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Ottawa County Michigan Works!


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 2, 2014

How Many More Snow Days 'Till February?
27th Annual Walk For Warmth - Save The Date and Poster Contest

Contact

Mike Stock, Organizer, Walk For Warmth, (616) 638-8502
Paula Huyser, Program Supervisor, Ottawa County Community Action Agency, (616) 494-5499

The 27th Annual Walk For Warmth will take place Saturday, February 7 at 8:30 am. The Walk For Warmth is an ongoing campaign as well as a walking event that begins and ends at City On A Hill, 100 Pine Street in Zeeland.

The Walk For Warmth campaign and event is organized by the Ottawa County Community Action Agency and raises money for families in Ottawa County, Michigan who have received a shut-off notice from their utility company. Last year funds from the Walk For Warmth assisted nearly 400 households. Participants on the day of the event number up to 300.

"We are largely dependent upon the Walk For Warmth campaign," says Paula Huyser, Program Supervisor for Ottawa County Community Action Agency. "If we and our customers had only in-house funding to rely on, we would be out of funds prior to the end of the heating season, and those 400 or more households coming to us would not have their heat kept on. We need the community's input on this and we are always grateful for individual and corporate response."

To help promote the Walk For Warmth event several area high schools are participating in the Walk For Warmth poster contest which will be juried by Holland's Murdoch Marketing. "We're happy to be a part of this worthwhile event," says Tom Murdoch, Partner. "Working with emerging high school talent in tandem with a great cause is very rewarding. We encourage the students to express themselves through their art and community spirit." Schreur Printing of Holland Township will print the poster as a donation towards the campaign.

Participating schools include Holland High School, Holland Christian High School, and Zeeland High School - East and West.

The Walk For Warmth event takes place Saturday, February 7, 8:30 am, City On A Hill, 100 Pine Street, Zeeland. The Walk itself is a 2-mile, well-marked route around downtown Zeeland. Guest speaker is Karen McPhee, Superintendent of the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District. The general public is welcome. Registration is free, donations are encouraged. Lemonjello's will provide coffee, Ottawa County Red Cross will dispense hot chocolate outside halfway around the walking route.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, May 16, 2014

Local Organzations & Businesses to Host Event in Hudsonville for Laid Off Lamar Construction Employees

Contact

Bill MacDhubhain, Team Supervisor for Employment and Readiness, Ottawa County Michigan Works!, (616) 494.8826, Cell: (616) 808-1541.

Ottawa County Michigan Works!, in partnership with several state and local organizations and businesses, will host an informational and service event for all workers recently laid off by Lamar Construction Inc. located in Hudsonville, Michigan. All former Lamar Construction employees from the Hudsonville facility are invited to attend this event on Monday, July 21st , 9 AM to 12PM at Hudsonville High School Cafeteria,  5037 32nd Ave, Hudsonville, MI 49426. 

This event will assist workers in preparing for their future job search activities and will include: procedures for filing an unemployment claim, assistance for preparing a resume and the interview process, and the opportunity to meet with local construction businesses currently seeking experienced and skilled workers. 

“We hold these types of events in partnership with state and other agencies whenever a large layoff takes place in our region to help the displaced workers become properly connected with the employment services that are available to them at Michigan Works and other agencies,” said Bill Raymond, Executive Director of Ottawa County Michigan Works!.  “Since the announcement of Lamar Construction’s closure, we have received numerous inquiries from local companies expressing an interest in connecting with this displaced labor force. We have also been gratified by the response of other local organizations who would like to reach out to assist these workers.”   Other partners in this event include the Hudsonville Chamber of Commerce, Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce, Lakeshore Advantage, Associated Builders and Contractors Western Michigan Chapter, Lakeshore Homebuilders Association and Hudsonville Public Schools. 

Former Lamar employees are invited to contact Michigan Works to sign up in advance for this event at (616) 396-2154. 

Construction businesses interested in connecting with these affected workers at the event should call (616) 494-8835 to register.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ottawa County Michigan Works! in Grand Haven to Relocate

The Ottawa County Michigan Works Service Center in Grand Haven will relocate to a new location in June.   

Its new office will be located at the Grand Haven Central High School building at 106 S. 6th St. near downtown Grand Haven, with a customer entrance located on Clinton Avenue.  The new location is designated as a Michigan Works Satellite Office, and shall continue to provide basic employment readiness and business services to job seekers and local employers. 

