GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —
West Michigan Works is known for helping employers fill their talent needs and for helping job seekers find their next role, but they’re involved in something brand new to them. “We were honored to be chosen as one of six workforce boards in the country to be partnered with a national challenge, called the Future of Work Grand Challenge,” explains West Michigan Works chief operating officer Angie Barksdale.
The challenge is funded by New Profit Foundation out of Boston in an attempt to get people quickly back into the workforce. The program provides free training done from home on a smartphone or computer on the trainee’s own time frame.
West Michigan Works hopes to attract at-least 350 people into each of the three fields of training.
The first field, a CNC Machinist program, is aligned with some apprenticeship programs. Barksdale calls it “an intro to a full machinist program,” adding it “will also have skills that are transferrable to a variety of different occupations.”
The second program is around customer service and sales and is aligned with some regional employers that may be in the insurance and sales industries.
The third field is centered around the entrepreneurial space, explains Barksdale. “So if you’re somebody who has maybe a side hustle and looking to maybe grow that into a business, or maybe you’re a small business owner and you need some assistance, that solution is a virtual webinar training, as well as they have an app that helps walk somebody through the steps of putting together the business plan and all the things needed to be a successful small business.”
When the training ends, Barksdale says, they are working with employers hoping to have hiring events and job fairs connected specifically to those training programs. The programs is open to anyone without a college degree, and registration is going on right now with the programs starting in early May. For more information, go to mifutureofwork.org