As COVID-19 continues to spread across Michigan, forcing the closure of businesses throughout the state, West Michigan Works! is assisting employers and those who have lost jobs in an economy that has changed dramatically in a matter of weeks.
Beginning today, March 30, the agency—which is located at 316 Morris Ave. in Muskegon—will deliver its services for those who are unemployed, as well as business owners, via phone, online and other virtual technologies. Individuals who have filed for unemployment do not need to come into a Michigan Works! service center to register for work.
The organization, which can remain open during Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s three-week stay-at-home order because it is deemed an “essential service,” is helping individuals file for unemployment benefits, as well as connect job seekers with employers trying to fill open positions throughout West Michigan.
Last week, the agency was attempting to work with walk-in clients, but it determined it would no longer be able to do so because of concerns regarding the coronavirus.
“Necessary measures have been put in place to slow the spread of the virus and keep people safe, but at the same time, they are drastically increasing the number of unemployed,” West Michigan Works! CEO Jacob Maas said in a press release. “Knowing that not everyone has access to the tools they need to apply for unemployment, we wanted to continue to provide access to our service center tools and, more importantly, face-to-face support from our staff.”
However, Maas said, “it quickly became apparent that given the nature of our work and its confidentiality, as well as the physical layout of our centers, it is almost impossible to keep social distance and our staff and customers safe.”
Those looking for work can find hundreds of job openings are currently listed on the agency’s hot jobs page, which is regularly updated. Employers can also find unemployment and COVID-19 toolkits, unemployment fact sheets and other resources on the West Michigan Works! website. Employers should contact the agency’s business solutions team if they have any questions or need assistance.
“While we have temporarily changed the scope and delivery of our services, we remain committed to assisting individuals who have recently lost their jobs and the ability to provide for themselves or their families,” Maas said.
Individuals who want to file an unemployment claim with the Unemployment Insurance Agency can do so by clicking here or by calling (866) 500-0017. To reach the Muskegon Michigan Works! Office, call (231) 724-6381 or (800) 285-9675. You may also contact the agency through a form on its homepage.