Help wanted…tools and resources from Michigan Works! - Part 1 of 2

With the tight supply of talent, MI Works has tools that can help attract and retain employees.

A problem felt in almost every community is how their local businesses can fill their employment needs and how to retain those employees.

At a recent regional Downtown Development Authority forum, hosted by Michigan State University Extension partner Northern Lakes Economic Alliance and Regional Planning Organization Networks Northwest, Harold “Buck” Love, Business Services Coordinator for Northwest Michigan Works! led the discussion to share trends they are seeing and tools DDAs can share with their businesses to attract and retain employees.

Love began with the advice to “manage expectations in this tight labor market.” Unemployment rates have fallen from double digits in 2013 down to only about 4% currently. Trends are showing a decline in job fair attendees, but other options exist to tap into the job seeker market.

Two of the top job seeker sources include and Michigan Works! requires all job seekers to have their profile on and most include their resume as well. There is no cost to use the MItalent site to list your jobs. According to Love, “employers need to write an engaging job description that demonstrates the workplace culture and peaks the interest of a potential candidate.” A well-written job description can set your company apart from hundreds of others no matter where you are posting them. 

Michigan Works! also, partners with Traverse Magazine’s MyNorth website to feature “hot jobs” to attract people to the area by showcasing the live, work, and play opportunities in the area. The jobs are posted on the website as well as featured in the MyNorth eblasts, spreading out to people who are interested in all aspects of the Northern Michigan lifestyle. Michigan Works! is also utilizing the NLEA Hot Jobs link to show real life examples of area options along with salary ranges and required education.

Businesses should keep in contact with the Business Liaison for their area for assistance with addressing these challenges and needs. Working with their Career Advisor counterparts, the liaisons share leads of job seekers to make matches with potential employers. Liaisons can also help facilitate hiring events and provide knowledge of on-the-job (OJT) training dollars for new or existing employees.

Michigan State University Extension has had a unique relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to state-wide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.” 

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