ReThink W. MI uses holiday to bring natives back for good


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A local organization is working on turning traditional Thanksgiving time reunions into a permanent stay in West Michigan.

ReThink West Michigan will host a recruiting event Wednesday in downtown Grand Rapids, aimed at luring professionals who moved away from the area.

This is the fifth year the organization has held the event, which will take place at a bar during the busiest bar night of the year.

“We’ve had a lot of success with it. So we’re really targeting individuals that have left the state and asking them and inquiring and questioning. If you are looking to move, why don’t you come hang out with us for a couple of hours,” said Cindy Brown of ReThink West Michigan.

ReThink West Michigan said in the past four years, they have successfully brought back more than 35 people to the area.

“We’ve had people come to that event and by February, (they) have relocated maybe from Chicago, or maybe the Columbus area. And they’ve relocated and started a career here back in West Michigan back by their family,” said Brown.

Brown said the benefit for those who attend the event is they get to talk to an actual representative from the 16 companies and organizations in attendance.

“It’s casual. We are at a bar, so there are appetizers and that type of thing. But the point of it is, it’s not a traditional career fair, where you get lost in the shuffle. You will talk to people that night. We want to make sure you talk to people that night,” said Brown.

ReThink West Michigan says in the first year of the recruiting event, a lot of the people who showed up were from West Michigan. Now the majority of people who attend don’t already have a local zip code and are not necessarily young.

“(They) left probably right around the time they are looking to purchase a house or start a family. Those are the individuals that will probably come to this or above. They have been working 15 to 20 years and now it’s time. Or, a new thing that is happening is their parents are getting older and people are moving back to assist them,” Brown said.

ReThink West Michigan’s recruiting event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at The B.O.B. in downtown Grand Rapids.  The event is free but attendees must register on the organization’s website.

—-Online:ReThink West Michigan

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