March 24 - Local lawmakers and statewide talent development officials gathered virtually, and in-person, on Thursday, March 24 to recognize local resident Dakota Diem, Monarch Millwork, and the Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium for investing in young talent and offering good-paying job opportunities in the community. Monarch Millwork, located in Grayling, Michigan, operates in the hardwood veneer and plywood manufacturing industry. Their sister company, Michigan Wood Pellet, is a solid fuels specialist and one-stop-shop for all heating needs and offers everything from grills to stoves and boilers to coal pellets. Their business began in 1976 in the Grayling Industrial Park, and they moved into a newly built plant in 1992. Currently, their business is expanding into the sawmill Industry, and they are planning on increasing their staff size. Dakota Diem was working at Monarch Millwork in an entry-level position and the management knew quickly that he was a stand-out employee with great potential. The Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium Business Solutions Professional recommended the On-the-Job Training (OJT) program with the company and assisted with the contract and supporting documents to elevate his skillset and advance him in the company. The Michigan Works! Career Navigator and Career Advisor were able to assist Diem with supportive services that included a career goal to become an Industrial Production Manager. His barriers were noted as lack of appropriate work clothes as well as lack of relevant experience to achieve career goals. Michigan Works! was able to provide the required work attire to perform his job at Monarch. Monarch Millwork managers saw great potential in Diem and they knew he was an employee that could be trained and developed for higher positions within the company. By using the wage reimbursement funds through the OJT program, Monarch and Michigan Works! developed a training plan that led to Diem through a few promotions and up to Rough Mill Production Manager, a title he holds today.
Monarch has consistently partnered with Michigan Works! to offer student talent tours and has even taken on youth work experience students. They are a supporter of the offender success program, have utilized the OJT training program, including Incumbent Workers, and are a supporting partner on the MiLEAP program. Monarch Millwork is a company that invests in young talent by providing opportunities for students to tour the plant and learn about the manufacturing industry. Seth Reichard, Logistics, Production, Marketing, HR, QC, and Sales Manager for Monarch has led numerous tours for students in northeast Michigan. The company also works with the Shawono Center, a juvenile detention center in Grayling, and has met with students virtually to let them know the opportunities at Monarch after release. Shawono students have also participated in supervised plant tours where they learn about second chances, and a company that is willing to invest in their futures. Monarch Millwork has worked with the Offender Success Program and has taken on several new hires who came through the program. Reichard recently joined the Crawford AuSable Schools Advisory Committee and suggested working with students to develop more skills in the area of order of operations. Meaning, how do we figure out what cuts need to be made, and when during a project, to ensure that there is a sufficient volume of material to complete the job. “The pandemic has been especially difficult for the manufacturing industry,” said Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington). “Kudos to Monarch Millwork for investing in young talent to develop the talent pipeline.”
The Impact Awards hosted by Michigan Works! Association recognizes the economic development success being achieved in communities across Michigan. During the event, local lawmakers present tributes to dozens of honorees from across the state. “Economic development is key to creating growth in our region and throughout the state,” said Rep. Daire Rendon (R-Lake City). “Monarch Millwork has proven to be a great partner in creating good jobs in northern Michigan and as a leader in the community.”