The Beverly A. Drake Essential Service Awards recognize the important role service workers play in our economy. Without those who faithfully fulfill necessary roles, our economy would suffer greatly. These awards shine a bright light on these very special people.

Nominations for the 2023 awards are now closed.


Award Criteria

In order to be eligible for the Essential Service Awards nominees must meet the following requirements:

  • Work History: Must have been with their current employer for two or more years.
  • Location: Must work in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon or Ottawa County.
  • Position: Must hold a non-managerial position
  • Attitude: Must display pride in their job, a positive attitude, a strong work ethic and habits, punctuality and complete work on-time

West Michigan Works! employees are not eligible for this award.


ESA Categories

Winners will be chosen in a variety of categories based on the criteria described above. Here are some examples of jobs individuals may have in each category:

  • Administrative/Office/Nonprofit: Receptionist, case aide, data entry, billing
  • Cleaning/Housekeeping/Groundskeeping/Maintenance: Custodian, maintenance, housekeeper, dry cleaner/launderer
  • Childcare: Teacher aide, in-home daycare, school program staff
  • Food Service: Server, busser, dishwasher, counter staff, cook
  • Government: Clerk, customer service, support staff
  • Health Care/Elder Care: Nurses aide, lab support, patient transport
  • Hospitality: Desk clerk, ticket taker, parking attendant, bellhop
  • Retail: Clerk, cashier, stockroom worker, customer service
  • Skilled Labor: Manufacturing, construction, agricultural
  • Transportation: Bus, shuttle and taxi driver, baggage handler


The Process

Nominations are submitted by employers and community members. Winners are chosen by a committee established by the Workforce Development Board. Once the winners are chosen, they will be notified and asked to complete an application to continue in the award process.

The Essential Service Awards will be presented to the winners at their places of employment. Award winners will also be recognized at an Economic Club of Grand Rapids meeting and receive a gift card.


Meet Previous Winners