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Michigan Works helped 935 laid-off workers last year

Published 6:43pm Friday, May 6, 2011

ST. JOSEPH — It was a busy year for Michigan Works in 2010.
The Niles center alone saw 3,376 unique visitors last year, while Benton Harbor drew 7,988 and Buchanan 3,233, Todd Gustafson, Michigan Works executive director, told Berrien County Commissioners Thursday.
The non-profit workforce development organization serves Berrien, Cass and VanBuren counties. Gustafson said Michigan Works serves more than 5,000 employers, 25,000 job seekers and 500 youth annually.
The organization helped 935 laid-off workers in 2010. It also trained 2,413 jobseekers for in-demand careers, like energy and skilled trades, health care, hospitality, adult education and advanced manufacturing.
Michigan launched its Bridge Academy this fall, training at-risk youth who dropped out or were kicked out of school.
Gustafson said it is project-based learning designed to help students find jobs. There are currently 153 youth in the academy and 421 in the adult education program. Thirty-three students have earned their GED, nine have gone on to college and 17 were connected with jobs.
But just like everyone else, Michigan Works is feeling the budget crunch with the down economy.
“We’re doing more with less, and we’re doing a pretty good job,” Gustafson said.

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