Sunday, September 9

11:00 - 4:00 

Partner Showcase Exhibit Area
12:00 - 4:00 

Inside Politics
1:00 - 2:30

Join us for a deep dive into federal and state legislation affecting workforce efforts in Michigan and nationwide. Budget policies adopted today—at the local, state and federal level—will continue to impact our ability to invest in and advocate for the workforce system for years to come. During this interactive session, leaders from state workforce associations share Michigan's vision for the future of talent and economic development and their roles in making that vision a reality. Attendees gain insight on legislative priorities and their impact, collective federal advocacy efforts and diverse state perspectives.

Panelists: Chris Andresen, Vice President, Grayling; Peter Ruddell, Partner, Honigman; Bob Lanter, Executive Director, California Workforce Association

Workshops Round 1
1:15 - 2:30  

Apprentice Readiness Training & Building the K-12 Pipeline through Positive Relationships & Collaborations

This session will examine GST Michigan Works! Apprentice Readiness Program for adults, the only one of its kind in the Mid-Western United States.  So far, the program has resulted in 36 adults being prepared for and accepted by Regional Building Trades Unions into various USDOL Registered Apprenticeships, leading under-represented adults to Building Trades Careers with family sustainable wages, health coverage and defined benefit retirement. You will also hear about a collaboration with CTE programs in six counties to offer Apprentice Readiness Training to high school Career Technical Education program completers.  The partnership is aimed at preparing high school CTE graduates with the background to successfully apply for multiple professional construction trades apprenticeships.  This presentation will include a walk-through of the intent, planning, adult and K-12 training programs, instructional components, partners and placement as well as the lessons learned.

Presenters: David Rose, Special Projects Coordinator, GST Michigan Works!; Howard Hipes, Apprentice & Training Coordinator, Michigan Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Training Center; Wanda Bigelow, Career Coach, GST Michigan Works!

A One-Stop Concept Connecting Veterans to Meaningful Employment

Through a multi-agency partnership, the Veteran Networking Job Club offers bi-weekly events offering Veterans the opportunity to meet with other Veterans, learn about jobs available from local employers, connect to community resources and stay up-to-date on current workforce trends. Learn how these employer supported and led programs are succeeding in three local one-stop centers through three slightly different models, utilizing resources of community partners who provide wrap-around services and support for this often difficult to engage population.

Presenters: Shane Scherer, Business Solutions Representative, West Michigan Works!; Karen Gordon, Assistant Service Center Manager, West Michigan Works!; Jennifer Helsel, Assistant Service Center Manager, West Michigan Works!

All Things Job-Searching With a Criminal Background

What do you say to a client who tells you, “No one will hire me because I’m a felon”? This session will help attendees develop the skills needed to turn a red flag into a green light - assisting clients with their employment challenges and making a positive difference in lives by offering hope for the future. Find out what Michigan Works! Southeast - Livingston Service Center has been doing to successfully guide clients with the barrier of a criminal history through the employment cycle from job search, application, resume, interview to employment follow-up.

Presenter: Edward Baldwin, Career Advisor, Michigan Works! Southeast – Livingston Service Center

Talent Development Liaisons - Transforming the Customer Experience

Transforming the customer experience for both job seekers and employers is one of the primary tenants of the Talent Investment Agency’s strategic focus. Talent Development Liaisons (TDLs) focus on mid- and long-term talent development skill gaps in key industries in each region statewide. Working alongside the MEDC Business Development Managers, MWA Business Service Managers, K-12 and postsecondary educational institutions, TDLs bring together employers and educators to develop a strong continuum of talent attraction, expansion and retention. This session will highlight how TDLs ensure employers have multiple access points, regardless of which partner or organization they engage initially.

Presenters: Marcia Black-Watson, Sector Strategies Manager, Michigan Talent Development Agency; Karen Hinkle, Regional Director, Retention and Growth, Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Kara Stewart, Business Services Coordinator, Michigan Works! Southwest

Coaching Skills for Career Practitioners

This fast-paced session will outline the similarities and differences between counseling and coaching skills. Richard Knowdell of Career Development Network will demonstrate effective coaching skills and techniques, and describe specific client situations where coaching skills can be effectively used. Attendees will also learn how it “feels” to give and receive coaching rather than counseling.

Presenter: Richard Knowdell, Executive Director, Career Development Network

SCHEDULE UPDATE: The workshop Project SEARCH, originally scheduled at this date/time, has been moved to Tuesday, September 11, 8:15 - 9:30. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

WIOA Performance Measures – Technical Assistance

Have individual participant level questions on WIOA Performance Measures in the One-Stop Management Information System (OSMIS)?  If so, bring your local MWA performance measure experts (up to 4) and—most importantly—your participant level questions for an individual analysis to determine how and/or why your participant meets or does not meet OSMIS performance measures.

