Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Job Corps
has come a long way from its beginning as a congressional act in 1964. The Gerald R. Ford Job Corps
Center is located
on the former site of Grand Rapids South High School. This local center opened in 1982 as the Grand Rapids Job Corps Center, overseen by the Chicago Regional Office of Job Corps
and operated by MINACT, Inc.
. The center name was changed in 2004 to honor Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States, who was also a graduate of Grand Rapids South High School.
Former community liaison Johannah Jelks said the GRFJC is a generator of social equity in the community, creating a foundation for students to build upon and better their environment. Currently the center has 212 students enrolled, 190 who live at the center.
“When you talk about social equity, you’re talking about students that are starting off at the bottom, who have never had basic training, and what we do is give them 100 percent,” she said. “By the time they leave our program, they have resumes and help with job placement.”
Recently, under the direction of Jeffrey Jablonski, the GRFJC Center has undergone major renovations to improve the male dormitory living space, academic and career technical training classrooms, administrative offices, recreation, and kitchen and cafeteria areas. All renovations incorporated sustainable and renewable energy features, such as green roofing technology, water conservation devices, high-efficiency Energy Star-rated equipment, and designs that efficiently use day lighting. Construction on the new facility was completed in September 2012.
For more information on the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps, visit http://geraldrford.jobcorps.gov/
Matthew Russell is the Project Editor for UIX Grand Rapids.