Our Priorities

Halfway to our goal year of 2025 to make West Michigan a top 20 employment region, the board and staff evaluated focus areas, choosing two priorities to drive change: Workforce Diversity and Inclusion and Early Literacy.  These priorities encompass several working groups, and each has identified practices that should be taken to scale.

Workforce Diversity & Inclusion Early Literacy

Diversity and Inclusion

To become a Top 20 region, West Michigan must attract, develop, and retain talent that is diverse. This requires employer-led strategies that include diversity and inclusion criteria. The result will be greater economic mobility and participation in the labor force.

Our Strategies 

In 2017, we designed and implemented four strategies to help West Michigan employers make measurable progress in workforce diversity and inclusion. The strategies – CEO Commitment, Benchmarking Survey, Inclusive Leadership Development (ILD) events and Employer Toolkit – are designed to support one another.

CEO Commitment

Visible and genuine leadership results in successful D&I efforts. CEO Commitment pledges ensure employers are taking steps to include D&I in their talent attraction, development, and advancement strategies. These pledges are powerful signals to employees and the community that these priorities are taken seriously.

Download the PDF Form

Benchmarking Survey

A tool for measuring the impact of a company’s efforts, offering comparisons by industry and company size. Data collected helps provide insight into West Michigan’s growing populations of minorities in the workforce, while preserving confidential company details and scores.

PIVOT - An Employer Toolkit

A dynamic, searchable website of leading practices and West Michigan resources for organizations of every size, segmented by categories in the Benchmarking Survey. Utilizing the Toolkit, named PIVOT, will allow employers to improve existing strategies or implement new practices to ultimately create inclusive and equitable workplaces.

Leadership Development Events

Inclusive Leadership Development (ILD) events for CEOs and their leadership teams offer practical methods to advance D&I efforts in hiring, retention, development, and culture. These events deliver new information from industry experts and foster a dialogue about D&I among local leaders.

Is your organization ready to join our efforts?


Early Literacy

Early literacy is critical to improve the level of education and skill in the region’s future workforce. But strategies cannot be limited to elementary school. The Early Childhood Development and K-12 Education working groups have mapped out a plan.