Due to the nature of this technical assistance, advanced sign up is required. Fifteen 25-minute appointments are available on a first come, first serve basis. Conference registration is required. Appointments are limited to one per organization. Sign up is available through the event guide mobile app. If possible, please email your specific OSMIS participants to investigate ahead of time to

Ten in 30
1:15 – 1:45

What’s My Career Worth? Teaching ROI Strategies for Gainful Employment

This session focuses on using return on investment (ROI) strategies to assist individuals in developing a financial plan for their career. Learn to help individuals identify their true training costs, assign value to their own skills, analyze potential career paths in their area of interest and strategically plan for part-time jobs and experiences that can add value to their career. Learn how to help individuals take responsibility for their own financial well-being and develop the skills to transition to professional success.

Presenter: Dr. Anna Graf Williams, President, Learnovation. LLC

Ten in 30
2:00 – 2:30

Growing the IT Talent Pool

West Michigan Tech Talent, West Michigan Works! IT Employer Council seeks to grow, develop, recruit and retain a world-class IT talent workforce in West Michigan. One strategic priority is to focus on creating opportunities for local K-12 students to learn about careers in technology, start developing skills in the field and learn about these careers to break down false perceptions. All statistics have indicated a large gap of qualified talent to fill future technology and IT jobs. This session will review case studies of programs developed and supported by this partnership, including West Michigan Hour of Code initiative, summer events for teachers, a digital asset map of resources for students, and creation of a video to empower women and girls to enter the IT industry.

Presenter: Joe Thiry, IT Sector Lead, West Michigan Works!/West Michigan Tech Talent

Partner Showcase Exhibit Area Break 
2:30 - 3:15 

Annual Meeting - Marshal Plan for Talent: Closing the Talent Gap
3:15 – 3:45

Full voting  membership of the Association is encouraged to attend. Michigan Works! Leadership will be recognized and the Doug Stites Good Guy award will be presented.

Marshall Plan for Talent: Closing the Talent Gap
3:45 – 5:00

The Marshall Plan for Talent is a revolutionary approach to prepare students and adults for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The plan will invest $100 million to create, expand and support innovative programs for high-paying, in-demand careers. This panel will provide a high-level view of the Marshall Plan for Talent from several different perspectives, including employers, educators and the state of Michigan. They will discuss the importance of business and education leaders collaborating to close the talent gap, how to participate in a Talent Consortium and how to apply for competitive grants under the Marshall Plan for Talent. They will shed light on how, together, we can build innovative partnerships that revolutionize Michigan’s education and talent development system and prepare all Michiganders to become lifelong learners.

Presenters: Roger Curtis, Director of Ted, Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development; Cheryl Carrier, Executive Director, Ford Next Generation Learning; Danielle Smith, Global Vice President of Human Resources, Shape Corporation; Sharon Miller, Michigan Talent Architect, Consumers Energy; Wendy Larvick, Chief of Staff to State Superintendent, Michigan Department of Education

Workshops Round 2
3:15 - 4:30 

3 E’s – Entrepreneurship, Expo, Excitement!

Would you like to teach your students to earn as much money as they would like to make? Hear how a community college collaborated with their local Michigan Works! youth program to encourage entrepreneurship. Students bursting with business ideas were connected to Muskegon Community College's "Community E" curriculum for an explosive learning experience! Learn how to create a deal that is too hard for your students to resist (attend to find out the deal!) Starting with just $25, students took their ideas full circle, ending with a community expo where they sold their products and services and celebrated their profits!

Presenters: Shameika Johnson, JMG Specialist, West Michigan Works!; Dave Stradal, Business Development Chair, Muskegon Community College

Integrating Career Exploration and the Education Development Plan Process

The Intermediate School Districts of Northwest Michigan have partnered with Northwest Michigan Works! to bring enhanced career exploration and awareness to the K-12 Education Development Plan process. Meeting Michigan’s ever-increasing talent needs will require students entering post-secondary education and training to have had the opportunity for meaningful career exploration beginning as early as elementary school. This workshop will cover available career awareness tools, the value of having an intermediary career counselor and facilitator, and the unique partnership formed between the intermediate school districts, Northwest Michigan Works! and local K-12 districts. 

Presenters: Leah Wachlin, Career Facilitator, Northwest Michigan Works!; Shelly VanderMeulen, Career Facilitator, Northwest Michigan Works!; Peggy Stevens, Counselor, Bellaire Public Schools

What's New from LMISI

This session will introduce attendees to a broad range of new products available from the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. Attendees will engage with bureau researchers regarding key takeaways from a recent evaluation of workforce training programs, learn about the valuable content in Michigan’s Labor Market News publication and be introduced to the Bureau’s upcoming regional dashboard. And of course no session would be complete without a discussion of the latest list of hot jobs.

