Back To Michigan Job Fair Series Goes Virtual to Entice ‘Boomerangs’ Back Home

    In a normal year, the Back to Michigan series – job fairs to attract folks interested in relocating back to Michigan, would be in-person networking events generally wrapped around the Thanksgiving weekend.

    This year, as everyone knows, is anything but normal. And with the COVID-19 pandemic still surging across the state – around the country, really – Back to Michigan, like so many events before it, is going virtual.

    Back To Michigan, a series of eight virtual job fairs, will be hosted by community partners throughout the state from Nov. 17-24.

    During each of the eight virtual events – which are free to attend – job seekers can talk one-on-one with recruiters from organizations with immediate talent needs, and community ambassadors will be on hand to answer questions for those who may be considering a move back to Michigan.

    This Back To Michigan event series is the “COVID-friendly” virtual version of the events that typically happen on Thanksgiving weekend throughout Michigan. The tradition of Thanksgiving events for “boomerangs” started in 2012 with ReThink West Michigan, hosted by Hello West Michigan and The Right Place.

    The program, which has been recognized as a best practice by the International Economic Development Council, has spread to multiple regions in Michigan over the last nine years. The Northeast Lower Peninsula, Detroit and Flint are joining the effort with first-time events this year.

    “With COVID-related relocations on the rise, we knew we needed to give job seekers the chance to explore what a move to Michigan could look like for them,” said Rachel Gray, Executive Director of Hello West Michigan. “Even if someone wants to keep their current job and work remotely from Michigan, our community ambassadors will be answering questions about what it’s really like to live here.”

    These events are targeted to people living outside of Michigan, people who recently relocated, or those who are local and seeking employment. Companies are hiring in many fields, including IT, engineering, finance, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, art and design, professional services, government, hospitality and more.

    The virtual job fair platform is provided by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Employment & Training.

    “The unique challenges presented by COVID-19 required us to re-imagine how to best deliver the services and resources needed by our state’s workers and businesses,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, Director of LEO’s Office of Employment & Training. “Providing this virtual job fair platform allows us to work with partner organizations – including the statewide Michigan Works! agencies and Back To Michigan – to support Michigan’s employers, career seekers and communities in a direct and meaningful way.”

    The Back to Michigan events, all virtual, will run 3-7 p.m. and are open-house style (attendees do not have to be logged on the entire time. The Back To Michigan virtual job fair events are free to attend, but advance registration is required. To register, visit

    The schedule:

    • November 19 – West Michigan (Grand Rapids)
    • November 19 – Detroit/Flint
    • November 23 – Lansing
    • November 23 – Great Lakes Bay & Central Michigan
    • November 24 – Northeast Lower Peninsula
    • November 24 – Ann Arbor

    MTEC SmartZone, TCNewTech, MiWorks! NE Consortium, MiWorks! Region 7B, The Right Place, Inc. Hello West Michigan, Saginaw Future, Middle Michigan Development Corporation, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Lansing 5:01, Ann Arbor Spark and Let’s Detroit will partner to host the virtual events which are sponsored by Consumers Energy.

    ”Consumers Energy is committed to Michigan’s prosperity and showcasing our state as a great place to work and live. We are excited to sponsor the Back to Michigan job fairs to bring talent home to Michigan and keep the next generation right here,” said Cathy Hendrian, senior vice president of People and Culture for Consumers Energy.

    Last year’s Back to Michigan job fairs were in-person events. This year, they’re going virtual.