We have played a pivotal role in Southwest Michigan for over five decades. From the Manpower Act to CETA thru JTPA, the Private Industry Council (PIC) to Michigan Works! and now Kinexus Group, our efforts and services have always focused on driving the economy forward. In the last 50+ years, we have gone from a small federally designated workforce program to a diverse multi-faceted nonprofit organization. The journey started long ago with the belief we could make a difference with economically disadvantaged people. And has grown into a belief we can provide solutions to complex economic challenges facing our region and the state of Michigan. It’s our rich history that compels us to transform the future of our state, our communities and our neighbors.
Think of us as a hub of change agents that connect people, resources, and organizations with strategies and services that make our region, and Michigan, a great place to do business.
HISTORY & HERITAGE
Comprehensive Employment and Training Act was a federal program delivered by state and local governments to train workers and provide them jobs in the public sector or non-profits. The program offered work to those with low incomes and long term unemployed as well as summer jobs for low-income high school students.
The Job Training Partnership Act replaced CETA. Federal assistance was provided to regional boards to prepare youth and unskilled adults with training for entry into the private or public workforce. The funding was broken into categories such as adult and youth programs, summer youth, and dislocated workers.
The Michigan Works system, with regional boards made up of elected officials and private sector employers, was the first unified workforce development system in the United States. The system was designed to help employers in local regions, ready to meet the needs of each community in the service area. We operate in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties.
The Berrien, Cass, Van Buren Michigan Works! system becomes Kinexus, a diversified non-profit that provides an array of services. Kinexus is focused on the employer as the main customer. The organization grows to include an alternative school, a statewide affiliate organization Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates, and three Michigan Works Service Centers.
Since 2008, through the premier program, Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG), over 22,000 youth and young adults have successfully learned the life skills necessary to succeed in education, employment, and in life. Our team develops solutions that provide young people with the desire for an education, the experiences that prepare them for a job or career, and the tools to realize their potential.
Market Van Buren has principal responsibilities for economic and community development throughout Cass and Van Buren Counties. We connect people, investments, and organizations with strategies and services that improve the quality of life and economic conditions in our region. The organization develops strategies that will allow communities in southwest Michigan to thrive by addressing needs related to workforce, community, and business development.
The Manufacturing Growth Alliance (MGA) is a membership-based organization that provides services to help manufacturers build smart, lead strong, and establish a pathway for future growth. MGA services drive solutions that will make manufacturing in Michigan the most competitive and prosperous in the nation.
Manufacturing Growth Alliance
Bridge Academy of SW Michigan
Originally founded by Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren in 2010 as a partner program through various local school districts, the previous version of Bridge Academy has served hundreds of students in the tri-county area. Now as a newly authorized public-school academy, Bridge Academy of Southwest Michigan was launched as a 9-12 high school, offering a no nonsense approach to graduation attainment, wrap-around support services and meaningful career exploration opportunities to the region. The academy is still located inside the Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren facility in Benton Harbor, allowing youth to access a variety of additional resources and support.