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Grand Rapids celebrates Tech Week 2023

Grand Valley State University President Philomena V. Mantella prepares to experience virtual reality technology.
Grand Valley State University President Philomena V. Mantella prepares to experience virtual reality technology.

As Grand Rapids moves toward becoming a Midwestern leader within the tech sector, the community gathered downtown Thursday evening at the Blue Bridge celebrating recent successes and looking toward future.

GR in XR is a preview of what Grand Rapids looks like in Extended Reality.

“The whole intent is really continue to expose more people to more technology.”

Randy Thelen is President and CEO of regional economic development nonprofit, The Right Place.

“More bright minds that are thinking about these things the more likely we’ll have an entrepreneur bubble up and create something special.”

In 2021, The Right Place launched a 10-year strategy positioning the region as a Midwestern tech hub. Its goal, achieving 10% employment within the tech sector. That would require 20,000 tech sector jobs over the next decade. So far, 3,352 tech jobs have been created toward that goal.

Grand Valley State University hosted the GR in XR event. Students designing Grand Rapids future skyline with the help of virtual reality headsets.

“These young learners are tech experts at Grand Valley. They’re already thinking about five years from now, 10-years from now, 20-years from now, what is the future going to look like?”

Stacie Behler is Vice President & Chief Public Affairs and Communications officer.

“A commitment that Grand Valley has made to our community, and to our state really, is to understand that every single graduate that comes through Grand Valley State University has a basic education in digital literacy.”

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.