In an effort to funnel more skilled labor into the Michigan workforce pipeline, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow announced her New Skills for New Jobs Agenda. The announcement follows a statewide ‘listening tour’ Stabenow made with business owners and labor leaders who Stabenow said all lemented not having enough skilled labor to fill job vacancies. 

In response, part of the New Skills For New Jobs Agenda includes promoting existing business skilled trade union partnerships and reaching out to students. 

United States Senator Debbie Stabenow continued her statewide series of workforce discussions in Grand Rapids Wednesday afternoon in an effort to learn how Michigan can better fill the demand for skilled workers. Visiting West Michigan on a statewide “listening tour” the Senator is focusing on professional career and training opportunities for students who don’t choose a four-year college path after high school or workers who want to be retrained for new jobs. Skilled labor is in high demand in West Michigan, especially in the manufacturing industry.

Kent ISD's 'Launch U' program launches in August

Jul 28, 2017

It’s safe to say that most teens probably wouldn’t want to go to high school for five years. But what if they were given an Associate’s Degree and an $85,000 a year job at the end of the five years if they did? That’s what is being offered to students in Kent County, as the Kent Intermediate School District is set to begin the first year of Launch U this August. 

Mark Sanchez
Courtesy photo /

We talk about a manufacturing slowdown and forecast the West Michigan economy for the remainder of 2017. Also, an analysis of drug costs and GVSU's new Design Thinking Academy.

American Seating

American Seating will host a manufacturing day this Friday for Union High Students, a program designed to expand knowledge of manufacturing. We discuss with guests from American Seating

Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 /

Michigan’s monthly job rate has dropped slightly to 4.6 percent.

But it’s not because more people are working.

The one-tenth of a percentage point is because of a shrinking number of people competing for jobs.

The shift in the jobless rate is slight. But it is the second month in a row that the unemployment rate has dropped because the workforce got smaller.

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A Grand Rapids manufacturing facility may close this year, affecting up to 300 local jobs.

Operations at Dematic’s manufacturing plant may relocate to Monterrey, Mexico over a six-to-nine month period in 2016.

A Wednesday news release from the company states closure of the plant is under consideration, citing a need to maintain competitive costs and a “proactive focus on operating scaled production facilities”.

The company says up to 300 fabrication, warehouse, assembly and plant management jobs would be affected locally if the move occurs.