Launch Manistee receives grant to help fill jobs


MANISTEE COUNTY, Mi. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Groups in Manistee County are working to fill open jobs in the area and connect future employees to those jobs.

On Thursday, specialists with the United State Department of Agriculture Rural Development presented a $20,000 grant to the Launch Manistee program.

The program aims to help students and young workers prepare for jobs and careers.

Coordinators say the grant money will help connect employers with high school job applicants and provide shadowing and internship opportunities.

“I think there is a need to make it more of a system so employers know who to make contact with students know how to access some of those,” said Mary Ann Behm, Project Coordinator for Launch Manistee. “We know a lot of jobs and careers are a lot of word of mouth and who you know so we want to make those process for all those students and businesses.”

The application for that grant was developed by the Manistee County Community Foundation and the Alliance for Economic Success. Both groups actively work to bring economic growth to the community.

Through the initiative called Solutions for Businesses, project coordinators say they hope to act as a bridge for future employees and employers.

According to organizers, the worker population between ages 17 and 22 has declined by more than 17 percent in the past ten years.

They say many businesses are operating short-staffed, so the partnership is key.

“A lot of business are willing to train and bring people in at the ground level but even then it’s a problem for a lot of businesses," said Alan Anderson, with USDA Rural Development. "We all know that whether it's the service industry or manufacturing, almost any sector there is a real need to bring everyone together and get these positions filled."

Tom Amor owns Amor Sign Studios in Manistee. It's a family run business that makes signage and advertising for companies across Michigan and Indiana.

He says his company has several open positions that have become difficult to fill.

“We’ve been going through different networks and agencies trying to hire and advertise but the world of advertising is different these days,” Amor said.

But Amor may now get some help in the employee hunt now that Launch Manistee has received the grant.

“We’re hopeful that the Launch Manistee job search will help us find employees but where we can really use help is getting them trained and get them licensed quicker,” Amor said.

Amor says he has several open positions that need to be filled as soon as possible.

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