facebook pixel content

A Year in Review

Looking back at WMCI’s craft trade training progress in 2023 and ahead to the plans for growth in 2024.

“As I think about who and what WMCI is, I am proud that at the core of what we do is helping open doors for people. It’s a gift. I honestly can’t think of anything more powerful to do in life than open doors for other people.”
A WMCI student installs a little library they built in their carpentry class. He's placing it in front of a house in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood of Grand Rapids, MI.

A year ago, WMCI was still brand new – establishing our role as a new construction trade school serving West Michigan. But as we’ve worked hard to add additional high-demand courses, new technology/tools, recruit new expert instructors, and attract/develop the next generation of construction professionals our focus has grown from setting the standard for training in the craft trades to raising it to new heights!

Making it Happen

These were the three initiatives that led our growth in 2023.

WMCI Staff Members celebrating the institute's 2nd anniversary

More Staff

WMCI added staff to meet the demands of the growing programs – 3 new full-time staff members (Kyle Jelens, Merisa Smith, & Jason Roh) and 7 new instructors. This increase has allowed us to add more sections and types of classes to meet the needs of our growing student body.

More Programs

In 2023 we added 6 new craft trade training courses to our course catalog; a trend we plan on continuing in 2024:

We also partnered with Kent ISD to increase the number of high schools that can send their students to WMCI.

Finally, it’s been very rewarding to see WMCI students graduate and get hired (quickly!) in their desired trade by some of West Michigan’s top construction companies. Moreover, we’re seeing many of those same graduates coming back to WMCI as adult mentors for current high school students!

A shed built by WMCI students in the Exterior Envelope 1 course.

More Support

We have seen more support than ever from construction companies and adjacent organizations in West Michigan. From sending students to courses or showing up to talk to high schoolers about company culture and teaching hands-on activities, we are grateful for the construction organizations that walked alongside us to make our plans a reality. We are also grateful for our board of directors who have pushed us to never stop looking for more opportunities to support our students. So much of what we do at WMCI has been made possible by our industry partners.

2023 - by the numbers


High School students in two levels of carpentry courses.


WMCI High School Graduates hired into the construction industry.


Adult craft trade students.

250 (approx.)

Marshmallows used to build towers during Middle School construction summer camp


CORE credentials earned in the Fall 2023 semester.


NEW donors supporting the WMCI mission.

Looking Ahead to 2024

As enrollment opens for high school students in February, WMCI will be adding a high school electrical program to the list of available classes. Students can pick between carpentry and electrical programs. This new opportunity will help local students take a step further into their future in the construction industry. 

To accommodate for the growth between the high school and adult programs, WMCI will begin expanding its building this spring. The expansion will include more classroom and lab space. The largest lab will allow for multiple trades to build off each others’ projects and stimulate real-life construction experiences they will see in the field. One lab will be dedicated to a sand pit so concrete students can practice concrete pours in the cold, winter months.

Interested in getting involved with wmci?

Here are three ways you can be a part of the continued growth:

1. advocate

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is open doors for future construction professionals. Let them know about the opportunities available to launch a successful career in construction.

2. support

WMCI exists because of the generous supporter from those passionate about our mission. Your tax deductible donation helps create new programs, equipment, and tuition assistance

3. Visit

Hopefully the WMCI stories inspire action, but seeing is believing! You and your team, family, or organization are always welcome to visit the institute for a tour.