About Align Lenawee

Employment Connections Needed in Lenawee County

In 2014, the economic development executives at Lenawee Now noticed a trend among local manufacturers. With increasing frequency, employers were struggling to find and retain skilled employees. This, in combination with the impending mass retirement of the baby boomer generation, indicated a growing talent gap.

The directors, Jim Van Doren and Tim Robinson, considered the existing education and technical programs across the county and investigated the strengths and weaknesses of each. Students were enrolled in the right programs, skilled trades teachers were nurturing employable students, and manufacturers were expanding their programs and offering better wages and benefits. Yet there were still not enough qualified employees to fill the available openings.

The Lenawee Now staff recognized that the issue would not resolve itself and would become a larger issue. As an organization with strong ties to both employers and educators in the county, Lenawee Now called a meeting of leaders from both sides to discuss the issue and gather support toward working on a solution.

Over 50 representatives from top management participated in the discussion and concluded that it was time to fix the problem and stop the blame cycle. They committed to ensuring all “players” received relevant information and would make the most of engaging with students. These leaders identified the largest hurdle to get over: the misconceptions that students and parents have about manufacturing. They also singled out a major goal: to inspire elementary and middle school students to explore manufacturing and other professional trades.


We are teachers, counsellors, and superintendents who care about our students and the future of Lenawee County. Representatives from the Lenawee Intermediate School District and the Southern Michigan Center for Science and Industry keep their ears to the ground to ensure we stay on target.


We are companies and organizations that work in Lenawee County. We want to help students grow and ensure they are getting the proper training for a successful career.


We want the best for our families, and we know that you do too. We know that four years of college might not be the best fit for every high school graduate, and opportunities are sometimes hard to find.

Community Leaders

We bring the team together for better collaboration and to champion for local initiatives. Local economic developers work with marketers, site selectors, and potential employers to help pave the way for future success. Representatives from Lenawee Now, Michigan Works! Southeast, and other organizations are involved every step of the way.