This article is sponsored and paid for by West Michigan Works!

As Baby Boomers reach retirement age, employers are challenged with finding talent to fill openings in their skilled trade occupations–occupations that require specific hands-on skills. Most people recognize construction and manufacturing as skilled trades, but it also includes occupations within industries such as information technology and health care.

West Michigan Works! (WMW!) is working with employers and partners throughout West Michigan to address the skills shortage. The agency brings employers together via industry talent councils to identify the jobs employers need to fill and the skills that are needed for those jobs. Working with partners in training and education, WMW! helps create programs that get job seekers trained and into high-demand jobs. They also connect employers to critical funding to train new and existing employees, the key to finding–and keeping–a skilled workforce.

WMW! certified career coaches work one-on-one with job seekers to explore their interests and abilities. They can connect job seekers to employers with current openings or to training (and scholarships!) to qualify for an in-demand occupation. The agency’s annual Hot Jobs List provides a comprehensive look at the jobs that area employers are hiring for.

WMW! is not only training job seekers for today’s jobs, they’re working to ensure there’s a skilled and diverse workforce for the future. Initiatives such as MiCareerQuest educate youth about the career opportunities that exist in our region’s high-demand industries.

Whether you’re in the market for a new job or a new career or looking to hire, train or retain your workforce, West Michigan Works! can help. Learn more at westmiworks.org.