Workforce Development Working Group

We believe the insights and skills of an array of agencies will facilitate employment entry and support career advancement.

The Workforce Development Working Group believed it was important to get a clear picture of the real people behind the metrics and statistics. To create that picture, we turned to Method and Craft to gather qualitative data and insights into the aspirations and day-to-day challenges faced by adults both in and out of the labor force or working but underemployed.

We interviewed eleven individuals from our area, ages 27 to 60 – representing demographics such as, two single mothers, three veterans, four returning citizens, two persons currently outside the labor force, and three persons for whom English is a second language. 

As a result of these interviews, eleven insights were identified as key barriers. The Working Group found it helpful to sharpen the focus from eleven insights down to three key opportunity areas which were prioritized based on impact. The sharpened, prioritized focus is on:

1. Increasing access to quality childcare options

2. Improving access to transportation

3. Increasing access to quality adult education programs

Recently, we’ve added substance use to the list, a fourth barrier impacting employment for some job seekers.

  • Households Below ALICE Threshold

    Wg Data Wfd 1
  • Prime-Age Labor Force Participation Rate

    Wg Data Wfd 2 A
  • Mark Lancaster, EG Workforce Solutions
  • Janis Petrini, Express Employment Professionals
  • Mike Alcala, GNS North America
  • Jeanette Hoyer, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, Inc.
  • Gene Ford, GW Ford Consulting
  • Robert Von Kaenel, Kentwood Office Furniture
  • Matthew Biersack, Mercy Health
  • Mike Byam, Terryberry
  • Jay Dunwell, Wolverine Coil Spring Co.
Project Manager
  • Alex Andrews, TalentFirst
  • Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids
  • Grand Rapids Community College
  • Michigan Works! West Central
  • Montcalm Community College
  • Muskegon Community College
  • West Michigan Works!
  • West Shore Community College