Presenters: Scott Powell, Director of Research, Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives; Jason Palmer, Director, Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives; Evan Linskey, Economic Analyst, Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives

Family-Centered Coaching for Financial Security

New and exciting research and front-line methods are emerging that can inform your work with families. The Family-Centered Coaching approach—and free toolkit—offers you strategies, tools and resources to coach parents and other participants. The framework incorporates goal-setting as a key technique of supporting families in making the changes they need and is rooted in the understanding of the institutional forces that prevent families from moving forward. Staff from Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) Michigan Works! and GST Michigan Works! will share their experience with this unique approach.

Presenters: Devin Stubblefield, Lead Coaching Trainer, The Prosperity Agenda; Yvette Harris, Specialist, Michigan Talent Investment Agency; Rachel Brooks, Program Director, The Prosperity Agenda; David Hartman, Consulting Trainer, The Prosperity Agenda

What Do I Have to DO to Get My Students to Engage?

Yes, you have warm bodies in your program—but are they really engaged?  Are you succeeding in growing your students' self-management, self-awareness and independence to succeed? This energetic session will help you and your team understand Millennials and Gen Z'ers - how they think, how they interact, their dependence on technology and what drives them as they work and learn. The changing face of our students requires new techniques to connect, so let's provide engaging experiences for students and tap into their need for life-long learning.

Presenter: Dr. Anna Graf Williams, President, Learnovation, LLC

A New Era of Working Professionals (Compliments or Complaints)

There have been great brewing conversations with multiple proponents for workforce development, hiring and training individuals towards the changing of our great American work industry. What do we expect from the new generations? What can we learn from previous generations? How do we utilize the best of our employees’ talents–regardless of their generation–in order to build an excellent company culture?  This presentation will provide tools for workforce professionals to enable positive results for the fortification of a very productive employment experience.

Presenter: Adrian Shaheed, Former Senior Business Development Coordinator for Minnesota non-profit companies

WIOA Performance Measures – Technical Assistance

Have individual participant level questions on WIOA Performance Measures in the One-Stop Management Information System (OSMIS)?  If so, bring your local MWA performance measure experts (up to 4) and—most importantly—your participant level questions for an individual analysis to determine how and/or why your participant meets or does not meet OSMIS performance measures.

Due to the nature of this technical assistance, advanced sign up is required. Fifteen 25-minute appointments are available on a first come, first serve basis. Conference registration is required. Appointments are limited to one per organization. Sign up is available through the event guide mobile app. If possible, please email your specific OSMIS participants to investigate ahead of time to

Ten in 30
3:15 – 3:45

A New Employer Benefit: Concierge Services for Entry-Level Workers

This session will overview the work of the SOURCE, a Grand Rapids non-profit employer collaborative that focuses on framing services as concierge benefits for frontline workers. Learn how they work with employers, build trust with employees and have grown their network. Explore examples of employer partnership to reduce turnover, including an overview of a national brief highlighting a 50% reduction in turnover at one of their employer partners.

Presenter: Melissa Ysasi, Executive Director, The SOURCE

Ten in 30
4:00 – 4:30

Utilize BRNs to Drive Resources to the MWA System.

While Michigan is enjoying low unemployment rates, the reduced talent pipeline of work-ready job candidates is creating a costly high turnover rate for companies. The LINK, a business resource network program in Southwest Michigan, was developed with area businesses defining workforce needs that are creating solutions to relief talent demand by retaining existing staff. Learn how this private-public partnership whose purpose is sustainable employment and retention through employee support and training is driving sector strategies and enhanced program services to create a greater community impact.  

Presenters: Duane Berger, Senior Director of Business and Innovation, Kinexus

Leadership Connection with Christine Quinn (Invite Only) 
5:00 - 6:30 

Opening Reception
6:30 - 9:30 


Monday, September 10

6:00 - 7:15

Continental Breakfast
7:30 - 8:00

8:00 - 4:00 

OPENING SESSION: Keynote Speaker Michael Rogers and Awards Presentation
8:00 – 10:00

Partner Showcase Exhibit Area
10:00 - 4:00 

Partner Showcase Exhibit Area Coffee Break
10:00 - 10:30 

Workshops Round 3 – Great Practice Showcase
10:30 - 11:45 

Veteran Talent Attraction Strategies

This session will provide a comprehensive look at the value of attracting Veteran talent to your organization. Topics will include common misconceptions, common Veteran transition issues, creating a Veteran-friendly workplace, successful Veteran talent attraction strategies, creating Veteran-friendly HR policies and military skills translation using the Joint Services Transcript. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about Veteran needs and how to attract this valuable source of talent.

Presenter: Randy Leffel, Employment Analyst, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

SCHEDULE UPDATE: The workshop Motivation or Manipulation, originally scheduled at this date/time, has been moved to Monday, September 10, 2:15 - 3:30. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Keys to a Successful Collaboration Project

Take a closer look at the diverse challenges and opportunities that arise when supporting the needs of high-impact business projects. Through examples and testimonies, attendees will hear summaries of regional large-scale collaborations (Arauco, Amazon, Clemons Food Group) and learn about some of the challenges learned along the way, as well as valuable advice for future endeavors. Panel participants will include leaders in business services, economic development and state partners.