The Service Center is closing its current site at the D&W Shopping Plaza in response to a decreasing demand for services due to the continued improvement in the local economy, but also to leverage resources with other local agencies to deliver quality services to area residents.  “We are very excited about our new partnership with Central High School and Grand Haven Area Public Schools,”  says Joel Westmaas, Ottawa County Michigan Works Program Supervisor, “Co-locating our services at their Central High School facility is an excellent way for us to streamline our operational costs and continue to provide high quality service to our customers, but it also provides us an opportunity to collaborate with Central High and other educational agencies .  For example, we will share our spaces with Central High’s existing GED testing program”
“We are looking forward to occupying our new offices,” says Jennifer VanVoorst, Employment Readiness Representative in Grand Haven, “It will be an excellent environment for our customers for job searching and our other employment readiness services.  Our services will continue to be available to all residents who are in need of assistance.”

The new Satellite Office will be much closer to downtown Grand Haven.  “It was worth the move,” says Bill Raymond, Executive Director. “There is real value in streamlining our operational costs to allocate more funding directly to our customers, and still provide the convenience of a local site to area residents.” 

The current Grand Haven site will remain open through Wednesday, May 28th and then close for moving.  The new Satellite Office will open to the public on Wednesday, June 11th.  New hours are Wednesday through Friday,  8 – 5 PM, closed between noon and 1 PM.   The new phone number for this site is (616) 850-6862, Fax (616) 850-6824. 

Michigan Works Services for Grand Haven area residents will be available between May 29th and June 10th at the following area Michigan Works Service Centers:  Holland - 121 Clover Street, (616) 396-1620 and Muskegon – 316 Morris Avenue, #300, (231) 724-6381.  Additionally, the following Grand Haven area location will be open on Wednesday June 4th and Thursday, June 5th, 10 am – 2 pm for customers to complete the Unemployment Claim “Register for Work” process and other basic services at St. Patrick’s Church, 920 Fulton Street, Grand Haven. 

Contact

Bill MacDhubhain, Team Supervisor for Employment and Readiness, Ottawa County Michigan Works!, (616) 494.8826.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Walk For Warmth Draws Largest Crowd - Saturday’s Event Brings Total To $12,500

More than 260 people came together last Saturday at City On A Hill in Zeeland, MI for the 25th annual Walk For Warmth, organized by Community Action Agency.

The campaign raises money to assist families in Ottawa County that have received a shut-off notice from their utility company. With this winter’s long bouts of cold weather as well as a shortage of propane, the event was especially timely.

“I understand the hardship of being without heat,” said Representative Bill Huizenga (R) 2nd District. “I represent people from this area all the way up to Ludington, and many of them are having problems getting propane…I am doing everything I can to resolve that issue.”

Bill Raymond, Executive Director, Ottawa County Community Action Agency / Michigan Works! said, “You’re going to look back on this winter as being one of those you remember forever – the snowiest, the coldest. Real winter. That’s what this event is all about – helping people who are cold in their homes, to get warm again.”

Special guest speaker, Virg Gulker, Hope College professor, spoke of the compassion it takes to help out those who are less fortunate. “Most of the households that Walk For Warmth assists have minor-aged children. Parents put them to bed with jackets on, they wake up with jackets on – how do you bathe your children, feed your children, when you’re so cold you can’t even think?”

Many of the participants came from the Zeeland High School and Zeeland Christian High School Spanish Programs as well as Zeeland F.I.R.S.T Robotics. There were corporate walking teams from Consumer’s Energy, Sherwin Williams, and NuPath Credit Union, and a number of people from Ottawa County Michigan Works!.

Donations are down from the last several years, however event organizers are satisfied by the turnout. “This event is definitely about increasing Community Action Agency’s ability to help people with their utility bills,” says Mike Stock, event organizer, “but it’s also about raising awareness of Community Action Agency. The fact that we have so many participants who come back each year, as well as the elected officials who have the Walk automatically recur on their calendars proves this event is essential to the agency, its customers and to the community.”

Last year Community Action Agency was able to assist over 6,000 homes throughout Ottawa County through its complete range of programs, including utility assistance.

Donations are still being accepted at Community Action Agency, 12251 James Street, Suite 300, Holland, MI 49424 Attn: Walk For Warmth.

