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Study identifies GRCC's non-credit programs as as economic and talent generator

GRCC work training press conference
Grand Rapids Community College

A new study commissioned by Grand Rapids Community College reveals its noncredit workforce programs yield millions of dollars for West Michigan’s economy.

Grand Rapids Community College President Bill Pink had a question he needed answered: What impact does GRCC’s non-credit, or non-degree programs, have on the West Michigan economy?

In a first-of-its-kind study, Julie Parks Executive Director of Workforce Training explains the value in the data.

First, it makes the community and employers aware of talent generation. “Also, it will be used to help show other companies who are looking at expanding or looking at relocating what we have here in Grand Rapids. How is it different from other places in the country?”

The study conducted by Emsi, a leading provider of economic impact studies and labor market data, determined GRCC’s non-credit programs generated $294 million dollars in Kent and Ottawa Counties attracted to the region by the community colleges training that it says affected roughly 3,000 jobs. Its non-degree programs also generated $130 million in added income. 

It also answers how GRCC is preparing students to be successful in careers. “And what I hope it also does is shows parents that there are other career options than just bachelor’s degree routes. That if a student doesn’t know what they want to do that they could start in a job training program, figure out what they want to do and not have any tuition or very low tuition. Not have those big loans that you always hear about. Figure out your pathway before you spend the money.”

As for GRCC’s degree programs, a 2017 study revealed those generated $447 million for the Kent and Ottawa County economies.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.