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

It’s Go Time in the Great Lakes Bay Region

It’s Go Time in the Great Lakes Bay Region

January 20, 2021



(MIDLAND) – Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! service centers in Alma, Bay City, Midland, Mt. Pleasant, and Saginaw are reopening for in-person services by appointment on February 1, promising job seekers a safe experience and extra motivation for employment.

That’s because nearly half our region’s workers laid off for COVID-19 reasons are still not back to work – some choosing to stay home for a variety of reasons: added responsibilities of parenting virtual learners, expectations of returning to previous employment, or fear of exposure to COVID-19 to name a few.

At the same time, employers – who have gone to great lengths to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 — are desperately looking to fill jobs. Many were actively recruiting for positions throughout the pandemic — with little luck.

Chris Rishko, CEO, and his team at Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! believe it’s rarely better “career-wise” to choose unemployment over having a job. To help spread that message, Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! is launching an initiative called “It’s Go Time in the Great Lakes Bay Region.”

“Employers are ready,” Rishko explains. “They are trying to fill a wide variety of good jobs. We need to communicate a sense of urgency to our region’s workforce so individuals understand the long-term value of employment over unemployment.”

Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! offers free services to help individuals get started. They encourage jobless individuals to:

  • Go to their nearest Michigan Works! service center by appointment or visit to chat with one of the Talent Experts in Bay, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland or Saginaw counties.
  • Go schedule a career makeover. Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! may even be able to assist with training.
  • Go apply for a job or get noticed at one of many virtual hiring events.
  • Go dust off your resume and learn how to upgrade it along with your interviewing skills.
  • Go engage with others in helpful job search webinars.

Businesses throughout the region echo the opportunities and the urgency.

“There are so many job openings right now that employers are ready and willing to train for,” says Janet Stoll, president and CFO of Chesaning Manufacturing dba Jetool.  “I hear from many fellow business owners that labor is hard to get these days, and that people do not want to work. It is always good to put yourself out there and be part of a growing firm or community. It might not be what you a seeking right now, but it might point you in the right direction to what gives you income and happiness.”

Colleen Markel, MSN, RN, SHRM-CP, manager of workforce development at MidMichigan Health in Midland points to the vast opportunities in health care.

“There are so many industries like ours that have a variety of jobs available for people to earn decent pay with benefits so they can care of themselves and their families,” Markel says. “Even within healthcare, we have jobs available in many of our departments – both clinical and nonclinical – that afford an opportunity for someone to flourish.”

Ed Little, manager of human resources at Bavarian Inn & Lodge in Frankenmuth views today’s job market as a time of opportunity for unemployed individuals to sharpen their skills rather than stay home.

“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” he says. “It’s definitely not better to stay at home just looking for that perfect job. Any job will help you polish your talents and develop new skills which can help throughout your lifetime.”

Though Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! service centers in each county are delivering services in-person by appointment only due to COVID-19 safety concerns, staff are available for virtual appointments, phone consults, and email conversations. The website at offers a series of valuable online workshops to help job seekers prepare as well.




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