David Shevrin and Wendy Harless| Crain’s Detroit Business
In an effort to find jobs for the long term unemployed, Michigan Works Agencies (MWAs) in Southeast Michigan rallied to contact thousands of these job seekers to inform them of job opportunities and educate them on resources available to prepare them for a successful job search. As a number of good jobs in manufacturing, technology, health care and other industries continue to go unfilled; it is critical to businesses that the region prepares these job seekers for the job market and helps put them back to work.
Southeast Michigan has a wealth of talented job seekers who lost good jobs in manufacturing and other industries over the last several years due to the economic downturn and increased foreign competition. All of these job seekers qualify for Federally-funded Trade Adjustment Act (TAA) benefits which provide them with funding for training in high demand occupations, job readiness counseling and assistance with their job search.
SEMCA, in partnership with Livingston and Washtenaw County MWAs and the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, contacted over 10,000 TAA participants via mail, e-mail and by telephone to inform them that they are still eligible for benefits and to let them know about a series of four special events, targeted specifically to the TAA customers. These events consisted of two ‘Fresh Start Conferences’, an Apprenticeship Day and a TAA targeted Job Fair.”
“The overall goal of the TAA Re-engagement project was to encourage all TAA eligible customers to re-engage with the workforce system for the purpose of capitalizing on the utilization of their benefits, particularly training opportunities.” Said Ruth Sebaly, Chief Operating Office for the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA).
The Oakland County MWA reached out to over 3000 people and created an online registration system to help them determine their TAA benefits and identify their career interests. This information was used to create a pool of prospective employees for area employers. In addition, over 300 businesses participated in a Bizworks event to learn about the connection between economic development and talent development, and to learn about Oakland MWA’s business services and the available talent pool. In addition, OMW commissioned a Health Care Skills Needs Assessment and made a professional video to promote services provided to businesses. Watch video here.
The Genesee- Shiawassee County MWA conducted three outreach events held at different times at four locations in their two county service area. Each event had a particular “value added” vocational emphasis in addition to the information about TAA benefits. GSMW also raised the awareness of TAA benefits available to businesses including On-the-Job Training funds and Registered Apprenticeships.