Presenters: Collin Hoffmeyer, Business Services Coordinator, Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium; Alayne Hansen, Business Solutions Professional, Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium; Kara Stewart, Business Services Coordinator, Michigan Works! Southwest; Ana Salazar, Workforce Programs Administrator, Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) Michigan Works!; Rey Guzman, Economic/Community Development Specialist, Michigan Talent Investment Agency; Sonya Grant, Chief Operating Officer, Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) Michigan Works!; Daniel Leonard, Senior Community Assistance Specialist, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Shifting the Mindset on How We Engage Our Customers

With Michigan’s economy on the rebound, gone are the days when customers lined up at service center doors and “making the sale” was not a concern. As the number of job seekers visiting service centers decreases, there is an increased need to focus on brand awareness to change the perception of Michigan Works! and increase return visits and enrollments. Learn how Michigan Works! Southeast implemented a customized sales process and customer experience expectation in their onboarding practice with internal and contracted employees and how that has impacted their conversion rate.

Presenters: Nicole Bell, Communications Manager, Michigan Works! Southeast; Kathleen Wolf, Chief Executive Officer, The Purpose Partners; Deb Visin, Chief Experience Navigator, The Purpose Partners; Dick Dice, Chief Executive Officer, D2 Sales

Customer Service Standards: An Integrated, Continuous Improvement Approach

Everyone wants to provide great customer service. But what does that look like in an American Job Center? How do you please customers while still meeting program requirements? And how does everyone, regardless of program or provider, deliver the same level of customer service? GST Michigan Works! recently developed customer service standards through a comprehensive, in-depth process. They’ve set the standards and created a system for goal-setting, measurement and training. Learn about the process they used, including customer focus groups and frontline staff input, as well as their plans for system-wide accountability.

Presenters: Jessica Billiau, Director of Service Excellence, GST Michigan Works!; Janie McNabb, One-Stop Operator, GST Michigan Works!

Education & Training - True Integration

Hear from a panel of partner agencies that rose to the challenge of integrating adult education, training providers, employers, community-based organizations and workforce development.  What started as two Integrated Education & Training (IET) cohorts for Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) and Manufacturing has now blossomed into Certified Production Technician, Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training and additional CNA cohorts. Learn more about their focus on continued development of training opportunities that are both student-focused AND employer and demand-driven! Topics will include braiding resources across agencies and programs, innovation in training program design and problem-solving for barriers and obstacles as well as increased education on county and regional resources.

Presenters: Brenda Nyhof, Director, Allegan Adult Education; Christian Duel, Program Development Coordinator, Community Action of Allegan County; Emily Gary, Talent Solutions Manager, West Michigan Works!

MyCITY Summer Employment

MyCITY is an innovative summer employment initiative that that is quickly growing in Southwest Michigan. Integrating work experience with critical employability skill development (utilizing a customized, cutting-edge software platform), career pathway exploration and in-demand career training resulting in credentials, youth experience a summer of intense and enjoyable earning and learning. KRESA/YOU, in partnership with Michigan Works! Southwest, combines forces with dozens of local funders, employers, non-profits and neighborhood associations and training providers to offer an exciting summer of paid opportunity to hundreds of job-hungry youth. Learn MyCITY's strategies for success and how to make your summer program a game-changer for youth in your community.

Presenter: Eric Stewart, Director, Kalamazoo RESA/Youth Opportunities Unlimited; Paige Farrell, Career Specialist, Kalamazoo RESA/Youth Opportunities Unlimited

Michigan's Talent Pipeline Management

Michigan is currently undergoing a talent transformation. The way workforce development approaches talent solutions and serves employers is changing. This session will provide audience members with information about Michigan’s Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) work in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Presenters will explain what TPM is, their unique roles in the TPM movement, and how attendees can get involved and become part of the next generation of TPM experts through the Michigan TPM Academy.    

Presenters: Sharon Miller, Michigan Talent Architect, Consumers Energy; Deb Lyzenga, Regional Director for Business Solutions, West Michigan Works!; Kristen Beltzer, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce; Joe Quick, Director of Business Solutions, Michigan Works! Association

Planning to Plan: Communicating in a Crisis

Do you know what to do if your organization was involved in a scandal? Misappropriations of funds?  Bad press from a disgruntled customer?  When the smallest thing turns into a front-page headline, do you have a plan for how to communicate what's happening and the implications?  This session will help you identify crisis triggers as well as understand key elements of a crisis communications plan and how to use your plan when a crisis occurs. 

