May 18, 2023

Education, Business and Community Leaders Launch CareerPrep 2030

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A group of more than 40 area leaders in education, business and community are creating a vision and plan for the future of Kent ISD students and the West Michigan economy through career tech education. The CareerPrep 2030 vision committee began its work today to build a plan to prepare and train students for careers in West Michigan, attract businesses to develop and grow in our community and prepare the workforce to fill current and expected employment vacancies. With area unemployment at an all-time low, the greatest limiting factor on growth is the supply of talent.

 “Because education is the key to creating a strong and prepared workforce in our community, we invited the CareerPrep 2030 committee to Kent Career Tech Center to begin our work together to develop and expand robust opportunities for our students to meet future demands,” said Ron Koehler, Kent ISD Superintendent and Co-Chair of CareerPrep2030.

Randy Thelen, President & CEO of The Right Place, Dr. Scott Korpak, Superintendent of Northview Public Schools and Chris Bardeggia, Vice President of Global Quality at Steelcase and Chair of the West Michigan Manufacturing Council also serve as co-chairs for the committee. “The struggle to find, develop and retain employees in West Michigan is real and will not get better without intentional action,” said Thelen.  “ Connecting employers and educators to help train and prepare students for future career opportunities is the perfect place to start.”

While six out of every ten students who graduate from Kent area schools are in college one year after graduation, information about the other four is not known. For many of those students, career exploration and training can provide direction and clarity on how their education will benefit them in the future. The goal of the visioning committee is to double the percentage of students who participate in career exploration and training by 2030. Work on the plan is expected to continue over the next several months.

Please direct media inquiries to Joy Walczak, Kent ISD Communications Specialist at or 906.632.6290.