On November 27th, The Right Place, Inc. and Hello West Michigan will partner to attract talent back to West Michigan. The two organizations, regional partners, and several local businesses will host the 8th annual ReThink West Michigan event, an evening gathering to attract former West Michiganders back to the region.

With support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and in collaboration with the West Michigan Economic Development Collaborative, partners from across the region will host six events in Grand Rapids, Hastings, Ludington, Muskegon, Rothbury, and Fremont.

On a day when many former West Michigan students and professionals are back in the area for the Thanksgiving holiday, 49 area companies and several non-profit organizations are coming together to convince them that it is time to “rethink” West Michigan.

ReThink West Michigan is not a traditional career fair, instead it provides a casual, professional environment to network and discover many of the great career possibilities and growing companies in the region.

“Companies in West Michigan are continuing to grow at a fast pace, but many face constraints when it comes to finding talent,” said Rachel Bartels, Executive Director at Hello West Michigan. “The labor market in the region remains tight, and there are hundreds of positions available. We know that in order to meet demand we will need to attract talent to the area, and who better to fill those jobs than former West Michiganders.”

“2017 was the first ReThink for Barry County. We had three hires as a direct result from the event, on top of the great exposure for our companies,” said Travis Alden, President of the Barry County Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Alliance, a member of the collaboration that makes ReThink West Michigan a multi-location event. “We’re able to showcase regional employers that have openings all over West Michigan like Spectrum Health, as well as international companies headquartered in Barry County like Flexfab, TNR Machine, and Hastings Fiber Glass Products - who are all hiring.”

The six West Michigan locations will have a combined 49 participating companies represented, all with current open positions. The event is free to attend, only requiring interested attendees to register online at: www.rethinkwm.com.

ReThink West Michigan was recently awarded Best in Show by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) at the Council’s 2019 annual conference. The IEDC received over 400 submissions from 12 countries for the 2019 awards, and ReThink West Michigan was selected as the top entry overall, making it a globally recognized best practice for economic development.

ReThink West Michigan has been used as a model around the state of Michigan by several different communities including Ann Arbor, Lansing, Houghton, Traverse City, Kalamazoo, and the Great Lakes Bay Region.

“As a growing region we share the important responsibility of improving, showcasing who we are and where we are going,” said Pamela Ries, Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer at Spectrum Health. “As West Michigan’s largest employer it’s exciting to collaborate on events like this that bring people together and helps connect them to job opportunities.”

Date: November 27, 2018


  • Eve at The B.O.B. – Grand Rapids
  • Walldorff Brewpub & Bistro – Hastings
  • The Block (above Unruly Brewing) – Muskegon
  • Double JJ Resort – Rothbury
  • Stearns Hotel - Ludington
  • Lakes 23 Restaurant and Pub - Fremont

Time: 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Registration: Register for FREE at www.rethinkwm.com