West Michigan Works! changes service model

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Due to the spread of COVID-19, West Michigan Works! service centers have moved to an appointment-based model. Courtesy West Michigan Works!

UPDATE (2:11 p.m. March 25, 2020): Due to the public health emergency that COVID-19 has created, the in-person registration at West Michigan Works! requirement is being waived at this time. This means that individuals who lose their jobs or are laid off do not need to visit a West Michigan Works! office in order to receive unemployment benefits.

Unemployment claims can be filed online at michigan.gov/uia or by calling 1-866-500-0017​​​​​​​.

Due to the spread of COVID-19, West Michigan Works! service centers have moved to an appointment-based model.

The change took effect Wednesday.

Job seekers can make appointments by calling a local West Michigan Works! service center. A list of centers and their contact information can be found at westmiworks.org/contact.

Those who show up without an appointment will not be turned away. However, if the service center is at capacity, they will need to wait to enter the building. Virtual and phone appointments will be prioritized.

“Now more than ever, people need our services,” said Jacob Maas, West Michigan Works! CEO. “We want to provide as much support as possible while maintaining a safe environment for our customers and staff.”

Until further notice, West Michigan Works! also has canceled nonessential services such as workshops, orientations, hiring events and other group activities.

Services will be limited to reemployment services and eligibility assessment (RESEA) appointments; required participation programs such as partnership, accountability, training and hope (PATH) and food assistance employment and training (FAE&T); and appointments with staff for other job search assistance.

For now, the requirement to visit a Michigan Works! service center to register for work has been waived.

On Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order temporarily suspending the in-person requirement for registration, according to a press release issued by Michigan’s Emergency Management & Homeland Security Division.

“We’ll continue to follow guidance from the state on how to operate during the COVID-19 outbreak, especially as it pertains to mandated programs and work requirements,” said Angie Barksdale, COO for West Michigan Works!. “We’re also exploring new technology and best practices around the state to minimize gaps in service delivery.”

In addition to appointments and phone calls, job seekers can pursue assistance by submitting a form at westmiworks.org.

West Michigan Works! serves Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.

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