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

Work Experiences

Work Experiences are six-week paid employment and training opportunities for youth ages 16-24.

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!

“WMW! staff were so helpful, kind, and supportive….[they] were there every step of the way to provide guidance and support.”

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

(The most memorable moment was) “the participation, enthusiasm, and excellent work ethics of our summer interns.”

As a participating employer, you provide the worksite, a meaningful work experience*, supervision and general employment guidance. Youth learn all aspects involved in maintaining employment – showing up on time, working well with others, following directions, dealing with conflict, money management, as well as the specific job skills they will learn within your organization. West Michigan Works! provides support to the youth to ensure a successful experience for both the youth and the employer.

*These jobs may not be substitutes for jobs performed by regular employees.

Employer Time Commitment:

6 weeks – 10 weeks

Employer Benefits:

Work Experiences provide an opportunity for your organization to complete projects, educate youth about your industry, positively influence youth, develop leadership skills for both your employees and youth, contribute to our region’s economy by helping train the next generation of highly trained workers, and connect with your community.

Interested in becoming a Worksite for our Summer Program? Here is our timeline:

Coming soon.

Job Shadows

Job shadows provide hands-on experience for youth interested in a particular job.

Youth come onsite to shadow an employee conducting their day-to-day tasks. Job Shadows are most beneficial when they are conducted with entry-level positions that the youth would be starting in if employed with your company.

Employer Time Commitment:

4 hours

Employer Benefits:

Showcase your company and your employees, inspire the future workforce to pursue a career in your industry, highlight the skills needed for your in-demand positions, and engage with potential employees.

Talent Tours

Invite youth to observe your operations first-hand. Tours typically begin with a brief introductory presentation about your company and industry, followed by a walking tour of your facility.

Employer Time Commitment:

2 hours

Employer Benefits:

Tell your company’s story, dispel misconceptions of your trade, highlight the economic importance of your industry, showcase rewarding careers in your field, and inspire tomorrow’s workforce to pursue a career in your industry.

lunch & Learn webinar series

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

March 1st Recording

West Michigan Works! Presents Youth Barriers to Employment with Ascend: March 15th 12:30pm

Register here

West Michigan Works! Presents Youth Barriers to Employment with Ascend: April 19th 12:30pm

Register here

If you are interested in Work Experiences, please complete our short Interest Survey