Presenter: Kate Snyder, Principle Strategist and Owner, Piper and Gold Public Relations

The Three Legged Stool - A True Collaboration

Join us for an overview of a successful three-way collaboration between Novi Adult Education, Novi employers and the Novi Michigan Works-Goodwill Industries office. This session will provide information on how this relationship began, each partners' role and their individual perspectives. Hear from successful student mentees as they share their experiences and insight. Attendees will gain an understanding of how to collaborate with others, how to engage community businesses and the importance of educational synergy.

Presenters: Bob Steeh, Director of Community Education, Novi Community School District; Linda Cianferra, Coordinator, Novi Adult Education Program; Michael Gaden, Job Coach, Michigan Works! – Goodwill Industries; David Read, District Manager, Camau

WIOA Performance Measures – Technical Assistance

Have individual participant level questions on WIOA Performance Measures in the One-Stop Management Information System (OSMIS)?  If so, bring your local MWA performance measure experts (up to 4) and—most importantly—your participant level questions for an individual analysis to determine how and/or why your participant meets or does not meet OSMIS performance measures.

Due to the nature of this technical assistance, advanced sign up is required. Fifteen 25-minute appointments are available on a first come, first serve basis. Conference registration is required. Appointments are limited to one per organization. Sign up is available through the event guide mobile app. If possible, please email your specific OSMIS participants to investigate ahead of time to

LUNCH SESSION: Keynote Speaker Judson Laipply and Awards Presentation
11:45 - 1:45 

Partner Showcase Exhibit Area Dessert Break
1:45 – 2:15

Governor's Talent Investment Board (GTIB) Meeting - The Current and Future State of Education in Michigan
2:00 – 4:00

A popular buzz word on the lips of many in the business community today is “education.”  Coalitions are forming.  Reports are being shared.  Campaigns are underway to focus an increased attention on improving education in Michigan and enhancing outcomes for students.  It’s in the interest of kids.  It’s in the interest of schools and educators.  It’s in the interest of business and employers.  It’s in the interest of Michigan.

But how do buzz words turn into action?  How do reports return results?  Building off the morning keynote, this panel of education experts and a well-known futurist will take a deeper dive into the current and future state of education in Michigan.

Panelists: Mike Hansen, President, Michigan Community College Association (Moderator); Yvonne Caamal Canul, Superintendent, Lansing School District; David L. Eisler, President, Ferris State University; Teresa Weatherall Neal, Superintendent of Schools, Grand Rapids Public Schools; Michael Rogers, Technology Pioneer and Futurist

Workshops Round 4
2:15 – 3:30

Motivation or Manipulation

Is there a difference between motivation and manipulation? If so, what is it? What makes one action motivating and another manipulating? Attendees will explore the complex world of group dynamics, employee engagement, behavioral science and more. This interactive energetic session will leave you be better equipped to motivate and better equipped to avoid being manipulated.

Presenter: Judson Laipply, Keynote Speaker

SCHEDULE UPDATE: The workshop Veteran Talent Attraction Strategies, originally scheduled at this date/time, has been moved to Monday, September 10, 10:30 - 11:45. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Michigan Works! Partnerships with Section 107 Adult Education CTE Pilot Programs

Section 107 of the 2017-18 State School Aid Act allocated grant funds for six adult education/CTE pilot programs. The intent of the grants was to connect adult education participants directly with employers by linking adult education, career and technical skills, and workforce development. Participants are concurrently enrolled in a state-funded adult education program and at least one technical course at the area career/technical center, while receiving employability services and employer connections from Michigan Works! Hear from some of the pilot programs as they discuss program development, employer involvement, navigator roles and responsibilities, demonstrated successful outcomes and lessons learned.  

Presenters: Sandy Thelen, State Funds Coordinator, Michigan Talent Investment Agency/Adult Services; Christine Luckey-Nelson, Adult Education Coordinator, TBAISD Adult Education/Northwest Michigan Works!; Ryan Bruntjens, CTC Pilot Navigator, Northwest Michigan ACT Pilot, Northwest Michigan Works!; Tim Tigling, CTC Principal, Wexford Missaukee CTC; Kristen Wenzel, Chief Operations Officer, Great Lakes Bay, Michigan Works!; Mary Murphy, Adult Education Career Navigator, Bay-Arenac ISD

Strategies to Keep Disability Issues a Normal & Consistent Part of the Conversation

The Disability Awareness Resource Team (DART), a standing committee of the Michigan Works! Southwest Workforce Development Board since 2000, is comprised of service providers, advocates, businesses and allies with expertise in assisting individuals with disabilities with their career, training and employment needs. They have been instrumental in keeping disability and accessibility issues as a consistent part of the conversation. Presenters will share their strategies for informing, promoting and advising the WDB and staff on strategies to support career pathways, training and employment options for individuals with disabilities. Topics will include resource sharing, cross-agency collaboration, disability awareness curriculum and emerging issues. 

