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Top 10 Hot Jobs in Portage Michigan to 2016

Updated on October 26, 2011

Tri-Cites in Western Michigan

Portage is located in Southwestern Michigan and creates the lower point in a triangle formed with Grand Rapids and Lansing. The center of Portage is about 54 miles from the first city and approximately 78 miles from the second in this triangle. However, Portage is about 7 miles from Kalamazoo, with additional jobs; and 23 miles from Battle Creek and the major employer, Kellogg.

For workers that are able to commute from Portage to the two larger cities, sometimes living within the triangle's middle area or along one side, the distance is not prohibitive to employment. It is similar to that between Cincinnati and Dayton in the Ohio Space Corridor, which is developing increasing numbers of jobs and adding new businesses and expansions. In fact, Dayton, a previously very depressed market, has begin expanding to meet Cincinnati expansion is creating a Metroplex Area.

PORTAGE - "A Place for Opportunities to Grow"

Portage is part of the larger Kalamazoo-Portage employment market, with an unemployment rate of 9.9% or 16,000 people in Feb. 2009. The population in 2008 of Kalamazoo County, in which Portage sits, is reportedly 146,000. Portage produced the largest economic base in the County of Kalamazoo, with $209 Billion taxable base in 2008, reported by the county government in its Feb '09 brochure. Over half of the tax base if residential, with industrial and commercial sectors dividing the remainder nearly equally.

The county points to these Portage featrures as the largest successes:

  • South Westnedge Avenue Commercial Corridor ("100s of businesses")
  • Sprinkle Road Industrial Corridor
  • A primary WIA/MichiganWorks! Employment Center

New Businesses opening in 1st QTR 2009

  • Huntington Bank - 416 West Centre Avenue. Feb 09.
  • Becker Insurance - 420 West Centre Avenue. Feb 09.
  • Ameriprise Financial Services; Knowlton, Johnson & Kehoe - 721 West Centre Avenue. Feb 09.
  • First National Bank - 2700 West Centre Avenue. Jan 09.

While several other businesses expanded, the largest number of newemployees provided jobs in any new/expanding company 2008 - 1st QTR 2009 was not over 53 (at the Main Street Pub).

Economic Development Plans are avaiable on the site: Southwestern Michigan First. In addition to expanding life sciences related businesses, the site promotes what they call Community Capitalism (see material to the right above).

A markerPortage, MI -
Portage, MI, USA
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Largest Portage Employers, by Number of Workers

In the 18 months leading up to February 2010, Portage experienced several job listing increases up to 1400% higher than previously. A downturn affected the listings in the 1st QTR 2010, but modest increases were evident beginning In February. 


Where are Portage jobs?

Indeed.Com lists 2500 jobs within 25 miles of Portage as of May 2, 2009. Employees in this market work largely in the following industries, arranged from highest number of workers to fewer: Government, Trades/Transport/Utilities Wholesale, Education & Health, Mfg., and Leisure & Hospitality. Employers listing the largest number of jobs on iNDEED include:

  1. National City Bank
  2. Stryker Medical Technology - A Largest company.
  3. Kellogg Company
  4. Voyager Healthcare
  5. Borgess Medical Center - A Largest company.
  6. Borgess Health - related to Borgess Med Center.
  7. Medical Connections - Healthcare recruiters.
  8. Kalamazoo Public Schools
  9. Portage Public Schools

Jobs in the City of Portage reduced to about 200 positions on the same date: Assistant Mgrs in food service or retail; Store Mgrs - various; Learning Centers Asst, Directors; other services. Job opportunities increase 5 miles away to over 1400 and at 10 miles, 1600 in the same types of occupations, plus Healthcare.

CareerBuilder.Com offers additional jobs, of different kinds, in the Portage Area.

Another option is to work as an Independent Contractor for LiveOps (the only such company that I know that's successful), which is a virtual call center, but one which handles Food Deliveries, Inbound Sales, Insurance, Financial Services, and others. I have recently known two single moms that have earned a full-time income with it.

See if you are interested at: It does require a land line telephone.

Portage Employment Projections 2006 - 2016

The time period 2009 - 2016 offers 8 years of potential boosted growth in business and jobs under the funds allocated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

Employment & Training, Job Placement, and related services under the JTPA (Job Training Partnership Act) passed to the WIA (Workforce Investment Act) around 2000. The WIA funds MichiganWorks! offices across the state, along with the program entitled No Worker Left Behind.

