West Michigan Works! programs address region's workforce challenges

“Alone We Can Do So Little; Together We Can Do So Much.”
– Helen Keller


West Michigan Works! understands we cannot address our region’s workforce challenges alone. In a time of low-unemployment and continued job growth, we rely on partnerships within our communities to create holistic workforce solutions. Our 2019 Annual Report highlights how our collaborative efforts continue to drive innovative talent solutions in West Michigan.

Working Together on Workforce Solutions

West Michigan Works! is committed to creating a diverse and qualified workforce for West Michigan. To do this, we must:

  • understand the workforce challenges employers are facing,
  • collaborate with education and training providers to develop programs that teach job seekers the skills employers need in their workforce and
  • connect with social service providers to help job seekers remove barriers that keep them from getting and keeping employment.

Here are just a few examples of collaborative workforce solutions that benefited job seekers and employers in 2019:

Industry Talent Councils: Working with employer-led industry councils in advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, construction, health care and information technology, West Michigan Works! identified common workforce and training needs within the industries. Together, we trained individuals to meet today’s needs and introduced the workforce of tomorrow to viable careers in West Michigan.

Integrated Education & Training (IET): IET programs provide an opportunity for individuals to complete a high school education or GED and a skilled labor credential. West Michigan Works! began three new programs in 2019 to meet employers’ hiring needs: a corrections officer training in Montcalm/Ionia counties; a certified nurse assistant training in Muskegon; and a commercial driver’s license (CDL) training in Kent County.

R.I.S.E. Up:  Mercy Health, The SOURCE and West Michigan Works! combined tested and successful practices to create an on-site career center on Mercy’s Grand Rapids campus to advance entry-level employees into higher paying, middle skill roles and bring more people from the neighborhoods surrounding the hospital into entry-level positions. “Outside in, inside up.” Learn more about our retention solutions services.

2019 Results



Number of Individuals Completing Occupational Training


Job Seekers Served


Employers Served


Credential Earned through Training

$1.03 Billion

Wages Earned by Individuals Going through the West Michigan Works! System


Jobs Filled