GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A residential trade school is launching in Grand Rapids to teach Catholic men how to become technical experts in a skilled trade.
Harmel Academy of the Trades’ first class will begin studying in the fall of 2020 at Kuyper College, 3333 East Beltline Avenue NE.
It will offer an Associates Degree-level certificate in Machine and Systems Technology. The state-of-the-art trade curriculum will focus on full-systems within a manufacturing, machines and facilities environment, according to Harmel Academy’s website.
It’s designed to address the regional skills gap by intergrating the Catholic curriculum and internships with the hiring needs of local manufacturers.
Brian Black, President and Co-Founder, has worked as a tradesman and as General Manager at Grand River Builders. “A regular conversation I have with other contractors,” he says, “is about the labor shortage, and how young men don’t see all the great opportunities in the trades. And it seems that the deeper question that needs to get answered is about why we work, not just how to work.”
Kuyper College will support the startup of Harmel Academy through a lease arrangement that will provide access to housing, food service and other facilities. The two institutions will remain independent, but will share a practical, work-oriented education with a Christian emphasis.
Kuyper College President, Dr. Patricia Harris commented, “As a Christian college celebrating 80 years of God’s faithfulness, we appreciate the opportunity to host and help enable this new institution that believes, like us, in the value of practical educational experience, from a faith-based perspective.”
Micron Manufacturing in Grand Rapids has helped steer the program development at Harmel Academy. Says Micron president Mike Preston, ““We are excited to support Harmel Academy in focusing not only on trade skills, but on character building with a Catholic centered curriculum.”
Harmel Academy of the Trades was founded in 2017, and received its tax-exempt status from the IRS. It is planning accreditation through the ACCSC, but will not be accredited for the initial years, according to a Harmel Academy news release.