Presenters: Kathy Olsen, Marketing & Community Information Coordinator, Michigan Works! Southwest; John Fiore, District Manager, SW District, Michigan Rehabilitation Services; Eva Tobolic, Centralize Recruiter - Kalamazoo, Speedway

The Going PRO Apprenticeship Readiness Initiative

The Michigan Talent Investment Agency implemented the Going PRO Apprenticeship Readiness initiative in 2018. The initiative was established to expand and diversify Michigan Registered Apprenticeships, including the Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) Program. Nearly 400 Michigan job-seekers are participating in the initiative to prepare them to enter, and succeed in, Registered Apprenticeship programs. This session will include a panel discussion regarding best practices on utilizing apprenticeship readiness to recruit individuals from non-traditional and underrepresented populations such as the disabled, women, minorities and veterans into the professional trades.

Presenters: Keenan M. Wade, Administrative Manager, Michigan Talent Investment Agency; Valerie Jermerson, Program Specialist, Michigan Talent Investment Agency

Increased Grants Funding for MW! Agencies

Michigan foundations made over $1.5 BILLION in grants last year. Yet, most workforce development agencies won’t see any of this funding because most senior staff or managers are already on overload and don’t have the time required. Agencies that are successful in getting grants have developed a grant writing team. This workshop will describe a team-based approach to grant writing that can result in a reduction in the amount of work on everyone’s part, more and better grant applications completed and ultimately, increased grant success for YOUR workforce development agency. 

Presenter: Edward Wollmann, Managing Partner, Michigan Grants Funding, Inc.

Navigating Employment Data Requests

Public Acts 72 and 73 of 2018 amend the Michigan Employment Security Act of 1936 to allow MWAs, community colleges and independent nonprofit colleges and universities in Michigan to have access to Unemployment Insurance wage data for the use of course, program or training program planning, improvement or evaluation; grant funding opportunities; and program or institutional accreditation research. This session will provide an overview of the TIA request process and data available.  It will also cover other state and federal laws that govern how and what data can and cannot be shared.

Presenters: Jeni Spaulding, Departmental Specialist, Talent Information Systems, Michigan Talent Investment Agency; Eric Thomsett, Internal Affairs, Unemployment Insurance, Michigan Talent Investment Agency

Identifying and Referring Vulnerable Populations for Mental Health Treatment Services

The lack of mental health services to vulnerable populations can result in their inability to obtain/retain employment and experience multiple referrals for TANF services, evictions, homelessness, increased suicidal/homicidal thoughts, child abuse and neglect. It can also cause them to live a transient life. By providing mental health screenings, you will put the participant on a path that can lead to success not only in employment but in their family relationships as well. Attendees will learn how to recognize the need for mental health services in participants and form collaborative relationships leading to referrals to local mental health clinics.  Focus will be placed on TANF recipients of the P.A.T.H. Program.

Presenter: Rachell A. Williams, LMSW, Program Director, PATH, Development Centers

WIOA Performance Measures – Technical Assistance

Have individual participant level questions on WIOA Performance Measures in the One-Stop Management Information System (OSMIS)?  If so, bring your local MWA performance measure experts (up to 4) and—most importantly—your participant level questions for an individual analysis to determine how and/or why your participant meets or does not meet OSMIS performance measures.

Due to the nature of this technical assistance, advanced sign up is required. Fifteen 25-minute appointments are available on a first come, first serve basis. Conference registration is required. Appointments are limited to one per organization. Sign up is available through the event guide mobile app. If possible, please email your specific OSMIS participants to investigate ahead of time to

Ten in 30
2:15 – 2:45

10 Tech Tools to Make Your Life Easier

As workforce professionals, we have to live and breathe new and emerging technologies so we can always be "cutting edge" and "outside the box." But DANG is there a lot to follow and keep track of. This session will break down the latest and greatest tech tools for communications, digital media, project management, organization and more, while also sharing some old favorites that have stood the test of tech time to make your life easier.

Presenter: Kate Snyder, Principal Strategist and Owner, Piper and Gold Public Relations

Ten in 30
3:00 – 3:30

JobReady: Construction - How to Engage a Diverse Talent Pool

Job Ready: Construction is a collaboration of community partners that help construction contractors recruit, hire, train, and retain talent from Muskegon and Muskegon Heights, the communities surrounding the site of a three-year construction project.  This session will highlight the approaches used to engage employers, recruit and prepare job seekers for success as well as share some early successes. Attendees will leave with tools and best practices to attract and train a diverse talent pool. 

