Rob Wright, a 42-year-old father of one, was struggling to get by on a minimum wage job when he decided to enroll in Pathways to Prosperity, a federally funded program at Grand Rapids Community College that aims to prepare low-income residents for jobs in fields such as renewable energy.
Today, he’s making good money repairing and maintaining wind turbines throughout the country, a skill he learned after several months of training he received through the program about two years ago.
“I spent two years on the unemployment line and another year after that making minimum wage,” Wright, a Grand Rapids resident, said. “It’s a big relief to be able to say I’ve got a job that I can afford to live on and has advancement possibilities. It’s not just another dead end job.”
Administrators at GRCC are pointing to the achievements of people like Wright as Pathways to Prosperity expands. It’s now allowing residents from Kentwood and Wyoming to participate in the program. Previously, only city of Grand Rapids residents qualified.