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West Michigan Works! releases Hot Jobs list

By Austin Metz/The Holland Sentinel • Jan 27, 2018 at 9:00 AM

West Michigan Works! has released its 2018 Hot Jobs list, and it found the highest demand in health sciences and manufacturing.

The list looks at the top 100 jobs in the high-growth industries in the seven-county West Michigan region. High-demand occupations are those that have significant openings in the current job market that are expected to see growth in the coming years and provide living wages and a chance for advancement.

To create the list, West Michigan Works! gathered state labor market information and data, and then presents the data to employers for feedback and insight to find regional hiring needs.

“We’re grateful to the many partners that provide input into the Hot Jobs List,” West Michigan Works! CEO Jacob Maas said. “Because it starts with credible state labor market data and then receives intense scrutiny from our regional industry councils and employers, we are confident that the list provides solid guidance for students, job seekers and our workforce partners.”

In total, 30 of the jobs featured on the list are in the health sciences category, including jobs like diagnostic medical sonographers, which are expected to see over 30 percent growth through 2024. Other jobs with projected growth over 30 percent include physical therapists and nurse practitioners.

Manufacturing jobs are second, with 26 positions making the list — including electrical engineers; industrial engineers; mechanical engineers; and production, planning and expediting clerks.

The remainder of the jobs are in professional and administrative services (21), information technology (13) and construction (10).

The Hot Jobs list follows closely with data provided recently by the Department of Labor that showed that, in health care, there were 101,364 job postings and 28,888 certificates and degrees awarded, and in manufacturing there were 80,450 job postings and 12,561 certificates and degrees awarded. The data also showed there are more than 90,000 job postings in IT and only 5,336 certificates and degrees awarded in the state.

A recent article in The Holland Sentinel looked at local companies and what they are doing to close the talent gap in the most in-demand fields, including health care and manufacturing. 

Pam Carpenter, director of talent acquisition and employee engagement at Herman Miller, said because there are so many open jobs, it makes it hard to fill positions the company has. For Holland Hospital, Herman Miller and other companies, retention becomes even more important.

“Employment is challenging anytime the economy is good and jobs are plentiful because everybody is going to compete harder for talent,” said Mark Pawlak, senior vice president of operations, quality and human resources at Holland Hospital.

The seven-county West Michigan region consists of Ottawa, Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm and Muskegon counties.

For the complete 2018 Hot Jobs list, visit the West Michigan Works! website at www.westmiworks.org.

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