Economic Development, Human Resources, and Nonprofits

ReThink West Michigan calls on ex-residents

November 18, 2016
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ReThink West Michigan
Former West Michigan residents connect with recruiters at a ReThink West Michigan event in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy Hello West Michigan

Two local organizations will host a party next week with one central aim: bring back the talent.

Hello West Michigan and The Right Place will host their fifth-annual ReThink West Michigan career party from 5:30-8 p.m. on Nov. 23 in Grand Rapids on the fourth floor of The B.O.B., at 20 Monroe Ave. NW — on the busiest bar night of the year: Thanksgiving eve.

Throughout the event, organizers and employers will hope to lure young professionals who have moved back to the region.

The past four ReThink West Michigan events attracted more than 460 attendees and resulted in 35 hires.

Admission is free, and registration is required online.


Organizers said ReThink West Michigan is not a traditional career fair but a casual, yet professional environment for networking and business discovery for those who are back home for the holidays.

“This event is truly unique, because it is solely for former West Michigan residents who have moved away,” said Cindy Brown, executive director, Hello West Michigan. “We’re highlighting the things people want to know about when they think about relocating: career opportunities and lifestyle in West Michigan.”

Brown said West Michigan is beginning to offer more than ever in those two areas.

“West Michigan is growing, and our companies are growing. And we have a great reputation in the lifestyle area,” she said. “We’ve seen that ‘boomerangs’ are coming too — those who are Michiganders and have left the state and now want to come back.”

"Hundreds" of jobs

Tim Mroz, VP of marketing and communications at The Right Place, said the need for talent is high.

“West Michigan companies are growing at an unprecedented rate, but their growth is limited by access to talent,” he said.

“We have hundreds of positions available, with a specific need in the areas of engineering and technology, and we would love to see former Michiganders come home to these jobs.”

Organizations at the event

Michigan Works!
Northwestern Mutual
Spectrum Health

Hello West Michigan

Started in 2007, Hello West Michigan is a nonprofit that promotes the region as a place "where business thrives and people want to live and work."

It seeks to increase member employers’ success in their efforts to recruit top talent, as well as collaborate with organizations to help new residents and those interested in relocating to "find their fit in West Michigan."

The Right Place

The Right Place, founded in 1985, is a regional economic development nonprofit that's supported through investments from the private and public sectors.

Its mission is to promote economic growth in the areas of employment, productivity and technology in West Michigan, by developing jobs through business retention, expansion and attraction efforts.

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