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Region Looks to Add 5,500 Jobs by 2016

Posted at 4:11 AM, Jan 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-23 06:49:21-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.–  They’ve exceeded expectations before, now a new strategic plan for the future of West Michigan expects to do the same.

The Right Place, Inc. an organization that works to advance West Michigan’s economy, announced a new three-year plan for economic development Wednesday.

Information technology and communication are among five sectors that will be focused to grow. And Open Systems Technology, on Grand Rapids west side, is seeing that now.

“One of our most rapidly growing areas is application development practice which does custom business application,” explains Tamara Iakiri, talent acquisition with OST. “We also have data center solutions, security so we are pretty  broad.”

Agribusiness, manufacturing, commercial design and biotechnology also expected to contribute to creating 5,000 new jobs and hundreds of millions in new capital in West Michigan by 2016.

“Our initial expectations when we set our strategic plan in 2008/9 was for 5000 new jobs, $170 million in new payroll and $500 million in new investment,” said Birgit Klohs, President and CEO of The Right Place.

“We did 11,000 new jobs, almost $800 million in new investment and $371 million in new payroll, so we blew way past those expectations and our metrics for the next three years are equally as aggressive.”

“West Michigan is a very easy place to sell,” said Dan Behm, President and CEO of OST. “We are finding we have to go outside of GR to attract talent and young people love it here.”

From projects that include the Empire State Building, to opening their first European office, OST knows it will have no problem helping fill some of those 5,000 jobs.

“We are going through major growth.”