Local Workforce Development Successes Honored by State Leaders, Workforce Experts

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist Joins Local Lawmakers in Celebrating Local Talent, Career Development Efforts in Northwest Michigan

LANSING, MI (March 9, 2020)— Local talent development and employment successes were among those celebrated by state leaders at the Michigan Works! Association Impact Awards, last week.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, local lawmakers and statewide talent development officials gathered in Lansing on Wednesday, March 4 to recognize local resident Matt McNamara, Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 2, Pathways Adult Education and GST Michigan Works! for successful efforts to provide skilled trades career opportunities to workers hoping to get back on their feet.

When he came to GST Michigan Works!, Matt McNamara was a high school dropout who, after many attempts over the last 18 years, recently completed his GED after overcoming a wide array of barriers. He was motivated to make his family proud and establish a career, not just find a job.

GST Michigan Works! supported McNamara through Apprenticeship Readiness Training, which he completed in April 2019, and was immediately offered a career opportunity. Just a few days after completing his training, McNamara began working full-time as a Mason Tender Apprentice with Schiffer Mason Contractors, making $17.98 an hour. McNamara has since moved on to a different employer through placement by his labor union, Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) Local 2.

“I’m grateful to be where I am in life now, as my future feel positive to me,” said McNamara. “I’m grateful for everyone at GST Michigan Works! for sticking with me. I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve helped me with from start to finish. Thank you all very much! I still have my struggles, but they aren’t anything like they used to be.”

McNamara’s story is a prime example of everyone working together to bring about success for both the employer and the employee, reflecting the demand-driven model.

“Getting your career started can be a daunting task for a young person, let alone trying to do that while overcoming significant barriers,” said state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte). “It’s wonderful that GST Michigan Works! connected Matt with Apprenticeship Readiness Training and helped put him on track to achieve his future goals.”

The Impact Awards hosted by Michigan Works! Association recognize the economic development success being achieved in communities across Michigan. During the event, local lawmakers present tributes to dozens of honorees from across the state.

“Skilled trade employers are in great need of workers who will apply themselves in a way that will help the company succeed,” said state Rep. Ben Frederick (R-Owosso). “I’m extremely proud of Matt and his accomplishments and wish him the best in the future. We are lucky to have local partners like Local 2 Bricklayers, Pathways Adult Education, and GST Michigan Works! helping our young people.”

Award winners included employers, workers, Michigan Works! organizations, and partners from across the state.

Michigan Works! Association is a non-profit membership organization that provides services and support to Michigan’s talent eco-system. For over 30 years, the Association has been the go-to resource for federal, state and local workforce initiatives.

The Association’s work ensures top-quality services and support for Michigan’s talent pipeline. For more information, please visit michiganworks.org.

Find the nearest Michigan Works! American Job Center by clicking here or by calling (1 800) 285-WORKS (9675).