Under WIA, unemployed and underemployed job seekers can receive effective assessment, followed by core and, if needed, advanced services. Job seekers can learn what is involved at each step by reading the web site called MichiganWorks!, Kalamazoo.

While in Ohio, training funds often run out in the spring, the ARRA provides large amonts of money to keep that facet of the system operating in the function of providing education and training to more people that need it. This is important, because some job seekers need further training in order to accept new employment that is available.

The industries in the Portage area that are forecasted for highest growth include

  1. Health Care & Social Assistance
  2. Administrative, Support & Waste/Recycling (largely govt)
  3. Administrative & Support Services – private sector
  4. Ambulatory Health Care
  5. Employment Services
  6. Accommodations, Food Services – non-restaraunt
  7. Dining Places & Taverns
  8. Professional, Scientific, and Tech Services
  9. Educational Services
  10. Hospitals

The forecasts above were prepared just before the enactment of the ARRA.

Jobs Increasing Through 2011


Previous Job Increases

Data provided by, a major job search and trending engine across the globe.
Data provided by, a major job search and trending engine across the globe. | Source

Top 10 Hot Jobs for Autumn 2011

Highest Demand Jobs included among 5,300+ total positions advertised at the end of October (bold titles are in forecasts above):

  1. Physicians
  2. Psychiatrists (MDs)
  3. Pharmacists
  4. Public Health Officers - USAF
  5. Registered Nurses (RNs)
  6. Truck Drivers - all types, including Owner/Operators
  7. Psychologists
  8. Financial advisors
  9. Physical Therapists
  10. Insurance Agents

Moderate-Demand Jobs:

  • Crew - Drug stores, retail, casual dining, coffee shops.
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Event Specialists
  • Pizza Hut - All levels of Management and workers.
  • Delivery Drivers

COMPARISON: Top 10 Fast Growing Jobs in 2010

Bold listings are among forecasts given for 2008 - 2016.

  1. Automobile Mechanics
  2. Registered Nurses (RNs) at several levels of responsibility
  3. Retail Salespersons and Consultants
  4. Physical Therapists
  5. Physicians - Family Practice
  6. Financial Advisors
  7. Manufacturing Engineers
  8. Other Engineers
  9. Customer Service Reps
  10. Restaurant Managers

Additional High Demand Jobs

  1. Dental Assistants
  2. Dentists
  3. Dental Lab Teachs
  4. Front Desk Managers
  5. Occupational Therapists


One barrier to productive employment can be transportation. The City of Portage advertises its Portage Transit Center will provide a shuttle to the local airport and the Kalamzoo Transit Center once every hour. The city advertises free parking throughout the town and especially, close to the tansit center with its city and inter-city buses. A Ride Sharing program for car pooling is also available.

Bus routes that include Kalamazoo, Portage, Western Michgian University, and several small towns can be found at: Kalamazoo Metro Transit. ADA transportation options are also available.

Higher Education

The following institutions are located in either Portage or nearby Kalamazoo and are designated training providers for Michigan Employment and Training (E&T) services. In other words, they are approved to receive funds and provide training under WIA.

  • Everest Institute-Kalamazoo
  • Kalamazoo College
  • Kalamazoo Valley Community College
  • West Michigan College of Barbering and Beauty
  • Western Michigan University (link located above)
  • Wright Beauty Academy 

Portage Attractions

While Portage Lake Lift Bridge is a sight to behold, it is not in Portage, Michigan; but on the Upper Peninsula between Houghton and Hannock. A photo below for your enjoyment.

Galen R. Fryslinger's great travel pages on the web provide an abundance of information about the bridge that can be found at the embedded link.Lake Superior is truly beautiful enough to take one's breath and Lake Portage and it's bridges fascinating. Michigan is another world, green in many areas and filled with waterways.

Another wonderful Internet site for the history of this bridge and its predecessors is available at Copper Range Railroad, detailing history and illustrations presented by Mr. Kevin E. Musser.

Portage Lift Bridge

On the Upper Peninsula.
On the Upper Peninsula. | Source

Porate Lake Lift Bridge, Upper Peninsula

show route and directions
A markerHoughton, MI -
Houghton, MI, USA
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B markerHancock MI -
Hancock, MI, USA
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