Best Jobs in Portage, Michigan
Tri-Cites in Western Michigan
Portage is located in Southwestern Michigan and creates the lower point of a land triangle among itself, Grand Rapids, and Lansing. These large communities are the local Tri-Cities for employment and marketing purposes.
Portage is only about seven miles away from Kalamazoo as well, with additional jobs available; and 23 miles from Battle Creek and its major employer, Kellogg.
Many job vacancies need workers in all these locations during the 2020s.
For workers that are able to commute from Portage to the two larger cities in the triangle, the distance is similar to that between Cincinnati and Dayton in the Ohio Space Corridor and takes about an hour to 90 minutes.
Portage: "A Place for Opportunities to Grow"
The Kalamazoo-Portage employment market produces the largest economic base in the County of Kalamazoo, reported by the county government.
These Portage features are the largest successes:
- South Westnedge Avenue Commercial Corridor ("hundreds of businesses")
- Sprinkle Road Industrial Corridor
- A primary WIA/MichiganWorks! Employment Center
- Huntington Bank, 416 West Centre Avenue.
- Becker Insurance, 420 West Centre Avenue.
- Ameriprise Financial Services; Knowlton, Johnson & Kehoe - 721 West Centre Avenue.
- First National Bank - 2700 West Centre Avenue. .
Economic Development Plans are available on the site: Southwestern Michigan First. In addition to expanding life sciences related businesses, the site promotes what they call Community Capitalism.
Largest Portage Employers
- Bronson Healthcare
- Bronson Methodist Hospital
- Stryker Medical Technology - Surgical and hospital equipment.
- Western Michigan University
- Fabri-Kal: Thermoformer manufacturing, especially plastic tableware.
- Weller Auto Parts: Manufcturing
- Borgess Medical Center
- Summit Polymers: Automotive manufacturing.
- Wirepro Tech
- Pfizer - pharmaceuticals.
Portage Job Listings Doubled and Tripled
Indeed.Com listed 2,500 jobs for Portage in May 2009, but over 4,500 openings in May 2019. In July 2019, the number of vacancies increased to approximately 8,000.
Largest Industry Clusters
- Education Services
- Leisure & Hospitality
The most jobs are available at these companies:
- Speedway Gas and Convenience Stores
- Stryker Healthcare
- Kalamazoo County Area Public Schools
- Ascension Borgess Hospital; Bronson Healthcare
- Shell Oil | Walters-Dimmick Petroleum
- Meijer Stores, Family Dollar Stores, Dollar Tree: retail sales and related jobs
- Pizza Hut, Burger King/Carrols Corporation: Casual dining
- Charles River Laboratories
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.
Portage Employment Projections
Employment & Training, Job Placement, and related services under the JTPA (Job Training Partnership Act) passed on to the WIA (Workforce Investment Act) around AD 2000. The WIA funds MichiganWorks! offices across the state, along with the program called 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.
The industries forecast for highest growth:
- Health Care & Social Assistance
- Administrative, Support & Waste/Recycling (largely govt)
- Administrative & Support Services – private sector
- Ambulatory Health Care
- Employment Services
- Accommodations, Food Services
- Dining Places & Taverns
- Professional, Scientific, and Tech Services
- Educational Services
Top 10 Hot Jobs
Highest Demand Jobs
- Public Health Officers - USAF
- Registered Nurses (RNs)
- Truck Drivers of all types, including Owner/Operators
- Production Workers: Manufacturing
- Financial Advisors
- Physical Therapists
- Insurance Agents
- Delivery Drivers, especially groceries and restaurants.
- Front line workers: Drug stores, retail, casual dining, coffee shops.
- Customer Service Representatives
- Event Specialists
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.
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.
- Air Zoo: The Total Flight Experience
Based in Kalamazoo near the Tri-Cities, the Air Zoo features history's greatest aircraft, full-motion flight simulators, a 4-D theater, and family activities.
- Celery Flats Interpretive and Historical Center. 7328 Garden Lane, Portage, MI 49002. Located inside Portage Creek Bicentennial Park. Kalamazoo has been known as Celery City for many years, because the vegetable grows easily in the rich soil.
- Kalamazoo-Portage, Michigan, Outdoors Recreation
- Portage Rocket Football
- Summer Entertainment Series of Portage.
Map of the Boundaries of Bicentenniel Park
- Crane's Detroit Business Magazine. April 2019.
- Indeed.com employment listings March 2019, April 2019, July 2019.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Patty Inglish MS