GRCC partners with Saugatuck High School on career exploration program



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


Feb. 5, 2014 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College will help Saugatuck High School sophomores zero in on how their abilities and talents line up with their plans for the future when the students visit the campus on Feb. 6 as part of a new approach to career exploration.

“Our partnership with GRCC is so exciting -- it gives every sophomore at Saugatuck High School the opportunity to explore different options and to use this knowledge to make a better decision for what career or education path they will take when they graduate from high school,” said Saugatuck Superintendent Rolfe Timmerman.

Rachael Jungblut, a senior program manager at GRCC’s Tassell M-TEC, visited the high school earlier this month to help the students go over the results of their WorkKeys tests. The state tests measure abilities that employers feel are crucial to success, such as reading, math, listening skills and teamwork.

Based on the results of the tests — and the students’ interests — GRCC has designed a day of tours and activities Feb. 6. The 60 sophomores, in two groups, will divide their time between the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center at 151 Fountain St. NE and Tassell M-TEC at 622 Godfrey Ave. SW. They will explore different programs offered in areas in which they’ve indicated an interest, including health, manufacturing, engineering and the arts.

At Tassell M-TEC, the students will participate in a lean manufacturing simulation. Working in groups, they will try to make as many airplanes as efficiently as they can out of office supplies by analyzing everything from the plane’s design to how it is manufactured and assembled.

The exploration will continue after the GRCC visit, with the students later touring area companies to get an even closer look at some of their career options.

“It’s a good start-to-finish process for students,” Jungblut said. “They will really have gained a sense of where their skills may take them.”

“Saugatuck Public Schools work hard to make our mission to ‘prepare students for life’ a reality for every student who graduates from Saugatuck High School,” Timmerman said. “We consistently send 90 percent or more of our graduates to some type of post-secondary experience. However, we thought we could do a better job of sending our students off to a college or career path that is much more aligned with their unique skills and interests, which is what this collaboration accomplishes.”

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.