New UP-Wide Campaign Urges Unemployed to Get Back to Work

A screenshot of Bill Raymond and Andrew Lacombe during a virtual interview regarding UP Jobs Now.

Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! wants to fill more than 1,000 open jobs.

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(WLUC) – Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! announced Thursday a region-wide awareness campaign aimed at filling more than 1,000 jobs in the region.

Michigan Works! says the decision to run this campaign came after hearing from a large number of U.P. employers who struggle to get unemployed workers back to work. This issue is severe enough that if not corrected, businesses will close for good.

As the economy started to reopen in May businesses have found themselves competing with increased unemployment wages and other federal stimulus programs. Just last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration added a $300 weekly supplement to Michigan unemployment insurance checks.

While unemployment in the Upper Peninsula is down more than half from April (24% to 8%), there are still close to 1,000 jobs that need to get filled. Small businesses continue to struggle rehiring people for the important jobs needed to operate their businesses.

Right now, there are more than 1,000 jobs across the Upper Peninsula in a wide variety of industries and skill levels that must be filled immediately. Click here to see job opportunities. While Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! can only account for 750 jobs, the agency says it knows there are hundreds of more unreported job openings right now.

“My concern right now is helping our U.P. businesses keep their doors open,” Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! CEO Bill Raymond said in a press release. “My bigger and more longer-term concern is that by the time employees are ready to return to work (when benefits run out), there will not be job opportunities.”

Concerned about the future of the U.P. workforce, Raymond pleads with employees.

“Getting back to work is critical for our workers, our communities and the U.P. economy, that our workforce return to their jobs immediately,” he said.

Throughout July and August, the entire UP has been minimally impacted with an average of 30 active cases spread over 15 counties. Half of U.P. counties have experienced less than 10 cases ever. Most importantly, businesses are taking social distancing recommendations very seriously.

“U.P. businesses have done a great job in implementing measures and best practices to keep their employees, customers and communities safe”, Marty Fittante, InvestUP CEO, said in a press release. “And, that was a challenge that the business community quickly rose to meet in light of the robust tourism and traffic we have seen, such as with university students returning to the UP. These realities also translate to hope that the UP economy has a path forward. However, that hope is challenged by a desperate demand for workers across many sectors of our economy. That is why we are grateful for this effort by our friends at Michigan Works to help encourage a match between employers needs and displaced employees.”

The campaign is expected to start rolling out this week. The campaign was designed to grab people’s attention with funny but thought provoking ads while featuring the very important message that there are over 1,000 local jobs right now.

Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! says it’s helping businesses spread the word that they hiring immediately. Regional employers who are not engaged with Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! are encouraged to visit the Employers page at to find the contact information for the local office.

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