MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MICH. - The most recent figures available show the unemployment rate in Muskegon Heights at 13.2 percent.
That was in 2015, and city leaders say today it's closer to 10 percent
The rate is twice the state average. It's why the city employees in Muskegon Heights organized a job fair and training event for city residents and those who live outside the community too.
Muskegon Heights leaders pledge to take unique steps to meet community needs.
"In order to rebuild our community we need to get people back to work," said Kimberly Sims, Muskegon Heights Mayor.
City leaders say the event will be held annually. "Before the job fair even started there were people waiting to come in," said Sims. "And to me that is huge, and just to provide that incentive and that hope."
Staffing agency Manpower say the job market in great, with a recent spike in job orders. "From welders, to assembly, to fork-lift drivers, anything and everything industrial," said Holly Schroeder, Manpower Branch Manager.
Some of those jobs are in Muskegon Heights.
Adrian Parker attended Wednesday's job fair. She is looking for a job closer to home. Right now she drives to Holland for work. And the cost of transportation is adding up and taking much of her paycheck every week.
"$70 or $80 dollars a week," said Parker.
Muskegon Heights does have long-time stable employers like Quality Tool and Stamping.
"It gives us a great opportunity to introduce ourselves," said Jay Balgooyen, Quality Tool and Stamping.
Webb Chemical also participated in the job fair. Both companies have openings.
"We just finished hiring four individuals, a couple of them from right here in Muskegon Heights and so we are excited about that," said Brad Hilleary, C.E.O. & Owner of Webb Chemical.
Job seekers received assistance building resumes. And weeks from now city leaders hope the event has some here back in the workforce.
"I got a couple of prospects," said Parker.
And Mayor Sims has this message to any city resident who needs a job.
"Keep looking, be diligent, they are out there," said Sims.
The city is also working to connect residents with education resources that will make them more marketable in the workforce.
Michigan Works participated in the event by helping job seekers put together updated resumes.
The group gave them free flash drives to save that resume for future job opportunities.
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