Pre-packaged food producer Request Foods, a woman-owned business in Holland, MI, is home to over 900 employees and nearly 500 different custom food products – with big plans for growth. Their goal is to expand the company’s West Michigan footprint while providing quality careers and opportunities in the Holland area.

This need came alongside their newly constructed 145,000-square-foot cold storage warehouse and plans to build an 89,000-square-foot ready-to-eat foods manufacturing facility. Company leadership knew they would need to support this growth by hiring 198 employees over the next four years while training current staff for more specialized roles.

Having worked with West Michigan Works! since 2019, Request Foods connected their strategy with the Going PRO Talent Fund grant as an opportunity to bolster their hiring and training efforts.

“The heart of GPTF is to support organizations as they hire, train and retain employees in Michigan.” said Marco Rios, assistant manager of business solutions at WMW! and Request Foods’ main liaison for this project. “Based on their business expansion and commitment to their employees, Request Foods truly fit this program’s purpose.”

Working closely with Mark Zink, the company’s senior director of people’s services, Rios supported Mark and their team through the application process to ensure they were competitive enough for funding consideration.

Their collaborative effort led to Request Foods securing a $204,792 reimbursement award during cycle one of the GPTF 2023 fiscal year. This will help the company fund 88 new hires and train 17 current employees, almost half of the total staff they planned to bring in.

“The impact of the work we do for our communities far exceeds the amount awarded,” Rios stated. “Their commitment to job creation in West Michigan, potential industry impact, innovation, a dedication to quality and giving back to our communities helps make West Michigan a better place to live and work.”

The scale of Request Foods’ expansion, their commitment to West Michigan job creation and the potential industry impact mark a monumental example of GPTF’s contribution to local business due to the scale of Request Food’s planned expansion.

“Request Foods is excited to continue expanding in West Michigan, providing excellent career opportunities for individuals and families who appreciate all that Holland has to offer,” Zink said. “We are extremely grateful for the collaboration and cooperation of WMW! in assisting with our applications for GPTF as well as providing us with talent acquisition avenues to help support our growth.”