Retired Oakland County Michigan Works! manager honored twice by state workforce development agency

The former manager of the Oakland County Michigan Works! division was honored with two awards for his contributions to workforce development efforts in the state.

John Almstadt, who retired from Oakland County on March 1 after 38 years of service, was given the Ralph Loeschner Outstanding Service Award and the Champions of Workforce Development award on Oct. 3 during the Michigan Works! annual conference in Mount Pleasant.

“I’m extremely proud of John who was a great employee of my administration for many years,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “He is missed by all who worked with him. His successor has big shoes to fill.”

Jennifer Llewellyn, who replaced Almstadt, praised him for his professionalism and the impact he has had on the workforce development community and on her career. Almstadt’s work touched tens of thousands of lives during his career.

“John is a workforce development legend,” said Llewellyn, who nominated Almstadt for the Loeschner Award. “He is highly respected across Oakland County and throughout the state of Michigan. He has impacted and changed the lives of so many through his work. I am truly humbled to be his successor. He has huge shoes to fill.”

The Loeschner Award is named in honor of Ralph Loeschner, a respected advocate and promoter of Michigan Works! programming who died in 2004. The Champions of Workforce Development honors Michigan Works! agency heads who “exemplify the highest standards of leadership and who have made a significant contribution to workforce development in Michigan.”

“I’m thrilled to receive these awards which recognize a lifetime of work,” Almstadt said. “It’s nice to be included with other people who have made such important contributions to workforce development. I thank Mr. Patterson and the administration for their support over the years. You never get awards such as these without the help of many other people along the way.”

Almstadt is a graduate of Adrian College and American University in Washington D.C. He began his professional career as a school teacher and then came to the county to oversee youth training programs. He was ultimately promoted to oversee the county’s workforce development initiatives, which includes the eight Michigan Works! centers throughout the county and the workforce development board.

He also oversaw the creation and production of a series of reports – the Skills Needs Assessment Project – which identified the skills, experience and education needed to work for emerging technology, health care and manufacturing companies, and assists educators in preparing the curriculum needed to help talent succeed.

Oakland County is one of 16 agencies in Michigan that provides free talent attraction, management and retention services for businesses and career management, training and placement for job seekers. More than 1,200 people visit Oakland County Michigan Works! centers every day.