After Kyle Rondeau graduates from Grand Rapids Community College, he said he envisions himself in a multitude of career paths.

Anything ranging from becoming a craft beer specialist in sales at a distribution center to farming on his own land and growing hops, but they all have one thing in common: beer.

“I just fell in love with the beer culture and what people like about the beer culture here in Grand Rapids, especially,” Rondeau said.

Now, his love for the “beer culture” has him enrolled in the second year of the Craft Brewing, Packaging and Service Operations Certificate program at GRCC.

GRCC is the first college in the country to be federal and state licensed to own and run a brewery and pub that leads to revenues, which Werner Absenger, program director of Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at GRCC, said goes mostly to scholarships for students.

Absenger said the two-semester program (seven weeks per semester) is not long enough to create brew experts. The program, however, can give them a glimpse at what is done behind the scenes in a brewery.

“We are trying to take students who have some level of skills or no level of skills in the craft brewing industry and teach them the very basics of what it might be like to work in a brewery, so that when they go in the brewery or other environments, they are ready for the task that they are given or asked to do without too much additional training,” Absenger said.

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