Washtenaw American Job Center welcomes public with open house

Michigan Works! Southeast celebrated the opening of its new Washtenaw American Job Center, 1201 E. Ellsworth Rd. in Ann Arbor, with an open house on May 17. In addition to opportunities to meet with Michigan Works! Southeast career advisors and business resource team members, attendees were also able to meet with a number of Washtenaw County employers.

Michigan Works! Southeast Director Shamar Herron explains that although the move to East Ellsworth from the center’s previous location on Harriet Street in Ypsilanti officially took place last August, he and his team wanted to wait to hold an open house until they had a better idea of how the new space would be utilized.

"One thing COVID showed us was that we needed more space, and this place ended up being the best for us," Herron says. "This new location affords more opportunities, and more professionalism that was lacking in our previous space."

While Herron says that some of Michigan Works! Southeast’s Ypsilanti clients were hesitant about the move, the organization still has a strong connection with Ypsilanti, and the overall community reception to the move has been very positive. Michigan Works! Southeast Service Center Manager Johnny Epps explains that the new space will also allow Michigan Works! Southeast to expand some of its current services, such as career development workshops, as well as build new relationships with more businesses throughout the county.

"We’re more centralized. We’re closer to Chelsea, Dexter, and Ann Arbor, but still have a footprint in Ypsi," Epps says. "People were sad to see us move, but we outgrew that spot, and we hope people come to see our new building that’s more modern and spacious."

Both Herron and Epps also want to ensure that potential new Michigan Works! Southeast clients, both job-seekers and employers, are aware of the number of services the new center has to offer. They agree that this new location should not only allow them to better serve current clients, but deepen their relationships with current partners like Washtenaw Community College and the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

"We want to be a community resource for everyone," Herron says. "Our economy needs to be positively impacted by the work we do."

"Unemployment is just one piece of our work," Epps says. "Our biggest goal is to get the word out about all that we can do for folks, like providing space for training and connecting talent with open positions."

To keep up to date on future Michigan Works! Southeast events and workshops, visit their website. Job-seekers and employers can also call (734) 714-9814 for more information.

"More than anything, we are so appreciative of the community support," Herron says. "We are very thankful to the individuals and the businesses for trusting us with their wellbeing and for helping us grow." 

Rylee Barnsdale is a Michigan native and longtime Washtenaw County resident. She wants to use her journalistic experience from her time at Eastern Michigan University writing for the Eastern Echo to tell the stories of Washtenaw County residents that need to be heard.

Photo by Rylee Barnsdale.
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