Presenters: Jamie McGrane, Business Solutions Representative, West Michigan Works!; Kathy Rohlman, Service Center Manager, West Michigan Works!; Montel Pierre, Sr., Employment Service Coordinator, Urban League of West Michigan

Partner Showcase Exhibit Area Salty Snack Break
3:30 - 3:45 

Workshops Round 5
3:45 – 5:00

Title I:  Understanding the One-Stop Management Information System (OSMIS) WIOA Performance Measures

This session will present the newly released Participant Individual Record Layout (PIRL) changes for 2018. PIRL is the underpinning guidance to Michigan’s One Stop Management Information System (OSMIS) data collection for required MWA reporting to USDOL. A Case Study approach will be used to answer frequently asked questions about WIOA performance measures. Streamlined, useful resources to assist attendees in determining the exact OSMIS data fields and values that drive performance measures will be demonstrated and provided to workshop attendees.

Presenters: OSMIS and Policy staff, Michigan Talent Investment Agency

Let's Stay Together: Bolstering the Talent Pipeline through Intentional Collaboration

With West Michigan (and Michigan as a whole) operating at full employment, it is incumbent upon the private and public sectors to work together to reach non-traditional employee populations. This session will outline how the Literacy Center of West Michigan collaborated with multiple organizations to create and fund contextualized English as a Second Language programming that lead to a credential. Session-goers will learn different ways to maintain and strengthen partnerships in their community whether times are good or bad, happy or sad.

Presenters: Chad Patton, Director, Customized Workplace English, Literacy Center of West Michigan; Jennifer Summers, Coordinator, Customized Workplace English, Literacy Center of West Michigan

Windmills – Disability ….Fact or Fiction?

The goal of this highly-interactive session is to become more comfortable and effective in our workplace interactions with people with disabilities. Attendees will complete a short questionnaire around their knowledge about disabilities, followed by small group discussion of their answers. The audience as a whole will discuss responses and explore how we acquired our information about disability issues in the workplace. Participants will learn to anticipate workplace situations involving people with disabilities and how to use respectful etiquette and language to create a comfortable work environment for all employees. Basic disability employment law will also be covered.

Presenter: Tonia Peterson, Program Manager, Business Network Division, Michigan Rehabilitation Services; Claudette Stork Reid, Occupational Therapist, Michigan Rehabilitation Services

Connecting Financial Capability to Workforce Development: A Holistic Approach

Leading-edge employers and job training professionals recognize the importance of financial wellness to employee job satisfaction, resilience and retention.  This session will review and discuss specific programs and resources that help current and potential workers learn to manage their finances, address emergency spending needs or improve their credit. Whether it is helping employees open low-cost accounts to receive their pay or money management resources that teach techniques to save and build assets, this session will explore approaches that add value to job readiness programs, the employer and the worker.  Promising practices on collaboration, delivery and implementation will also be highlighted.

Presenters: Eric Louden, Community Affairs Specialist, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Denny Dandridge, Community Affairs Specialist, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Errol Service, Franchise Owner, McDonalds; Alicia McCormick, Youth Development Director, Urban Neighborhood Initiatives

Lifting Your Leadership Lid

John Maxwell taught us that there are leadership lids that limit our capacity to lead. The good news is we can learn how to lift those lids in order to rise above the limitations that keep us from reaching our potential. Success is within the reach of everyone. But success without raising your leadership lid brings only limited effectiveness. This workshop focuses on 12 things you can do daily to improve your leadership skills. Whether you're leading a large organization, team, business or life, do the work and become the leader you desire to be!

Presenter: Daniel Rundhaug, Ph.D., Executive Director – IPEx, Davenport University


Ten in 30
3:45 – 4:15

Adult Education in America's Job Centers

Northwest Michigan Works! has provided adult education options in their Job Centers for more than 20 years. Through changes in the economy, diverse options for educational services were required to meet the needs of Michigan's low-wage earners. This session will explore how Michigan Works! and Adult Education have worked together to educate their local workforce. Attendees will gain an understanding of how blended learning educational options offered in Region 2 have become an excellent opportunity for students to meet their educational goals even while they continue to work.

Presenter: Christina Luckey-Nelson, Adult Education Coordinator, TBAISD Adult Education, Northwest Michigan Works!

Ten in 30
4:30 – 5:00

The Michigan Graduation Requirements: Here's What You Need to Know

The Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC) has been in place for more than a decade and there are still questions and misconceptions that can cause headaches for educators today. This session will highlight the changes within the MMC legislation throughout the years, as well as identify the added flexibility allowed in meeting the requirements. Participants will see the connection between what students want to do beyond high school and what their time in the k-12 system could look like to support their strengths, needs and interests.

Presenter: Rashell Bowerman, Instructional Intervention Consultant, Michigan Department of Education


Tuesday, September 11

Continental Breakfast
7:30 - 8:15 

Leadership Breakfast (Invite Only)
7:30 - 9:30 

Brainstorming. Networking. What’s working wonders? What’s not? Our Leadership Breakfast is the place to talk about it all. Connect with colleagues. Share ideas. Learn best practices. Meet new partners and hear from Cheryl Carrier, Executive Director for Ford Next Generation Learning, on her work garnering support for public schools and career academies across Michigan. Oh, and enjoy a good meal to start your day.

