a leading provider of economic impact studies and labor market
data, analyzed the impact of GRCC's noncredit workforce programs
that offer residents training opportunities for in-demand
careers while building the region’s skilled workforce.
Using data from the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the analysis
Kent and Ottawa counties experienced a $294 million economic
impact from companies attracted to the region or that expanded
existing operations, in part, by GRCC training opportunities,
affecting about 3,000 jobs, in this year.
Past and present students
of GRCC noncredit programs generate $130 million annually in
added income to the region.
Between 2014 and 2018, GRCC was awarded 23 workforce training
grants with an economic impact of about $16.6 million,
representing new dollars brought to the GRCC service region of
Kent and Ottawa counties. The grants will primarily be spent
during the next five years. The independent study follows a 2017
report that GRCC’s credit programs add $447 million annually to
the economies of Kent and Ottawa counties.
“This data shows the unique and vital role that GRCC plays in
West Michigan, and the opportunities our programs provide for
all of the people we serve,” GRCC President Bill Pink
said. “Our noncredit workforce programs reflect tremendous
collaboration with West Michigan employers and community
partners. They also open up a variety of pathways to success for
our residents, from certificates to apprenticeships to training
in their own workplace.”
Pink said the workforce programs are part of a culture of
lifelong learning, with many adults returning to add skills as
technology rapidly changes careers and creates new fields. Many
students also earn certificates in workforce programs then
continue their education to earn associate and four-year
GRCC has partnerships with nearly 421 area employers to provide
noncredit training, with 61 participating in customized training
The college has 17,194 students in workforce training,
continuing education and professional development, and
customized training programs -- up 53 percent from the 2016-2017
school year. Also, 202 students are in 612-hour job training
programs, up 35 percent. Nearly 350 students are in noncredit
electrical apprenticeship programs.
More than 100 people have been trained for Johnson Controls.
Carlos Piggee, a high-performance team coordinator for the
company, said Johnson Controls also works with students
in apprenticeship programs, in addition to those in noncredit
Data used in the study came from several sources, including the
academic and financial reports from GRCC, industry and
employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the
U.S. Census Bureau, and outputs from Emsi’s Multi-Regional
Social Accounting Matrix Model.
Emsi economic consultant Susan Hackett said the
Idaho-based company, which serves clients nationally and
internationally, customized a new methodology to study the
economic impact of GRCC’s noncredit workforce programs. “Those
programs do great things for students and local businesses, but
can be difficult to quantify their economic impact’” Hackett
said. “This project was a great opportunity to continue
developing our economic impact model to fit the needs of
community colleges and stay relevant in today’s economy, and we
hope to replicate this work for other colleges.”
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.