49507 Initiative

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Transforming Community through Education: The 49507 Initiative

Continuing education programs (certificates, industry certifications, associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, and beyond) can transform the lives of individuals as well as the trajectory of communities.

Mission

Calvin University, partnering closely with community organizations, institutions, and employers, will establish vibrant educational programs housed in a Center for Community Education with a specific focus on meeting the educational needs of adult residents in southeast Grand Rapids.

Goals

  1. To use intentional place-based research and engagement to understand the educational landscape for adults in southeast Grand Rapids
  2. To collaboratively design - with institutions and employer partners - a set of unique learning experiences that address the opportunities surfaced
  3. To identify and reinhabit physical space in the 49507 area, which will house community-focused educational programs

These goals are animated by Calvin’s mission and vision, which call us to be agents of renewal and to promote the welfare of the city.

Initial Steps

  1. Forming and reinvigorating partnerships with community organizations, churches, and higher education institutions.
  2. Listening through eight, two-hour focus groups to residents' perceptions of educational opportunities, barriers to achieving their educational goals, industries where they desire to work, and ideas for programs that would help them reach their goals. For details on the focus groups, see our events listed near the bottom of the page. 
  3. Presenting the data back to the community for further triangulation through four data-sharing focus groups.

Focus Area

49507MapScreenshot.PNG

Our focus area includes the neighborhoods of Alger Heights, Baxter, Burton Heights, Garfield Park, Madison Square, Oakdale, Roosevelt Park, Southeast End, King Park, and Southeast Community Action. Many of these neighborhoods are in the 49507 zip code/Third Ward. You can find a map, including many of the area's assets and our partners, here

Upcoming Events

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Meet the Research Team

Have questions or suggestions? Email 49507@calvin.edu



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