Service Center Delays

Due to the weather, the Michigan Works! Service Centers in Kent and Muskegon will open at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 12, 2017.

2017 Skilled Trades Training Fund Awards

The State of Michigan recently announced its Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF) awards for FY 2017.  Since 2013, the STTF has injected millions of dollars into the Michigan economy for short term training in high-demand occupations. The thirteen-county West Michigan region has historically received the highest award totals and this year was no exception.  Employers in West Michigan have been awarded more than $5.1 million in training funds. These employers are listed below by county. 

ALLEGAN - $628,738 in funding

Bay Valley Foods LLC

Coastal Automotive

Code Blue Corporation

Eclipse Tool & Die, Inc

Ely Manor

Haworth, Inc

K & R Truck Sales Inc

Koops Inc

MPF Acquisitions, Inc

Parker Hannifin Corporation

Perrigo Company - Allegan

Ropes Courses, Inc


Stampede Die and Engineering (Stampede Die Corp)

Trans-Matic Manufacturing Company

Uniform Color Company

Williams Tooling & Manufacturing, Inc

Windenmuller Electric, Inc


IONIA - $11,450 in funding

Metron Integrated Health Systems

Wiesen Inc


KENT - $2,322,325 in funding

Action Mold and Machining, Inc

American Seating Co

ArtiFlex Manufacturing

Autocam Precision Components Group

Autodie, LLC

Best Metal Products

Buist Electric

Butterball Farms, Inc

Cascade Die Casting Group - Great Lakes

Cascade Die Casting Group - Mid State

Challenge Manufacturing - Walker Location

Cherry Street Services, Inc dba Cherry Health

Commercial Tool and Die

Conical Tool

Country Fresh

CQL, Inc

Cresco Solutions, Inc

CUP Acquisition LLC dba Custom Profile

D+M Metal Products

Die Cad Group, Inc

Eikenhout Inc

Elevator Up LLC

Emerald Corporation

Engineered Tooling Systems, Inc

Gill Industries, Bond Facility

Gill Industries, Plainfield Facility

Health Net of West Michigan

Hearthside Food Solutions, LLC (H1)

Hearthside Food Solutions, LLC (H2)

Jireh Metal Products, Inc

Kenona Industries Inc

Lumbermen's Inc

Mark-Maker Company

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

Mercy Health

Metron Integrated Health Systems - Cedar Springs

Metron Integrated Health Systems - Forest Hills

Michigan Turkey Producers, Inc

Micron Mfg Company

NVINT Services LLC

Oliver Packaging and Equipment Company

Open Systems Technologies DE, LLC

Plasan Carbon Composites

Precision Aerospace Corp

Rapid Tooling Systems, Inc

Rest Haven Homes, Inc

SoundTech, Inc

Specialty Tooling Systems

Spectrum Health 

Steel Craft Technologies

Swoboda, Inc

Van Haren Electric

Walker Tool & Die, Inc

West Michigan International

West Thomas Partners, LLC (Gluten Free Bar)

Wilkast Inc

Williams Distributing Co.


MONTCALM  - $76,030 in funding

Federal Mogul

Greenville Tool & Die Co

Metron Integrated Health Systems – Greenville


MUSKEGON - $800,087 in funding

Anderson Global, Inc

Century Foundry, Inc

Dynamic Conveyor

Howmet Corporation (also known as Alcoa Howmet)

Johnson Technology

L-3 Combat Propulsion Systems


Mercy Health Partners

Scherdel Sales & Technology

Fleet Engineers

Motion Dynamics


OTTAWA COUNTY - $1,280,003 in funding

Active Manufacturing Corp

Altron Automation

Baumann Tool and Die

Benteler Automotive Aluminum

Carter Manufacturing Co., Inc

Competition Engineering

Composite Builders

DHE Plumbing and Mechanical

Driesenga & Associates

GNS America

H.S. Die & Engineering, Inc

Herman Miller

ITW Powertrain Metals (ITW Drawform)

Lauren Manufacturing

Magna Mirrors (Holland)

Magna Mirrors of America, Inc. dba Engineered Glass

Meridian, Inc.

Metron Integrated Health System - Lamont

MFP Automation Engineering


Parkway Electric & Communications, LLC

Royal Technologies

Shorescape Investments LLC

SoundOff Signal

Star Crane & Hoist, Inc

Transfer Tool Products



Yanfeng Automotive Interiors

DeWys Manufacturing


NPR of America

West Michigan Companies Receive Over $5 Million in Training Grants

For fiscal year 2017, more than $5 million in Skilled Trades Training Funds (STTF) have been awarded to companies in the seven county region serviced by West Michigan Works! This includes nine employers in Muskegon County that received more than $700,000 in grant funding. The STTF grants are expected to impact 257 current full-time employees and 233 new full-time, permanent employees in Muskegon County.

