Michigan Works! Southwest helps company's transition

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By Ben Hoger, Michgan Works! Southwest

When Jacquelyn Murray was asked to explain what Marshall Excelsior Company does, it didn’t take long before she mentioned their partnership with Michigan Works! Southwest, a local agency that has been foundational in helping Marshall Excelsior Company transition and grow through corporate change.

As the Director of Human Resources at Marshall Excelsior Company, it makes sense that Jacquelyn Murray appears to be most interested in the company’s impact on people. Marshall Excelsior Company is a manufacturer of valves used in the propane industry, which means their products can be seen on residential propane tanks. Whether it’s through heating, cooking, clothes dryers, or the backyard grill, “we help people celebrate,” said Murray.

With additional company locations in Canada, Tampa, and Mexico, specializing in everything from cryogenics to smart technology, Marshall Excelsior Company is now transitioning from manufacturing to becoming the corporate headquarters, and they are not able to do it alone.

Murray currently serves as the Chair of the Michigan Works! Southwest Workforce Development Board and has been a member of the board for almost four years. She also serves on the Michigan Works! Association’s Board and Legislative Committee. Her strong interest in workforce development has helped to keep training opportunities at the forefront. Murray highlighted both the Going PRO Talent Fund, which grants awards to employers to assist in training, developing, and retaining current and newly hired employees; and the Registered Apprenticeship Training Program, which are both administered through Michigan Works! Southwest and utilized by Marshall Excelsior Company.

Working with Apprenticeship Success Coordinator, Jordan Lass from Michigan Works! Southwest, and Apprenticeship and Training Representative for the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship, Marshall Excelsior Company recently created a Maintenance Apprenticeship Training Program, with hopes to create a training program for various office positions as well.

Marshall Excelsior Company has been undergoing a reduction in its Michigan based manufacturing workforce since 2023 as the company transitions the Marshall, Michigan site to serve as headquarters with skilled manufacturing, while their other company sites continue production. Throughout this transition, Michigan Works! Southwest has been by Marshall Excelsior Company’s side every step of the way. Headed by Director of Business Solutions, Ashley Iovieno, and Calhoun County Business Solutions Coordinator, Shawn DeYoung, of the Michigan Works! Southwest Business Solutions Team, a process was implemented to ensure affected employees were notified of each layoff well in advance and were offered support services through Michigan Works! Southwest.

Along with the Business Solutions Team, Kalamazoo County Site Manager, Anna Bronsink, brought representatives from the Unemployment Insurance Agency to meet with individuals being laid off so they would not have any surprises when the day arrived.

Marshall Excelsior Company associates also had the benefit of three onsite job fairs, which were all organized by DeYoung and Success Coach April Gordon of the Southwest Michigan Employer Resource Network, to assist with an easy transition into new employment.The job fairs were scheduled a month ahead of each layoff, and Murray said several team members received employment opportunities due to those events; however, they agreed to stay and work the remainder of their time at Marshall Excelsior . Other local employers are definitely adding some skilled talent to their workforce, and the planned transition, with the assistance of Michigan Works! Southwest, has helped to maintain stability for these workers and their families. Corporate transition doesn’t have to be negative for the company or their employees, if done the right way, something Marshall Excelsior Company truly understands and has demonstrated.

Date: May 21, 2024