GRCC part of Michigan community college coalition for Advance Manufacturing students

Sept. 9, 2016 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College – one of eight community colleges that comprise the Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing (M-CAM) – was part of a historic articulation agreement signing in which community colleges agreed to align transfer credits among their advanced manufacturing programs, a first in the state’s history.

The coalition colleges include Bay College (Escanaba), GRCC, Kellogg Community College (Battle Creek), Lake Michigan College (Benton Harbor), Lansing Community College, Macomb Community College, Mott Community College (Flint) and Schoolcraft College (Livonia).

The agreement supports student mobility, giving them the ability to apply credits earned through an M-CAM program at any one of the coalition colleges, and encouraging continued education and training for ongoing advancement. The four program areas covered by the agreement are CNC/machining, multi-skill technician/mechatronics, production operations and welding. 

“Our partnership in this coalition is paramount to our continued ability to connect students to the educational resources that will help them improve their skills and advance their careers,” said GRCC President Dr. Steven C. Ender. “It’s also important for us, as a college, to remain ahead of the curve in ensuring we’re providing training opportunities that meet the demands of business and industry. This partnership gives us the best of both worlds.”

Bill Pink, GRCC vice president and dean for the School of Workforce Development, noted that these partnerships are critical to facilitating an educational pipeline that helps close skills gaps in business and industry.

“The accomplishments of these eight community colleges is exemplary,” Pink said. “I look forward to the ongoing work with our partners so that we may continue finding ways to align educational resources for students not only in our region, but across the state of Michigan.”

M-CAM was formed around a $24.9 million, four-year U.S. Department of Labor grant awarded in 2013, representing eight Michigan community colleges working together and  proactively collaborating with employers to address identified skills gaps in four key areas of advanced manufacturing. Those targeted for training include displaced workers, the underemployed, veterans, and incumbent workers who require skills upgrading. In addition to connecting skilled candidates to workplace opportunities in advanced manufacturing, M-CAM has also made great strides in developing new educational offerings and training methods, as well as supporting significant upgrades to each college’s manufacturing technology – ensuring students have hands-on training on current equipment and technology.

To date, the results of M-CAM have exceeded expectations, including:

  • Enrolling more than 2,900 individuals – already 10 percent above the 2,700 target for the term of the grant.
  • Approximately 70 percent of those who have completed an M-CAM program are employed.

Of those completers, 75 percent have received a wage increase.

Grand Rapids Community College

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing (M-CAM)

M-CAM represents an unprecedented collaborative approach to accessible and achievable career pathways to support and grow an industry sector critical to Michigan’s economy. M-CAM creates seamless and responsive pathways for job seekers in advanced manufacturing. Its unique approach integrates employers, community colleges, community partners and national credentials. For more information, go to www.m-cam.org.