Labor and Economic Opportunity
Contact: Stepheni Schlinker
LANSING, February 22, 2018 — Rey Guzman, economic/community development specialist with the Michigan Talent Investment Agency (TIA) Industry Engagement Division, has been named a 2018 Michigan Works! Impact Award Winner.
The annual Impact Awards recognize significant economic accomplishments within Michigan communities and showcase the impact of newly-created jobs, transformational training and effective talent development. The awards were presented at a ceremony on February 21, 2018 at the Anderson House Office Building in Lansing, MI.
Guzman was nominated by Michigan Works! Southwest for strategic partnership and collaboration to customize local strategies for training and employment opportunities, specifically related to the work he did on the Clemens Food Group project.
“TIA is very proud of Rey’s accomplishments,” Wanda M. Stokes, Director of the Talent Investment Agency, said. “Rey truly exemplifies teamwork and partnership, which is part of TIA’s culture.”
In 2014, Clemens Food Group, a Pennsylvania-based, family-owned, integrated pork production operation, was considering Midwest expansion in either Michigan or Ohio. They eventually chose Coldwater, MI as the site for a new plant, based upon support from both the state and community, as well as site feasibility and labor force preparedness.
“When the Clemens project was first being discussed as a very large, unique, project for Michigan, I knew it would be important to meet with all the partners necessary to attract the talent the company would need,” Guzman said. “The size and importance of this project was challenging, especially regarding talent and housing, due to its location in a rural community. I believe the Michigan Works! Southwest staff appreciated having someone from TIA to provide support, as well as a different perspective, to this important project.”
Guzman was able to forge a strong partnership between TIA, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and local municipalities, who, in turn, worked closely with the Clemens leadership team to develop hiring strategies and training opportunities that would best fit the employers’ needs.
“I am extremely proud of our Michigan Works! partners who have shown their ability to work tirelessly on this project for two years and their dedication to achieve an exemplary level of service for this unique customer,” Guzman said. “I am very honored to receive this prestigious award and for being recognized by my peers for the dedicated team work to achieve a successful employer project.”