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Economic Development Since 1999 Contact Us

Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan

Advanced manufacturing providing optimized solutions for improved performance, efficiency and value

Eagle Alloy

Eagle Alloy, Inc. – Part of the Eagle Group of companies - Muskegon, Michigan

Serving a diverse customer base and utilizing lean manufacturing practices; one of the premier steel foundries in the country


Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan

A commitment to environmental sustainability; keeping the health and safety of their employees, customers and communities a top priority

Culinary Institute

Muskegon Area First: Helping Local Businesses Flourish

The Culinary Institute of Michigan - Baker College's world-class caliber culinary learning environment


Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan since 1951

Leading producer of complex investment-cast turbine components for the aerospace and industrial gas turbine industries

Home » Community Resources » News


HOT JOBS Spring/Summer 2013

Several times per year the Michigan Works! Muskegon-Oceana office, in partnership with Muskegon Area First and others, publishes a Hot Jobs list for West Michigan. The list is complied using information from a variety of sources with the primary source being Burning Glass, a service which provides real-time local labor market information. This information paired with Michigan Works! own research and experience gives an accurate snapshot for our area. Local employers are also sampled to verify the information and provide any additional insights into the data.

Click here to check out the Spring/Summer 2013 Hot Jobs list.


Muskegon Market Report, March 2013

The March 2013 Muskegon Market Report is out!


  • Institutional investments totaling more than $156 million - including Mercy Health Partner's announcement of a $97 million expansion of their Mercy campus at Sherman Ave. and US-31.
  • Real estate development professional, Renee Webster took on the role of Interim Director for Downtown Muskegon Now, the organization that markets visiting and investing in downtown Muskegon.

  • The First Advanced Manufacturing Institute class graduates.

  • Updated community employment statistics.

Pure Michigan Export Program

Wednesday, March 27 the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Maureen Lyon presented to a group of lakeshore business professionals regarding state assistance for businesses looking to enter or expand export operations. Follow this link for a copy of Maureen's presentation and visit MichiganAdvantage.org/STEP/ for more information on the program. 


Advanced Manufacturing Institute class graduates

 Graduation speaker: Advanced Manufacturing Institute's first class is 'the workforce we are looking for'


MUSKEGON, MI – A dozen young men graduated on Thursday, March 7, as the first class of the Advanced Manufacturing Institute at Muskegon Community College.

Area leaders and educators hope the start-up program will help prepare the area’s workforce for new industrial jobs requiring more training than similar positions in the past. 

Advanced Manufacturing Institute graduation Thursday, March 7, 2013
EnlargeEdward Beak accepts his certificate from Tom Martin at the Advanced Manufacturing Institute graduation Thursday, March 7, 2013. The institute is through a partnership with many Muskegon organizations and administered by Muskegon Community College. Photo available for sale, please contact Ken Stevens at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if interested.Advanced Manufacturing Institute graduation Thursday, March 7, 2013gallery (10 photos)

One graduation speaker, Maria Gonzalez, summed up the idea nicely: “You guys are definitely the workforce we are looking for.”

During the eight-week class, students covered a variety of topics as an introduction to advanced manufacturing. They learned things like things like reading blueprints, programming logic-controlled devices and logging quality control statistics.

“I knew a little bit about everything on there, but it helped me understand,” said graduate Brent Eskew, 33, of North Muskegon. 

He’s looking for work and he hopes the certificate from the class will help his search.

“It can’t hurt, adding a couple things to the education part of the resume,” he said.

Many businesses report a skills gap between the available workers and the jobs they need to fill. A large part of economic development work has become convincing outside businesses that they can easily hire and train workers in the area, Ed Garner of the Muskegon Area First economic development group recently said.

Gonzalez spoke at the ceremony representing office of state Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart. But keeping a healthy workforce in the Muskegon area is something many area leaders are concerned about. 

For example, the Advanced Manufacturing Institute is a partnership between Muskegon/Oceana Michigan Works, the Employer’s Association, the city of Muskegon, the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, Muskegon Community College and seven area companies.

Most of the students taking the class already had been hired and were sent to the training by their employers, the companies participating in the program. But Eskew and one other student, Muskegon’s Edward Beak, were referred to the program by Michigan Works. Their tuition into the program was paid by Sun Chemical.

“It feels good,” Beak said about finishing the class.

Muskegon Community College Engineering and Design Technology Department Chairman Tom Martin told the graduates that technical courses, while not considered glamorous by some guidance counselors, help land jobs to pay the bills.

“If you get a technical degree, I promise you’ll never go hungry,” he said. “I am a living testament of that.”

The Advanced Manufacturing Institute’s next class is scheduled to begin Sept. 9. For information on how to apply, visit the Advanced Manufacturing Institute's website.

-- Email Stephen Kloosterman, like him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

First AMI class graduates Thursday, March 7

 Muskegon Area First president: First class of Advanced Manufacturing Institute graduating tomorrow is an economic development tool


MUSKEGON, MI – Economic development official Ed Garner hopes a new training program will help sell outside companies on the potential of the Muskegon-area workforce.

Ed_Garner.jpgEd Garner 

Twelve students graduate Thursday, March 7, from the Advanced Manufacturing Institute, a new program that gives students a condensed introduction to working in modern factories.

For the president of Muskegon Area First, it’s a tool for convincing outside companies they could find good employees in the area and easily train them.

“They want to know about your workforce,” he said. “Workforce development and economic development (are) becoming a little bit more hand in hand, now.”

The Advanced Manufacturing Institute is a partnership between Muskegon Community College, the economic development group Muskegon Area First and Michigan Works of Muskegon and Oceana counties.

Area businesses sent students to the class to be introduced into things like reading blueprints, programming logic-controlled devices and logging quality control statistics.

“This program was developed to quickly bring someone up to speed in the manufacturing environment,” said Dan Rinsema-Sybenga, director of business and industry training at Muskegon Community College. 

The program was based on the model of a similar program in Kalamazoo. The 96-hour class started meeting in January and after meeting for eight weeks has been regarded as a success by its organizers. 

A second session is scheduled to begin in early September. Garner said the program could eventually be expanded to include in-depth courses geared for specific jobs.

“There could be other training programs that could be developed under the Advanced Manufacturing Institute umbrella,” he said.

Companies paid $1,500 each to sponsor employees in the training program. Most companies sent their own new employees for the training, although Sun Chemical, sponsored two students who are looking for work through Michigan Works.

Garner said companies can do on-the-job training of employees themselves, but the class is a way for them to pool their resources. He’s not sure if there will be funding in the future to pay for job-seekers to attend the program.

“We do solicit contributions for the program,” he said. “There’s not a lot of money at the state level for training programs.” 

It's becoming harder for manufacturers to find young workers who are familiar with aspects of industrial work, Garner said.  

"Normally, you won't come out with some of these skills out of high school," he said. 

Rinsema-Sybenga said part of the problem are stricter curriculum requirements that schools have to meet.

"The trend at the K-12 level (is that) there's less room for vocational training," he said.

-- Email Stephen Kloosterman, like him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

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