Join the movement to grow and keep skilled talent in West Michigan

West Michigan currently produces less than one-fourth of the postsecondary graduates we need. As a result, employers have too many openings and not enough skilled applicants.

To become a leading region for talent, we must increase the skills and postsecondary credential attainment of our workforce. We must accomplish this faster and more efficiently than before. And we must make it easier for more graduates to find promising career paths in West Michigan, so they stay to live and work here.

The good news is we’re developing a solution that we will unveil at a virtual informational session 8 a.m. Aug. 24. The session is open to TalentFirst members and non-members alike: If you are having trouble attracting, retaining, or developing talent, this event is for you.

Join us to learn about the West Michigan Education-to-Employment Partnership, or E2P, a bold collaboration between employers, education and training providers, and community organizations.


E2P is designed to help recent high school graduates and individuals who are unemployed or underemployed to discover, access, and complete skills-based pathways into high-demand jobs requiring postsecondary training.

At the center of E2P will be the creation of a regional opportunity marketplace, which will empower students and job-seekers to:

  • Explore promising local career paths and in-demand jobs based on real-time data
  • Understand the credentials they need and how to obtain them locally
  • Receive wraparound support to complete education and training
  • Apply for jobs on the marketplace
  • Live and work in West Michigan

Generating talent, adding efficiency, increasing retention

The E2P opportunity marketplace will provide greater clarity between education and employment by enabling students and jobseekers to make informed decisions about the return-on-investment associated with each potential pathway.

Abbreviated User Process Map-1

All users leveraging the E2P regional opportunity marketplace will be able to:

  • See which local jobs are high-demand and earn above-average wages
  • Explore what those jobs entail and which local companies are hiring for these positions
  • Identify which local education and training providers have programs intended to develop the skills needed for these roles
  • See which education and training programs qualify for federal, state, local, and/or employer-sponsored funding

Another feature of the marketplace: Current employees can be referred to the platform to explore, enroll, and complete postsecondary education and training programs that align to current and future skill gaps within an organization. This helps maximize the value of employer-sponsored tuition assistance programs.

Why employers have a critical role

E2P is among a group of employer-led collaboratives announced earlier this year by the governor and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “When all stakeholders work collaboratively, Michiganders benefit from the clear paths we’re building toward good paying jobs that offer a better quality of life – it’s a win-win for our state’s workers and employers,” LEO Director Susan Corbin said in the announcement.

Our region’s postsecondary providers, along with Michigan Works! and community-based organizations are already engaged with E2P. And employers are key to its success.

That’s why we are inviting you to join us to learn more about E2P and how together we can solve one of the most entrenched deficits in our region’s talent systems.



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