Promoting skilled trades, Geek Group offers scholarships to GRCC students

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) students who are enrolled in a Workforce Development Program will now have access to a 50 percent scholarship for a six-month membership program to the Geek Group.

As members of the Geek Group, students will have access to a state-of-the-art machine shop, wood shop, electronics lab, rapid prototyping lab, vehicular sciences lab, computer lab, high voltage lab, and a robotics lab.

Josh Spencer, director of development at the Geek Group, says this is the first time the Geek Group has had a formal relationship with a college. "The Workforce Development program has been bringing students through (the Geek Group labs) as they neared graduation so they knew it would be good fit."  

Spencer says students will benefit from the non-structured learning environment at the Geek Group where they can work in the labs on their own time and at their own pace. "Colleges are set up to handle classes," he says. "You can't go back to the college and work on their own with the machines."

GRCC's Workforce Development Department includes the following programs: Automotive Technician, Computer Support Technician, Construction Electrician, Green Construction Remodeling, Introduction to Construction, Machinist/CNC Technician, Residential Construction, and Welding/Fabrication Technician.

Spencer says area employers have been very supportive of the work being done at the Geek Group. "Local employers have job needs for machining and construction trades," he says. "They need skilled workers now and also want to get the next generation more interested in skilled trades."

Information regarding the Geek Group is available at http://thegeekgroup.org/.  Additionally, the Geek Group hosts free tours of their Leonard Street Labs facility (902 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids MI 49504) every Saturday starting at 12:30 PM.

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor