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Tim Bartik says employers should go beyond thinking of job training as a one-time program. The Senior Economist for the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research says if workers can stay on the job, companies won’t have to take on as many costs that come with job turnover. 

Bartik and Senior Researcher Michelle Miller-Adams are two of the authors of the Upjohn Institute’s report called Building Shared Prosperity: How Communities Can Create Good Jobs for All. Bartik says job coaches can help find resources for workers to address problems like child care and transportation. Miller-Adams says large employers have their own people to do that, but she says employer resource networks can help spread out those costs for small and medium sized businesses.

Construction in downtown Kalamazoo. Photo by Greyson Steele, WMUK
Greyson Steele / WMUK

Over the next year and a half, changes are coming to downtown Kalamazoo. But the city, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, and Consumers Energy say the central city will remain open for business despite all of the construction. 

Eric Henning / Southwest Michigan's Second Wave

When Al Holloway went looking for a “makers’ space in Kalamazoo, “there was not one, and that’s when I founded the makers’ guild.” Holloway, who is technical resources manager for the Air Zoo, is one of the founders of the non-profit Kzoo Makers. The Project Editor for Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave on the Ground Kalamazoo, Theresa Coty O’Neil wrote about the makers’ space as part of their series on the Eastside Neighborhood.

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The Project Editor for Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave On the Ground Kalamazoo says the story of Kzoo Makers was one that people in the Eastside Neighborhood wanted her to tell. Theresa Coty O’Neil wrote about what goes on in the old warehouse, and how the makers in Kalamazoo help each other.

One the non-profit group’s founding members Al Holloway says it grew from a group of "makers" in town. He says they needed space and found it on East Michigan Avenue. Their makers’ space includes woodworking and metal shops, welding equipment, laser engraving and more. Coty O’Neil says most of the people she met were already working with their hands, but wanted to do something creative. “That hacker mentality it’s contagious, but…it just has this wonderful spirit as well.”

Downtown Kalamazoo Mall - file photo from WMUK

PlazaCorp’s work can be seen throughout Kalamazoo. Writer Ben Lando says “you see their work everywhere…cranes, and orange cones.” He wrote about some of their projects for the January issue of Encore Magazine.