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Investment to Prepare Young Adults for Meaningful Career and Educational Opportunities


March 29, 2022



Gov. Whitmer Announces $4 Million Investment to Prepare Michigan’s Young Adults for Meaningful Career and Educational Opportunities 


LANSING, Mich.—Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the recipients of grants totaling $4 million to provide young adults with a meaningful introduction to the world of work, including jobs skills, on-site, hybrid, and virtual career exploration and preparation activities, and earned income. The Young Professionals program aligns with Michigan's Sixty by 30 goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60 percent by 2030.


“This investment expands career and educational opportunities for young adults and helps us build a state where everyone, no matter who they are or where they live, has a shot at a bright future,” said Governor Whitmer. “As a mom, I know that every parent wants their kids to have opportunities to pursue their potential and go on to live a great life. Today’s investment prepares young Michiganders to fill in-demand, good-paying jobs, and empowers them to support themselves and their families. It will help fill job openings especially as older Michiganders leave the workforce and build on Michigan’s ongoing economic momentum.”


The Young Professionals initiative is designed to reduce youth unemployment and place young adults, ages 14-24, on the right path to achieve lifelong economic self-sufficiency. The initiative supports young adults who are struggling to obtain employment by exposing them to multiple career and educational opportunities, such as entering a Registered Apprenticeship program, earning a college degree or certificate, and obtaining sustainable employment.


“The Young Professionals initiative is designed to reduce youth unemployment and place young adults on the right path to achieve lifelong economic self-sufficiency,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, Director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training. “This funding allows our Michigan Works! partners to take a localized approach to support young adults, helping us close equity gaps, address talent shortages, and remove barriers to employment.”


Young Professionals grants have been awarded to the state’s Michigan Works! network, which were selected through a Request for Proposals process. The 16 agencies will receive awards to support the development and/or enhancement of a Young Professionals employment initiative. Awards were allocated to:


Michigan Works! Agency


Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren


Capital Area Michigan Works!


Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation


GST Michigan Works!


Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works!


Michigan Works! Macomb/St. Clair


Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium


Northwest Michigan Works!


Oakland County Michigan Works!


Michigan Works! Region 7B


Michigan Works! Southeast


Southeast Michigan Community Alliance


Michigan Works! Southwest


Upper Peninsula Michigan Works!


Michigan Works! West Central


West Michigan Works!



Michigan Works! provides career preparation, employment opportunities and supportive services throughout the state. These agencies play a crucial role in the recruitment of employers, with a focus on regionally in-demand industries such as construction, healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing.


“Michigan Works! strives to equip youth with essential skills, connecting them to employment and building a talent pipeline,” said Michigan Works! Southwest Director Jakki Bungart-Bibb.  “Providing opportunities, such as the Young Professionals Initiative, creates an investment in the future for our local communities and helps open doors for youth to become powerful advocates for sustainable change.”


The Sixty by 30 goal seeks to build a better Michigan in three ways:

  • Close the skills gap that poses the single greatest threat to the success of our businesses and our state’s prosperity. Jobs requiring skilled employees today, as well as jobs on the horizon, demand greater education and training than ever before. Increasingly, the best jobs require more than a high school diploma.
  • Increase opportunity and Michiganders greater access to the education and skills that create opportunities for better jobs and bigger paychecks.
  • Make Michigan more competitive for inclusive economic growth.


More information about the program is available through the Michigan Works! network. To contact the nearest Michigan Works! Service Center, call 800-285-WORKS (9675) or visit