GRCC student to receive state award



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


Jan. 15, 2014 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. A student in Grand Rapids Community College's Automotive Technician Job Training program is receiving a state award -- and a fresh start on a new career.

Javon Brown will receive the DHS Achiever's Award during a presentation at 3 p.m. Jan. 16 in the multipurpose room of the Kent County Human Services complex, 121 Franklin St. SE. The state Department of Human Services gives the Achiever's Award to people who have overcome significant life challenges to achieve self-sufficiency through the Michigan Works! PATH program.

Brown's obstacles included a criminal record and a spotty employment history, but he was determined to set all that behind him when he entered GRCC's Automotive Technician Job Training program.

"He was the first student who passed all four state tests in the areas we study," said GRCC automotive instructor Gayl Beals. "He told me he was going to do this, but I did not think it was possible, so I was excited when he proved me wrong!"

Brown has said his ultimate career goal is to receive the certifications he needs from the National Institution for Automotive Service Excellence to work as a master mechanic in his own business.

"Once Javon successfully completed my class, he formulated a plan on where he wanted to work and he concentrated on obtaining employment," Beals said. "I have high expectations for my students, and it is fun to work with a student such as Javon who excels higher than the goals that I set for him!"

Grand Rapids Community College and the county Department of Human Services are partners in the Partnership, Accountability, Training, Hope -- or PATH -- Program, which strives to move welfare recipients to self-sufficiency and permanent employment through supportive case management. Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.