Contact

Mike Stock, Event Organizer, (616) 638-8502
Bill Raymond, Executive Director, Ottawa County Community Action Agency / Michigan Works!, (616) 494-3400

Thursday, February 3, 2014

New Program Bridges the Skill Gap between Businesses and Job Seekers

Ottawa County has been awarded a total of $1,306,767 as part of the Skilled Trades Training Fund initiative, a program designed to enhance and promote economic growth and sustainability. Ottawa County Michigan Works! was instrumental in bringing these funds locally and promoting the need for skilled trades training for area businesses.

As the economy continues to recover, the Michigan Works! system is increasingly faced with the task of finding new and innovative ways to meet the demands of businesses in need of employees with specific skill sets.  To meet these needs the Skilled Trades Training Fund, or STTF Program, was created.  The program’s objective was to provide eligible participants with the training and skills required to fill positions and ultimately allow businesses to expand their organizations in a way that contributes to the local and state economy. Funding focused on those businesses which are currently providing jobs in skilled trades including industrial, construction, and skilled service. 

Leading the state, West Michigan received 37% of all funding for this initiative. Ottawa County received $1,306,767, 15.8% of the total funding awarded. Twenty-four separate proposals were approved and Ottawa County received funding to train a total of 1,420 participants resulting in 1,318 jobs retained and 102 immediate jobs created.  An additional 294 jobs are to be created in the next 6 months.   Twenty-four companies in Ottawa County will share nearly $1.3 million in grants, among the largest are Gentex, Herman Miller, and GHSP.

Ottawa County Michigan Works! partnered with several agencies including Thompson M-TEC, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Haven Chamber of Commerce, and Lakeshore Advantage on this project.  These agencies worked to identify potential businesses for which training funds would benefit and with businesses to develop up-to-date training modules that promoted job retention and creation.

“The program ensures Michigan’s employers have access to the talent pipeline they need to compete and grow, and participants have the skills they need for in-demand jobs,” MWDA Director Christine Quinn said in a news release.

The STTF program was designed to reduce unemployment levels by supporting businesses’ needs in an ever-changing economy.  Ottawa County has greatly benefitted from this program and continues leading the state in economic recovery and advancement.

Contact

Angie Barksdale, Program Supervisor, Ottawa County Michigan Works!, (616) 494-3402

Thursday, January 10, 2014

Delightful Poster Wins Contest

Ottawa County Community Action Agency is in the midst of organizing its 25th annual Walk For Warmth. The Walk For Warmth raises money to help families and individuals in Ottawa County pay their utility bill if they have received a shut-off notice. For the 5th year the Walk For Warmth has held a poster contest to help promote the event. High school art students county-wide submit designs to professionals in the design field. This year the Holland creative agency, The Image Group, judged this year's design submissions and has chosen the design of Alyssa Collins of Zeeland West High School as the winner.

"We were very happy to be involved in this community project," says Andrea Beckman, Art Direction & Design, The Image Group. "It's especially poignant since our weather lately has been so incredibly cold! This event is very important and this design is a great promotional tool."

As to why the design was chosen amongst the other submissions, Beckman says, "This poster rose to the top because of its excellence in both artistry and idea—both are critical for effective communication. Artistically, the illustration and poster layout is far above average for a high school student. Conceptually, the image of a cheerful, bundled couple paired with the words "Walk for Warmth," makes a compelling and inviting case for folks to notice and participate in the event. The subtle detail of the illustrated character's hands joining to create the shape of a heart is delightful."

Deb Kemppainen, Art Teacher, Zeeland West High School said, “Alyssa did an outstanding job on her design. We worked and tweaked it quite a bit. As a class we looked at the (miottawa.org/w4w) web site to answer questions such as ‘what is the event, what's it about, who benefits’ in order to get a better understanding of what the Walk is all about.” This is the second year someone from Kemppainen’s class has won the Walk For Warmth poster contest.

Alyssa Collins, Junior at Zeeland West High School said, “It was fun. I just went with it. I started with a sketch then did a freeform drawing from that.” Asked about her plans for the future Alyssa wants to pursue video game art and design when she goes to college.

Alyssa's design will be posted throughout Ottawa County over the next couple of weeks.

The Walk For Warmth will be held Saturday, February 8th at 8:30 am at City On A Hill, 100 Pine Street in Zeeland, MI. Everyone is invited. Registration is free, donations are welcome.

Area Mayors will attend and provide social service-related updates regarding their areas. They will be joined by Virg Gulker, special guest speaker. Lemonjello's will provide specialty coffee and breakfast will be provided by Big Apple Bagels and Zeeland Bakery.

