the loss, KCC was led by Lauren Richardson with five kills, while Carmen Odell (Marshall) had seven digs and Pipher had 20 assists.

Job Training Graduation 12/7/11 – Photos

12-7-11 graduates (Small)

Yesterday, GRCC’s Job Training program held another successful graduation ceremony as approximately 100 students graduated in the areas of: Automotive Technician, Welding/Fabrication, Introduction to Construction, Green Construction Remodeling, Residential Construction, Construction Electrical, Computer Applications Specialist, Computer Support Technician and Machinist/CNC.

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Speakers at the event included:

  • Scott Mattson- Job Training Manager
  • George Waite – Director, Leslie E Tassell M-TEC
  • Fiona Hert – Dean, School of Workforce Development
  • Mike Julian – Board Member, Tassell-Wisner-Botrall Foundation
  • Richard Ryskamp – Trustee, GRCC BOT

Also in attendance was GRCC  Board of Trustees member Richard Verburg.


HVAC students get delicious lesson in pasteurization

Don Steeby’s Refrigeration class and Ron Stevenson’s Controls class had the opportunity to tour Aseltines Cider Mill in Comstock Park last Tuesday.  The two classes are part of GRCC’s HVAC curriculum (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning).

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Aseltines is one of the very few cider mills in the Midwest that has the capability of pasteurizing their cider and sells to such customers as Meijer, Sam’s Club and Spartan Food Stores.
The tour allowed Don and Ron’s students to see how cider is processed from apple to bottle. Students also observed the ammonia refrigeration system at work as well as the cold storage facility. They also learned how the refrigeration system is used through the custom-made pasteurizer.

AWS President on campus tomorrow

John Mendoza, President of the American Welding Society is making Grand Rapids Community College a stop on his tour of welding programs throughout Michigan. His mission is to share with students the possibilities for careers in the welding field.

Mendoza will speak at 10:15 AM Wednesday at GRCC’s Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC followed by lunch.

The presentation focuses on AWS Certification and  highlights the global impact that AWS certification programs have had on industry during the last 35 years and the positive effects that an AWS certification can have on student career choices.

Photos – Job Training Graduation

Job Training Graduation June 2011

On June 9, 2011, GRCC’s Job Training program graduated a new class of skilled workers into West Michigan’s workforce.  Board members Richard Ryskamp M.D. and Rick Verburg were on hand and several individuals spoke at the graduation ceremony including Michael Julien (Vice President, Taxes & Administration at Meijer), Fiona Hart – GRCC Dean, and George Wait – Tassell M-TEC Director.

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Congratulations graduates!

Job Training Tours Starting 5/25/11

Beginning next Wed., May 25, at 2:00pm Job Training will be offering a session of our weekly informational tour at the ATC. These are scheduled to be held in room 147 ATC throughout the summer.

These tours are designed to focus on our Job Training ATC programs (Computer Applications Specialist, Computer Support Technician, and Machinist/CNC), but we will be able to present on any of our Job Training programs that students are interested in.