As the economy continues to reopen, the Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has launched a new “back to work” effort to highlight programs and services that help businesses and their current workforce needs.
The new online resource – Michigan.gov/BackToWork – centralizes programs and services to help employers fill vacancies, provide safe and healthy working environments for workers and meet other business-related needs.
“As Michigan’s economic outlook continues to improve and we return to a new normal, our administration is turning its attention to improving Michiganders and supporting businesses to get them back to work,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “We are looking to the future. By providing tangible resources to businesses that need our immediate help after a difficult year, we are making sure to build back even stronger.
The “back to work” effort comes at a time when the state faces five predominant workforce challenges:
- The demand for workers is high.
- The supply of labor is relatively low.
- Lack of significant salary growth.
- Fear of COVID-19 – Employees will not return to their workplaces if they do not feel safe.
- Lack of child care.
To meet the immediate needs of job providers and the workforce, employers can take advantage of free resources such as the online portal to connect them with job seekers; Pure Michigan Talent Connect and virtual job fairs organized by LEO which can be region, industry or occupation focused, matching job seekers with employers in a remote space.
LEO continues to provide support through the MIOSHA Ambassador Program by providing free education to help employers create safe workplaces without the risk of penalty or potential citation. More than 4,000 companies have participated since September 2020.
In addition, Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits have brought great economic relief to Michigan. Throughout the pandemic, most Michigan claimants returned to work long before they exhausted their benefits – an average of 14 weeks versus the full 20 weeks. Not only are unemployment insurance benefits not a major barrier to the workforce, the program generated $ 64.7 billion in revenue statewide, which helped economic recovery.
unemployment insurance benefit programs such as Work sharing allow employers to return or retain employees on reduced hours. During the pandemic, Michigan had the No. 1 work-sharing program in the country, preserving nearly 100,000 jobs and saving the state’s trust fund more than $ 90 million. The agency is currently working with state lawmakers to expand the flexibility of the program to allow more employers to participate and more workers to be covered.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have prioritized the talent needs of companies, and we continue to be committed to ensuring that every Michigander has an equal and accessible opportunity to access post-secondary education that leads to a well-paying career. and wanted, ”said the Acting Director of LEO. Susan corbin. “By providing services to employers to find and develop skilled talent, we are creating lasting change for every Michigander seeking a better life.”
The pandemic has created a growing crisis in child care that threatens the state’s economic recovery. Many daycares are still closed or reopening at reduced capacity due to understaffing and to allow for greater social distancing. As summer approaches, many parents are concerned about the availability of child care services. State plans to use federal dollars to expand pilot project Tri-Share Child Care Program which provides more affordable child care services through an innovative, two-party cost-sharing program that distributes costs equally among employees, employer and state.
To further engage employers, LEO is hosting a virtual webinar aimed at highlighting the services businesses can immediately operate and answering their questions related to employment and training needs. The webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, June 9, starting at
10 a.m. – 10.45 a.m. To join, register on: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TbEb9QxBQ8irnyYU1q5QQQ.
In addition to tools to meet your immediate workforce needs, employers looking to fill jobs and retain talent are encouraged to explore government programs and services at Michigan.gov/BackToWork.