"This fund is an incredible resource for local businesses to invest in their workforce and increase efficiency and productivity by giving workers additional skills," said Ed Gardener, president and CEO of Muskegon Area First.

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Change to the Food Assistance Program in Kent and Ottawa Counties

Certain federal work requirements for able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49 without dependents go back into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, in Kent and Ottawa Counties.

Able-bodied individuals may only receive food assistance benefits for up to three months within a 36-month period without meeting these work requirements. After that time, they will be required to work an average of 20 hours per week in unsubsidized employment, participate 20 hours per week in an approved employment and training program or participate in community service at a nonprofit organization to continue to receive food assistance.  More information>

$6 Million Grant to Provide Pipeline of Health Care Workers

The U.S. Department of Labor recently awarded more than $111 million in grants to 23 regional partners in 28 states. Grants ranged from $1.8 to $6 million. Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) received $6 million to expand its workforce partnerships in West Michigan.

The funding will be used to provide health care employee retention, recruitment and training. Bill Pink, Dean and Vice President of GRCC’s School of Workforce Development stated, “West Michigan’s health care employers have been struggling to fill positions ranging from entry-level to highly skilled jobs.” Pink added, “community-wide collaboration will be vital to addressing these talent needs.”

GRCC will lead a coalition of education institutions and community groups that includes West Michigan Works! on the project. “Our partnership with West Michigan Works! and community-based organizations will be key to recruitment, retention and employment success,” said Julie Pars, GRCC’s Executive Director of Workforce Training.

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Essential Service Awards: Nominations Now Open!

Do you know someone who goes above and beyond to provide exceptional service? Recognize them for all they do by nominating them for an Essential Service Award today! 

Nominations accepted through December 23, 2016.

Learn more and submit a nomination


LINKED Muskegon: Targeting the Manufacturing Skilled Labor Gap

LINKED ImageA 2015 survey by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute reported that 80 percent of manufacturers believe the growing skills gap will affect their productivity, and this is only expected to increase. Over the next decade there will likely be over 3 million manufacturing jobs needed and 2 million will go unfilled due to the skills gap.

LINKED Muskegon is a collaborative effort in Muskegon County between the area’s adult education programs, the Career Technical Center and West Michigan Works!. During the 18 week program, students work on high school diploma or GED completion, receive training in CNC machining or welding and develop employability skills to prepare them for their future careers.

Ten students participated in the pilot program during the spring of 2016. The program culminated with a showcase where students met with local employers to discuss their experience and skills. Seven of the pilot program's participants were placed into employment and seven received their GED or high school diploma upon completion.

The next showcase will take place on January 26, 2017. If you would like to attend the showcase or learn more about LINKED, please contact Kari Wiersema at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (231) 332-3925.

Apprenticeships in West Michigan

MA Cohort 1 GRCC 061016

In 2015, local health care providers, community colleges and West Michigan Works! launched the nation’s first Medical Assistant Registered Apprenticeship Program (MARAP). The program was developed in response to the growing need for Medical Assistants and an expected lack of qualified talent. The success of MARAP and the increased demand for health care talent has driven expansion and the creation of a new Sterile Processing Apprenticeship Program.
Following a hybrid model, the apprenticeship programs are run by the employer with assistance from West Michigan Works!. “We can market high-demand careers and help with administration, which includes braiding funding sources to maximize the dollars available,” explained Deb Lyzenga, Regional Business Solutions Director. “Employers are seeing the results of the MARAP program and recognizing the advantages of working with West Michigan Works!”

The desire to develop apprenticeship programs is not unique to health care. A consortium of local manufacturers is now working with West Michigan Works! to create a program for Industrial Maintenance Mechanics. Jobs in this field are expected to grow by 29% from 2012 – 2022.

Want more information? Contact Deb Lyzenga at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (616) 336-5148.

Careers in Construction Month

Governor Snyder has announced that October is Careers in Construction month. Michigan is one of 22 states and Washington DC that have made this proclamation. The Associated Builders and Contractors Western Michigan Chapter (ABC/WMC), as part of the Construction Workforce Development Alliance (CWDA), is celebrating the people and the career pathways in the industry.

The CWDA also partnered with the Kent Intermediate School District’s Career Readiness Department and their STEM consultants to connect the construction industry to education during the weeks of October 17 – 28.

Read more: Careers in Construction Month

Ottawa County Teens Learn About High-Demand Skilled Trades Jobs in Allendale

Star Crane and Hoist in Allendale hosted 19 students from the Ottawa County Careerline Tech Center to learn about jobs that don’t require a college degree. During the visit, students learned that 83 percent of manufacturers say they lack skilled workers, which hurts their business. Over the next decade, an estimated 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled, but the skills gap will leave 2 million of those jobs unfilled.

Ellis Luchies, Star Crane and Hoist human resources manager said, “we participated in this as part of our community outreach and support of the West Michigan Works initiatives to help strengthen our state and workforce.”

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