Human Resources and Technology

Partners hosting technology forum downtown

August 17, 2017
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The Factorh
The Factory, a co-working space in downtown Grand Rapids, hosts coLearning courses. Courtesy The Factory

The mayor will speak at an upcoming event on expanding access to technology training and jobs in West Michigan.

Matt Visser, director of coLearning at The Factory co-working space, said his organization is partnering with Grand Rapids Public Schools, the Midwest Tech Project, Elevator Up and Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss to host a free community discussion called Technology Opportunities in West Michigan.

The event runs from 6-8 p.m. on Aug. 22 at The Factory in downtown Grand Rapids, at 38 W. Fulton St.

After drinks and networking, Bliss will offer opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion about the region’s tech industry led by Bliss, Visser, a representative from GRPS and the co-founders of the Midwest Tech Project, Jonathan Jelks and A.J. Hillis. The discussion will be moderated by Aaron Schaap, founder and CEO of Elevator Up, a digital development firm.

From 7-8 p.m., attendees will participate in an activity, Visser said.

“We will be creating an interactive exercise where each participant will map the needs of companies for training and development, access points for prospective employers looking for tech opportunities and available resources and opportunities within community spaces,” he said.

So far, about 40 to 50 attendees are expected at the event. Those interested in attending may RSVP online until noon the day of the event.

Midwest Tech Project

The Midwest Tech Project was created to connect urban students to the world of technology and the tech industry. The vision of the Midwest Tech Project is to “equip students with the technological skills to enter the tech industry, while learning the process of how to become a successful tech startup.”

CoLearning

CoLearning builds project-based learning communities around technology, design and business innovation.

Through 12-week courses hosted at The Factory, the program strives to move learning out of isolation into collective communities where participants are challenged by professionals and peers.

Elevator Up

Now based in Grand Rapids, Elevator Up was founded by Schaap, founder of The Factory, in 2004 in Holland.

The firm develops websites, web apps and mobile apps for clients.

Elevator Up helped launch the coLearning program in partnership with The Factory.

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