Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Working Group


To be a top 20 region for employment, West Michigan employers must attract, develop, and retain diverse talent. CEOs and other executives must champion D&I efforts within their organization which includes implementing leading practices that build a more inclusive culture.


West Michigan employers are recognizing the importance in diversifying their workforce to meet current and future talent needs, understand business’ evolving consumer bases, and establish new markets. Additionally, systemic barriers exist that have led to unequal unemployment rates across racial groups and a lack of representation of both women and people of color in leadership and management positions. 


In 2017, we designed and implemented four strategies to help West Michigan employers make measurable progress in workforce diversity and inclusion (D&I). The strategies are intended to act in support of one another and continue to be implemented in 2021:

  1. CEO Commitment – Visible and genuine leadership results in successful D&I efforts. Progress toward this commitment is measured by the index/benchmarking survey.
  2. Benchmarking Survey – A practical tool for measuring the impact of a company's efforts, offering comparability by industry and company size data. Fundamentally, it provides community progress measurements, while preserving confidential company details and scores.
  3. Employer Toolkit (PIVOT) – In spring 2018 we launched a dynamic, searchable website of leading practices and West Michigan resources for organizations of every size, segmented by categories found in the benchmarking survey.
  4. Inclusive Leadership Development Events – Events for CEOs and their leadership teams that offer practical methods to advance their organization’s D&I efforts in hiring, retention, development, and company culture. 

  • CEO Commitments Signed

    Screenshot 36
  • Jim Brooks, Brooks Capital Management
  • Jeanette Hoyer, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, Inc.
  • Aaron Jonker, Wolverine Building Group
  • Sara Knoester, Mixed Staffing & Recruiting
  • Candace Matthews, Amway
  • Charisse Mitchell, YWCA
  • Dale Nesbary, Muskegon Community College
  • Jonathan Padnos, Padnos
  • Kent Riddle, Mary Free Bed
  • Mark Wassink, Warner Norcross + Judd
Project Manager
  • Carly Smyly, TalentFirst
  • Blythe Talent
  • Crowe
  • Davenport University
  • EY
  • Ottawa County
  • Rockford Construction
  • Spectrum Health
  • Steelcase Inc
  • Trinity Health