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$500,000 Grant Awarded to Establish Thumb Region Health and Human Service Employer Led Collaborative

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Funded to Develop the Thumb Region Health and Human Services

Employer-Led Collaborative (Thumb HHS ELC)

Thumb Area - GST Michigan Works! (GSTMW) is proud to partner with the Thumb Community Health Partnership (TCHP) to establish the Thumb Region Health and Human Services Employer Led Collaborative (Thumb HHS ELC).

The health and human service sector in the mostly rural area of the Thumb (Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac, and Tuscola counties) is facing critical workforce challenges. Workforce needs include a lack of training and education programs in the local community, difficulty recruiting students to the rural area upon completion of training, and barriers to training. Many local residents have an interest in health and human service careers. Major barriers such as childcare, time off work for training, and transportation/time to travel to programs outside the local area pose a challenge.

The Thumb HHS ELC will provide an opportunity for employers to collectively address local workforce challenges and provide workers with new skills and career pathways. The ELC will utilize the existing infrastructure of TCHP to make decisions and meet employer workforce needs faster and more effectively than individual employers could do alone. “We are very excited to partner on this opportunity. This is a win-win for health and human service employers and the community!” said Kay Balcer, TCHP Director. TCHP was formed in 2019 to collaboratively address health needs in the community. Workforce challenges were quickly identified as a major need. TCHP members include 29 organizations. Many of these organizations will be employer champions and others will have an advisory role in the ELC.

The ELC includes 10 employer champions from medical and behavioral health sectors, community-based organizations, and Economic Development entities, Labor unions will be involved and their members will benefit from an increased workforce and reduced job-related stress. Educational institutions will play a major role in increasing access to training programs and include intermediate school districts, technical centers, community colleges, and universities. Additional stakeholders such as the Michigan Center for Rural Health, Upper Thumb Region MiSTEM Network, and Mid Central Academic Health Education Center are also part of the collaborative. The diverse ELC membership brings expertise and resources to the problem-solving table.

GSTMW! has a long history of sponsoring local talent in health-related training programs. The agency has developed health-related apprenticeships and holds apprenticeship standards for hospitals in the region. GSTMW! employs a robust staff of certified Business Solutions Professionals experienced in Talent Pipeline Management.


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