With Ascend, West Michigan Works! provides opportunities for employers to engage with and prepare their future workforce


What is Ascend?

Ascend, powered by West Michigan Works!, provides opportunities for young adults to explore their interests and build important work skills. With help from local employers, youth gain valuable experience, skills, and knowledge to help them prepare for the world of work!


We love participating in this program, we think it is great for giving youth work experience and helping our staff improve their training skills.


Are you a youth looking to join this program?

Learn more


Work Experiences

Introduce the next generation of workers to your organization! As a work experience employer, you provide the worksite, a meaningful work experience, supervision and general employment guidance.

West Michigan Works! provides support to employers and youth to ensure a successful experience, while employers teach youth job skills specific to their organization. These jobs may not be substitutes for jobs performed by regular employees.

Work experiences provides an opportunity for an organization to complete projects, educate youth about their industry, positively influence youth, develop leadership skills for both employees and youth, contribute to the regional economy, and connect with the community.

Work Experiences are for youth ages 14-24 and are paid for by West Michigan Works!, not employers.

Summer Work Experience

Summer work experiences connect employers with the Ascend 2024 Summer Youth Career Readiness program. As well as teaching youth job skills, an employer will partner with Ascend to help youth learn all aspects of maintaining employment — soft skills such as showing up on time, working well with others, following directions, dealing with conflict and money management.

The estimated time commitment for an employer is six to ten weeks to participate in this six-week employment and training opportunity for youth.

Ready to learn more?

Step 1: Complete an interest form.

Step 2: Determine a youth’s summer responsibilities and your scheduling needs, then identify the youth’s supervisor.

Already signed up?

Click Here to find Ascend Worksite Resources.


Fall or Spring Work Experience with MICareer Launch

Train and mentor an Ascend youth program member during the Spring or Fall of 2024 by facilitating a work experience for a MICareer Launch graduate.

MICareer Launch is a six-week, 20 hours per week program, paying youth $14 per hour. Employers will benefit from providing work experience to a MiCareer Launch graduate who has completed soft skills training, industry focused career exploration and employability training, and is ready to take the first steps on their chosen career path. 

Are you ready to help prepare our region’s young adults for success?

Learn more about the benefits of working with MICareer Launch program graduates and how to get started. Email Collin McLean at cmclean@westmiworks.org or call (616)-336-8467.




2024 webinar series


West Michigan Works! Presents: Ascend Program Overview – What is Ascend?

Ascend is the youth employment services program at West Michigan Works!. We provide resources and paid-learning opportunities to youth in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties. Learn how your organization can become involved.

  • Look for this webinar to be published soon

2023 webinar series


West Michigan Works! Presents: Ascend Program Overview with Samantha Salter

    West Michigan Works! Presents: The Importance of Mentorship

    West Michigan Works! Presents: Youth Barriers to Employment with Ascend