Partners hosting poverty simulation workshop


Lorraine Medici. Courtesy Express Employment Professionals of Grand Rapids

A staffing firm and a local nonprofit are partnering to host a workshop exploring the barriers faced by low-income individuals.

Express Employment Professionals of Grand Rapids and Access of West Michigan will host “Living on the Edge: A Poverty Simulation Workshop” from 7:30 a.m.-noon Jan. 23 at the Christian Reformed Church headquarters, 1700 28th St. SE in Grand Rapids.

The training is geared toward helping management, human resources and senior leadership team members of businesses and nonprofits “overcome misconceptions about poverty, identify barriers faced by lower-income individuals and learn about diversity in their workforce through the lens of economic classes.”

“When we talk about poverty, we often don’t think about people who are employed,” said Janis Petrini, owner, Express Pros of Grand Rapids.

“This workshop is specially designed for employers to help them better understand the obstacles facing lower-wage employees in their business, empowering them to make changes to foster retention, growth and productivity.”

Workshop details

Express Pros and Access will co-facilitate the workshop, which will include an interactive simulation, discussion, and application to the real world and the workplace.

Participants will role-play the lives of various family types experiencing poverty. Staff members who have previously lived in poverty will share their real-life experiences.

After the simulation, Lorraine Medici, director of training and development at Express Pros, will focus on applying takeaways from the simulation to the workplace.

Access has conducted the poverty simulation using this curriculum for over 20 years, and the nonprofit reports 95% of participants have found the workshop to be a tool that accurately educated them about those living with restricted incomes.


Tickets for the workshop are $75 and include a light breakfast.

Class size is limited to 70 participants. People are asked to register online.

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