History of Innovation

History of Innovation publication cover

Click on the image above to view the History of Innovation publication

A look back at the history of workforce development in Michigan and the U.S.
  • Successful transition from the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) to The Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA)
  • Workforce development programs are administered individually and operated out of separate locations


  • Local agencies form the Michigan Job Training Partnership Association (currently the Michigan Works! Association) to create a unified system


  • Creation of Work First moves welfare client services to the evolving Michigan Works! System


  • Michigan Works! Association introduces a statewide toll-free phone number for ease of customer access, 1-800-285-WORKS


  • Business-led Workforce Development Boards are certified to govern and implement the newly designed Michigan Works! System
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) replaces welfare programs


  • Over 100 Michigan Works! Service Centers are up and operational


  • Michigan Works! receives the National Alliance of Business Award for Most Innovative Workforce Development System in the country
  • Michigan’s online labor exchange system moves to Michigan Works! to allow for immediate, self-serve access to job openings and resumes
  • Michigan transitions from JTPA to WIA, adding substantial services to the general public.


  • Michigan Works! expands to offer career preparation to aid in the transition of students from school to work


  • Michigan implements the Career Education Consumer Report, a consumer-oriented web site designed to provide the public with information about training programs in Michigan.


  • Michigan Works! adds the Incumbent Worker program to assist businesses with upgrading the skills of workers
  • Michigan becomes the first state in the nation to automate the collection of data on outcomes for an extensive range of workforce development programs including federal and state job training, welfare reform, and adult education programs through the One-Stop Management Information Systems.


  • President Bush signs the Trade Act of 2002, which includes the TAA Reform Act allowing for continued services through Michigan Works! for dislocated workers


  • Governor Granholm announces the Michigan Opportunity Partnership program, a partnership with Michigan Works!, to help employers hire workers with the skills they seek
  • The Michigan Department of Corrections relies on Michigan Works! Agencies’ administrative capabilities for the success of the new Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative.


  • The Disability Program Navigator initiative is launched through Michigan Works! to help individuals with disabilities navigate the employment services system
  • The Jobs, Education & Training program replaces Work First


  • Governor Jennifer Granholm launches No Worker Left Behind, implemented through the Michigan Works! System, which expands job training and education services currently available to job seek­ers
  • Thirty-two Michigan Regional Skills Alliances (MiRSA) are created with different industry focuses, in partnership with Michigan Works!
  • The Great Recession begins nationwide due to lower pay and unemployment. Michigan Works! is poised to respond to the needs of Michigan families—as the network always is, during good economic times and bad.


  • The Road Construction Apprenticeship Readiness (RCAR) program is piloted through Michigan Works! Agencies and local partnerships


  • President Obama signs the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provides funds to existing workforce programs offered through Michigan Works!


  • Pure Michigan Talent Connect replaces the Michigan Talent Bank as Michigan’s comprehensive job-matching system for
  • employers and job seekers.


  • Michigan Works! Directors’ Council adopts a Demand-Driven definition, identifying the employers as the primary customer. This allows for regional approaches, so local solutions can be customized to local opportunities.


  • Michigan Works! Association begins coordinating the Business Solutions Professional (BSP) Certification Training Program. BSP offers an innovative response to the changing needs of Michigan’s businesses and economy that requires a fundamental shift in the ways in which workforce development practitioners perceive and organize their work. The approach provides a shared language between partners and processes for working collaboratively with each other and businesses.
  • PATH replaces the Jobs Employment and Training (JET) program. The revamped program identifies barriers to employment and connects client to resources addressing those challenges
  • The Michigan Advanced Technician Training program (MAT2) program, which targets high school, Community College or University students to gain practical work experience while they go to school, launches in Michigan


  • President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Congress passed the Act by a wide bipartisan majority; it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system.
  • The Michigan Works! System begins coordinating Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF) award grants to employers to assist in training, developing and retaining current employees and individuals to be hired. Training is customized to meet employee skill requirements and is short-term in duration.


  • A regional approach to economic growth emerges in Michigan. The Michigan Works! Network shifts from 25 Michigan Works! Organizations to a model that features 16.