The West Michigan Works! Workforce Development Board was presented with the 2019 Trailblazer Award in a ceremony in Washington D.C. on Monday, March 25, 2019.  The award, which is an initiative of the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB), recognizes innovation and leadership in developing and delivering workforce solutions in the community.

The West Michigan Works! workforce board was recognized specifically for their collaboration with community partners to provide integrated services and cross-training of staff to maximize resources.

According to the NAWB award committee, “The focus on innovation, customer service and collaboration contributes significantly to the value the workforce board brings to the community.”

“Receiving this award is an acknowledgement of our commitment to the community; the board’s hard work and high expectations drive West Michigan Works! to deliver exceptional services for the region,” said David Smith, West Michigan Works! Workforce Development Board chair. “Our agency leadership and staff recognize that workforce is part of an ecosystem of employers, economic developers, educators and community organizations and are committed to collaborations that meet the needs of our employers, job seekers and the greater community.”

As just one example, West Michigan Works! was instrumental in creating the first-of-its-kind U.S. Department of Labor registered apprenticeship for medical assistants, providing braided funding that allows participants to attain a certificate and a career with no debt and for employers to hire highly-qualified talent.

The agency currently holds the sponsorship for 17 apprenticeship programs.