Tonight is the biggest bar night of the year, with many people visiting family and friends back home in Michigan. It’s a crowd employers in West Michigan are trying to reach. So they’re getting creative with their tactics.
Cindy Brown is executive director of Hello West Michigan. It’s a group made up of more than 40 businesses is trying to lure professionals back to the state.
“There’s a lot of people from the West Michigan region that come home for this holiday and we thought ‘What the heck?' It’s the largest bar night of the year. We know people are coming to hang out with their friends and we know that this is a time where people start wondering, ‘If I wanted to move back, would this be a good time to move back?" Brown said.
Brown’s group is helping host what you could call a pre-bar-night-business-party in downtown Grand Rapids. “It’s going to be cool. I mean downtown is really exciting – it’s exciting all the time – but it’s really exciting the day before Thanksgiving. So it gives people an idea of what they’re missing,” she said.
There will be beer. But there will also be people representing nearly a dozen companies who are hiring. West Michigan giants like Spectrum Health, Meijer, Amway and a few furniture companies will be there, but so will tech and finance companies, and manufacturers. You can find more details here.
“You really will have an opportunity to talk to somebody instead of just being a resume from St. Paul, Minnesota, or Chicago, or Boston or wherever,” Brown said.
They’ve been using social media and alumni associations at Michigan colleges and universities, asking people who are coming home for the holidays to stop by and meet company executives who are hiring.
Brown says the idea was inspired by Michigan Economic Development corporation events, MichAGAIN, that are similar. In those events MEDC hosts gatherings outside of the state and invites former Michigan residents. Here's a testimonial video MEDC produced.