8:00 - 9:00 

Workshops Round 6
8:15 – 9:30

Early Childhood Education Registered Apprenticeships: Building Blocks for Career Pathways

Are employers struggling to find qualified talent to fill Early Childhood positions or concerned about locating into your area due to lack of child care options?  Learn about a comprehensive Pre-Apprenticeship/Apprenticeship/Advanced Training model dedicated to creating a talent pipeline and moving individuals from unemployed to self-sustaining. Career laddering opportunities provide customers the flexibility to obtain industry-recognized credentials and advance within a high-need industry. Join us to learn how this community collaboration, a first in Michigan, can be replicated in your area.

Presenters: Karen Carlisle, Director, Michigan Works! Southwest/Youth Opportunities Unlimited; Lisa Smith, Talent and Community Development Manager, Michigan Works! Southwest/Youth Opportunities Unlimited; April Goodwin, Executive Director, Child Care Resources; Kara Stewart, Business Services Coordinator, Michigan Works! Southwest; Sandra Standish, Executive Director, Kalamazoo County Ready 4s

Diversity & Inclusion - Understanding Our Coworkers & Customers

Diversity and inclusion can mean different things to different people including our coworkers and the customers we serve daily. Having a sense of awareness and clarity on what diversity and inclusion is or isn’t can help strengthen our workforce and better serve the needs of our customers.  Join this workshop to explore how valuing inclusion and diversity helps us to better understand the differences between people and to acknowledge the assets in our differences.  Topics of discussion will include getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and how diversity and inclusion improves problem solving.

Presenter: Reshane Lonzo, Chief Executive Officer, DRM International Learning Center


Due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances, this session has been cancelled. We apologize for the inconvenience.


The Return on Investment of Apprenticeships

This session is an in-depth look at the Workforce Intelligence Network's (WIN) apprenticeship return on investment (ROI) calculator. The calculator covers apprenticeships from the employer perspective across the State of Michigan. Included will be an explanation of the methodology used to create the calculator, a demonstration of the calculator on the website and current labor market information that reflects the benefits of apprenticeship.

Presenters: Melissa Sheldon, Senior Project Manager, Workforce Intelligence Agency; Scott Corsi, Research Analyst, Workforce Intelligence Agency

Project SEARCH

Join us for a robust discussion of the Project SEARCH model that is expanding in Michigan.  Learn how high school students with the most significant disabilities gain soft skills and engage in internships with the goal of integrated, competitive, post-graduation employment.  Hear from a Project SEARCH team about how they facilitate greater opportunity for students to gain career experience and skills. You will also meet a student who is employed as a result of Project SEARCH!

Presenters: Cynthia Wright, Consultant, Michigan Rehabilitation Services; Cathy Schmidt, Project SEARCH Statewide Steering Committee

WIOA Performance Measures – Technical Assistance

Have individual participant level questions on WIOA Performance Measures in the One-Stop Management Information System (OSMIS)?  If so, bring your local MWA performance measure experts (up to 4) and—most importantly—your participant level questions for an individual analysis to determine how and/or why your participant meets or does not meet OSMIS performance measures.

Due to the nature of this technical assistance, advanced sign up is required. Fifteen 25-minute appointments are available on a first come, first serve basis. Conference registration is required. Appointments are limited to one per organization. Sign up is available through the event guide mobile app. If possible, please email your specific OSMIS participants to investigate ahead of time to

Ten in 30
8:15 – 8:45

Three R’s of Service: Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment

Volunteering can provide a host of benefits for job seekers. Research shows that volunteering can improve a job seeker’s chances of landing long-term, paid employment. But not just any volunteer service will do.  Making sure they find relevant service that aligns with their passion, goals and skill-set is important. With this understanding, you can help job seekers leverage meaningful volunteer service opportunities for optimal results! In this session, we’ll look at how Research + Relevance = Results.

Presenters: Marsha Hazen, AmeriCorps Partnerships Coordinator, Michigan Community Service Commission; Kristina Coby, Volunteer and Community Engagement Director, Michigan Community Service Commission

Ten in 30
9:00 – 9:30

Mental Resilience: Overcoming Workplace Stressors

Resilience is a person’s capacity to respond to pressure and the demands of daily life on both a personal and professional level. In order to withstand stresses and strains of the modern workplace, resilience—specifically mental resilience—is an essential characteristic to possess. In this session, participants will learn the importance of mental resilience, identify workplace stressors and gain techniques to overcome stress and operate effective and efficiently in the workplace.

Presenter: Katreva N. Bisbee, Organizational Behavior Health Leader and Licenses Massage Therapist

CLOSING SESSION - Keynote Presentation; Award Presentation; Prize Drawing

9:45 – 12:00