To learn more about the event visit www.miottawa.org/w4w

Contact

Mike Stock, Marketing Specialist, Ottawa County Community Action Agency / Michigan Works!, 616.494.3404
Andrea Beckman, Art Director, The Image Group, 616.393.9588
Deb Kemppainen, Art Teacher, Zeeland High School

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Special Employer Of The Day Event, tomorrow – Friday, January 3rd.

Garden Ridge is opening a new store in Grandville and is seeking it's first new hires! Tomorrow, Friday, January 3rd, Garden Ridge will be on site at Ottawa County Michigan Works! from 1 pm – 4:00 pm, 121 Clover Street in Holland. They are seeking 25 part-time Merchandising Associates, Customer Service/Operations personnel as well as 2 full-time Assistant Managers.

Merchandising Associates, Customer Service/Operations personnel are direct-hire regular employees. Benefits include an employee discount and wages start at $8.25 per hour.

Assistant Managers are full-time, direct hire positions, salaried to work between 40 - 50 hours per week. There is opportunity for advancement, with benefits that include dental, life, medical, optical, paid sick leave, paid vacation, employee discount and yearly bonus of goals are met. High School / GED $32K per year.

Candidates are asked to bring a copy of their resume and be ready for an interview. Applications will be completed online and can be found either at the EOTD event or before at: Gardenridge.com, click on Careers, click on Apply Online, then search for Grand Rapids or click on this link.

The New Year Brings New Jobs

Garden Ridge will also return Tuesday, January 7th, along with three other employers, to Ottawa County Michigan Works! The Employer Of The Day event will include Garden Ridge, Bekins, Meijer of 16th Street in Holland, and NOVO 1 Contact Centers. There will be a total of over 100 new, open positions.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The New Year Brings New Jobs

On Tuesday, January 7, the Holland location of Ottawa County Michigan Works! will host three Employers Of The Day: Bekins, a high-end appliance retailer, and the Meijer store on 16th Street in Holland and NOVO 1 Contact Centers. The OCMW service center is located at 121 Clover Street in Holland, between 8th Street and Chicago Drive.

Meijer will be on site between 9 am – 3 pm. The store has openings for 20 part time cashiers. These positions are direct-hire and the hours are flexible. Benefits commence after a probationary period and wages begin at $7.40 per hour. Cashiers work the register and assist customers.

Meijer also has openings for 10 Utility Workers. Utility Workers retrieve carts, mop, sweep and assist customers. These are direct hire, part time positions with benefits that commence after a probationary period. Wages start at $7.40 per hour; $7.25 for minors.

Candidates will be asked to fill out an online application and be ready for an interview.

Bekins is a high-end appliance retailer with stores in Grand Haven and in Grand Rapids. Bekins will be on site between 10 am – 2 pm. They have openings for the following positions:

  • Store Director – Grand Rapids (1)
    • Exclusive opportunity for a proven leader. Belief in team dynamics, customer service and that quality is in the details. High energy and motivated. Salaried position plus bonus.
  • IT Director – Grand Haven (1)
    • Responsible leading a team and maintenance of servers, networked devices, software, help desk operations as well as the integrated home systems and related software installation services delivered to customers. Candidate will be able to advise of new and improved systems and processes. Salaried.
  • Sales Consultants – Grand Haven, Grand Rapids (3)
    • Dynamic, positive, customer-centric professionals. Excellent training program after hire. Set schedule for work/life balance. Base plus commission.
  • Installation Delivery – Grand Haven, Grand Rapids (3)
    • Quality delivery and installation of high-end appliances and electronic systems across West Michigan. Company vehicles with appropriate tools for quality success complete with an intense training program.
  • Customer Service – Grand Haven, Grand Rapids (3)
    • Assisting sales and service departments, and administrative tasks. Servicing internal and external customers.
  • Accounting Assistant – Grand Haven (3)

These are all full time, direct hire positions with opportunities for advancement. Benefits include dental, life, medical, paid sick leave, paid vacation, 401(k).

NOVO 1 Contact Centers is looking to fill 25 open positions for Roadside Assistance Specialists. These positions are trained to take inbound calls from leading auto club members. These are direct hire, full time positions in a professional atmosphere, with benefits that include dental, life, medical, optical, paid vacation, 401(k). Wages for these positions begin at $9.00 per hour. There is flexibility in scheduling.

Candidates will complete an online application and interview with NOVO 1 representatives.

Everyone is welcome to visit the service centers of either Holland or Grand Haven to create/update their resume, complete online applications and to make hard copies as necessary. Free WiFi is also available.