WMU, GRPS partner to offer free dual matriculation program to HS students

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – A new collaboration with Western Michigan University and Grand Rapids Public Schools is nurturing the next generation of doers.

The college offers a dual enrollment program for high school students interested in integrated design and manufacturing fields.

“We found that many barriers for students are time, transportation and cost. What we have done is create that partnership effectively, where there is no cost of materials, no cost of transportation. It’s embedded in their school routine so there’s no extra time commitment,” Kimmy Beuchler, WMU Director of Early Childhood Programs.

Students take classes with WMU faculty and work at the college’s downtown Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Laboratory.

The curriculum provides students with hands-on experience. Upon completion of the program, they will receive a WMU bachelor’s certificate, allowing them to continue their studies in design, manufacturing and engineering.

“They can go to (Grand Rapids Community College) and go into an associate and get it for free because they’re GPRS students,” Beuchler said.

Beuchler added that the program prepares students for the next level by exploring the possibilities, “they don’t go into debt to try and figure it out.”

Students from Innovation Central High School are the first cohort to participate in the program. Jason McGhee, the school’s principal, believes this is a game changer.

“They’re going to have that leg up because they do it as 12th graders, as 11th graders and even as 10th graders. You have an opportunity to have that impact with those who leave high school and enter manufacturing with no experience,” he said. “

“You have experience. You are endowed with experience. This will allow them to be the first to be hired. If you are able to have these kinds of experiences, start changing lives now.”

Innovation Central has similar equipment to WMU’s Amp Lab, although the school didn’t get to use it often.

“We’ve had them for a few years. We got her from a scholarship. We’re happy to have them, but we don’t know how to use them. So now we get the training through our partnership with WMU. Students will actually be able to use the machines,” McGhee said.

The second year begins in spring 2023.

WMU works with other districts to offer dual-enrollment language immersion programs. This is the first time it goes beyond language immersion.

If you are interested in learning more about the dual enrollment partnership, you can contact Kimmy Beuchler at kimberly.beuchler@wmich.edu.

https://www.woodtv.com/news/grand-rapids/wmu-grps-partner-to-offer-free-dual-enrollment-program-to-high-school-students/ WMU, GRPS partner to offer free dual matriculation program to HS students

Dais Johnston

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