Over the next three years, Christman Construction and its subcontractors will hire hundreds of individuals for the Mercy Health medical center construction project in Muskegon. A regional initiative is working with these employers and other community partners to recruit, hire, train, and retain talent from the urban core of Muskegon and Muskegon Heights, the communities surrounding the job site.

The initiative, JobReady: Construction, was created to meet the construction project’s hiring needs while creating a workforce that reflects the demographics of the community. JobReady partners Christman Construction, Mercy Health, Urban League and West Michigan Works! came together in the summer of 2017 to identify hiring needs, training options and funding opportunities.  They then worked with community organizations to recruit individuals for the program’s first cohort.

Interested individuals attended information sessions to learn more about the industry and job opportunities. Once enrolled in the program, they completed assessments and work readiness workshops. They were given the option of training towards a USDOL registered construction apprenticeship and/or entry-level, full-time employment. A system of social supports was available to employees and apprentices to increase retention rates.

The project has seen some early successes. Sub-contractor Elzinga & Volkers (E&V) hired one of the JobReady: Construction apprentices. The apprentice recently completed training, is working full-time and is thrilled with the prospect of a career in construction. E&V is equally happy with his performance. Both employer and employee have benefited from the program.

E&V showed additional support for local workforce development with a generous $1,000 donation to JobReady: Construction through their Checks for Charity program. Read more >

“Because of partnerships with businesses like Elzinga & Volkers, West Michigan Works! is able to provide the skilled workers that employers desperately need and connect job seekers to viable careers,” said Deb Lyzenga, regional director, business solutions at West Michigan Works!

The program is now recruiting individuals for its second cohort. Read more>