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. Enhancing education and skills

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

Many, including policy makers and employers, are looking to Talent 2025 to provide possible solutions. In 2018, our objective is to recommend a set of solutions to address these barriers, to ultimately increase the number of individuals in the workforce and percentage of working households above a ALICE survival level budget. 

  • Households Below ALICE Threshold

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

    Wg Data Wfd 2 A
Participants
Co-Chairs
  • Dan Barcheski, Axios HR
  • Kevin Bassett, Spectrum Industries
  • Kathy Crosby, Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids
  • Bob Currier, Shape Corporation
  • Fred Keller, Cascade Engineering
  • Mark Lancaster, Employment Group
  • Mark Peters, Butterball Farms, Inc.
  • Bridgett Tubbs-Carlon, AppleTree Learning Centers
  • Phillip Weaver, Hope Network
  • John Wilson, Western Land Services
Project Manager
  • Tammy Britton, Talent 2025
Members
  • Butterball Farms, Inc.
  • Cascade Engineering
  • City of Grand Rapids
  • Corporation for a Skilled Workforce
  • Food Bank Council of Michigan
  • Godfrey-Lee Public Schools
  • Grand Rapids Community College
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Hope College
  • Hope Network
  • Kent Intermediate School District
  • Lakeshore Adult Learning
  • Literacy Center of West Michigan
  • Mercy Health
  • Metrics Reporting, Inc.
  • Michigan Works!
  • Orchard View Public Schools
  • Ottawa Intermediate School District
  • Proos Manufacturing
  • State of Michigan
  • State of Michigan Workforce Development Agency
  • The SOURCE
  • United Way
  • W.E. Upjohn Institue
  • West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • WSI