Nov 27, 2019

Grand Rapids Community College to Begin Water Workforce Training

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) will begin a training program focused on jobs related to water, public works, clean energy and river restoration projects.

Grand Rapids Community College to Begin Water Workforce Training

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) is set to begin a training program focused on jobs related to water, public works, clean energy and river restoration projects.

The training will include the repair and maintenance of municipal water and wastewater systems, pipe and green infrastructure, water testing, hazardous materials removal and safety certifications, according to GRCC. The training program will receive a $150,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase.

“Area water systems depend on maintenance and restoration, but the workforce with these skills is aging, and there’s no current pipeline to bring in new talent,” said Julie Parks, executive director for GRCC Workforce Training. “We appreciate JPMorgan Chase’s support in helping us build and provide this essential training.” 

The grant will keep the cost of student training down to $25 and training could be 40 hours or as much as 300 hours.

GRCC will incorporate national credentials for stormwater and green infrastructure training. Neighborhood and nonprofit groups such as the Urban League of Greater Grand Rapids and the West Michigan Hispanic Center will also be involved to help connect unemployed or underemployed residents to the program, reported GRCC.

“GRCC has strong partnerships with area municipalities’ workforce development work,” said GRCC President Bill Pink. “This grant will help that collaboration grow, preparing the region for the changes planned for the Grand River, and the continued importance of prepared workforce to meet these needs.”

The city is looking for both people new to public works and existing employees interested in learning new skills, according to Booth Michigan.

“50% of employees will be eligible to retire in the next five to 10 years,’’ said James Hurt, public services director for the city of Grand Rapids. “It will be a drain on our institutional knowledge. We are looking to find qualified individuals.’’

Training is expected to start in 2020. 

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