The Champions of Workforce Development award honors Michigan Works! Directors and other workforce professionals who exemplify the highest standards of leadership and who have made significant contributions to workforce development in Michigan.

We celebrate and honor these long-serving pioneers for their outstanding service and dedication to making a difference in Michigan.

2015 Inductee

Gwen Worley
Eastern Upper Penninsula Michigan Works!

2014 Inductee

Marv Pichla
Thumbworks!, A Michigan Works Agency

2013 Inductees
Doug Stites
Capital Area Michigan Works!

Robert Straits
Kalamazoo-St. Joseph
Michigan Works!                 

2012 Inductee

Kurt Ries
Northeast Michigan Consortium

2011 Inductees

Beverly Drake
Area Community Services
Employment & Training Council 
Michigan Works!

James Sarri
Western Upper Penninsula
Michigan Works!

Bud Shipstead
Northwest Michigan
Council of Governments

Paul Roy, Jr.

Craig Schreuder
Kalamazoo-St. Joseph
Michigan Works!

Ralph Loeschner
Central Area Michigan Works!

Dennis Brieske
Saginaw Midland Bay
Michigan Works!

Robert Pendleton
Michigan Department of
Career Development

Elaine Furu-Baker
Michigan Works!

Thomas Husband
Thomas Husband &

Jack O'Reilly, Jr.
Southeast Michigan
Community Alliance (SEMCA)
Michigan Works!

Trenda Rusher
Washtenaw County
Michigan Works! / ETCS
Vicki Enright
Department of Labor &
Economic Growth

The Association

The Michigan Works! Association was established in 1987 to provide services and support to Michigan’s workforce development system. Through the association, members can access timely, relevant professional development opportunities and ensure high-quality programs for all customers.

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The System

The Michigan Works! System is the first unified workforce development system in the U.S. and is an integral partner in developing Michigan’s economic future. The system is demand driven, locally responsive, and ready to meet the needs of each community. Every year, the Michigan Works! System serves nearly four million customers.

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History Of Innovation

A visionary process that spanned several decades, covering both Democratic and Republican administrations, culminated in 1996 with the creation of the Michigan Works! System— the first statewide, unified workforce development system in the country. Today, the Michigan Works! System serves as a model to other states and countries and has been emulated based on its widespread and long-standing success.