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Serving Bay, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, & Saginaw Counties

Employment and Unemployment

Employment and Unemployment

These two words mean two very different things. And it’s the way Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! and its counterparts around the state have fought to distinguish ourselves from the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) for decades. UIA helps people with unemployment. Michigan Works! helps people with employment. So why did we choose to assist some of our region’s most frustrated citizens with their unemployment claims during the pandemic?

Because it was the right thing to do for them and the right thing to do for you, our region’s employers.

We could have chosen to sit by and watch. Instead, we approached UIA and asked for some training so we could help out a system that was clearly suffering under a demand no one could have imagined. We saw people who needed help but we also saw a very large pool of potential job candidates for our region’s employers – many of whom we have never had the opportunity to engage with ever before.

So, because our own service centers were closed down for normal operations, we started helping people resolve unemployment claims. And we got very good at it. So good, in fact, that our phone numbers were being published – even sold – on social media to frustrated unemployment claimants statewide!

During one three-day period in mid-June, we received 30,000 phone calls all related to unemployment. Our phone lines – clearly not designed for this kind of call volume – were jammed, making outgoing calls difficult as we were also serving our employer customers trying to post jobs and hire new teams as they re-opened! The web chat feature we added to our website became backlogged with requests.

But here’s the thing…as good as we were at helping with unemployment, we are even better at employment. If you’ve never had the opportunity to interact with us, please do. Our Let’s Get Back to Work initiative has brought us together with many new and returning business customers ready to fill open positions, to access training funds when available, to explore apprenticeships and other grow-your-own programs, and to create on-demand short-term training programs to remain competitive.

We invite you to get to know us better. Our services are free and designed to make you more competitive by reducing the time, money and hassles associated with recruiting, hiring and retaining great talent for your business.

Learn more about our Employer Services and reach out to us today.

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