Manufacturers in Muskegon County say they're seeing signs of a skilled labor shortage and that has the potential to impact their future growth.
ADAC Automotive operates three manufacturing facilities in Muskegon. At their newest facility workers make door handles for the Ford F-150. ADAC already employees around 900 workers in Muskegon and finding more skilled workers is becoming a challenge.
Vice president of operations Rick Vandekopple says the company needs to fill 12 specialty positions right now. "We are having more and more difficulty finding experienced people, whether it is technical staff, from a molding stand point, controls engineering, robotics engineering," said Vandekopple.
West Michigan officials are ready to spend $125,000 to study the best way to develop the Port of Muskegon.
The Port of Muskegon project made a short list of projects that the newly formed West Michigan Prosperity Alliance announced it would help fund. The port was the alliance's top priority when members voted on 31 different projects back in October.
"Everyone in the 13-county region felt very strongly," said John Weiss, chairman of the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance. The port is seen by many as an opportunity for shipping agriculture-related goods or even international shipping of manufactured products. "It was really seen as a job-builder for the entire West Michigan economy."
A $4.1 million state grant announced by Gov. Rick Snyder Tuesday will provide a big boost for Muskegon Community College's new Downtown Center.
MCC was one of 18 community colleges chosen to receive more than $21.5 million in funding for skilled trades equipment.
The money will be used for several MCC programs, including welding, machining, electrical technology and manufacturing automation, that are moving into the Downtown Center at the former Muskegon Chronicle building.
Where will people find work between now and 2020? And, more to the point of Monday's economic forecast discussion, how will they get their training?
Economist George Erickcek tried to answer the first question with his long-term forecast for Muskegon County. It will be up to the Muskegon Community College Board of Trustees to try to answer the second question.
Instructors at the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center and Muskegon Community College were recently recognized for excellence in preparing students for college and careers.
CTC instructors Kathy Andrews and Sandy Goodrich received the 2015 College & Career Readiness Initiative Excellence in Practice Award from Gov. Rick Snyder during a conference in Grand Rapids last week.
Andrews and Goodrich partnered with MCC instructor Dave Stradal on a business entrepreneurship class at the CTC last year. As a result 77 students started more than 20 businesses while earning college and high school credit.
Economist George Erickcek presented a largely-positive economic forecast for Muskegon County on Friday, Jan. 30.
Just as he has done for the last 28 years, the Senior Regional Analyst for the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research spoke to a packed house at Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor as part of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce's Business for Breakfast event.
Among the topics of conversation were Muskegon's job outlook, young professionals in the community and how the city compares to similar cities in the Midwest.
On the shores of Lake Michigan, Muskegon was a prime place for health and education workers last year. The town experienced a 6.3% job growth in the fields. Some of the major employers here are Mercy Health, Muskegon Community College, and Baker College, which houses the Culinary Institute of Michigan.
According to West Michigan inventor Gabriel Beversluis, 80 to 120 billion plastic bags are given to customers in retail stores annually.
In an effort to encourage the recycling of the bags and promote money-saving habits, Beversluis has teamed up with a Muskegon manufacturer to produce a unique container specifically designed to do just that.
The BagSavr+ has been in production at Camcar Plastics Inc., 1732 Glade St. in Muskegon, for just more than a year.
Improving the image of Muskegon both internally and externally will top the list of initiatives set by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce in 2015.
The theme, titled "Make an Impression," was announced by Muskegon chamber President Cindy Larsen and new board chairman Larry Hines last week.
In recent years, the chamber has focused on the development of downtown Muskegon and supporting potential entrepreneurs in the area. Both areas will continue to be focal points for the chamber with more than 1,100 business members, but the push to promote Muskegon is one that will likely be in place for multiple years.
Larry Hines knows a thing or two about running a successful operation.
Hines, the president and founder of Hines Corporation, a holding company which owns industrial manufacturers in Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota, was recently named board chair of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.
It's a position chamber leadership has wanted him to hold for a long time, but as far as Hines is concerned, he won't have to do much.
"The chamber is a very well-structured and organized chamber," he said. "So in that regard, I don't have to bring much to the party. It's been in place for 123 years so it's a very well-established organization. They've been doing a lot of things that need to be done for a long time."
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