According to a survey of local business leaders about their prices, production, inventories, purchasing activities and other factors, the economy in West Michigan is showing slow economic growth. The indexes measured showed minimal to no changes – the level of business improvement and the employment index stayed the same, the production index increased +5 and the index of purchases decreased slightly, according to Allison Ribick’s article “West Michigan economy shows slow growth.”

While this survey has showed some industries to be doing well in West Michigan, such as the furniture and automotive industries, students should keep an eye on their field to see where the best opportunities lie.

Grand Valley State University students are located all around the globe and have a wide variety of positions. While West Michigan offers many opportunities to recent graduates, students should also keep an open mind to looking in other areas too – especially if the stats are showing that the field you’re going into has slow growth in this area.

One of the most important elements to keep in mind when entering the job force is the idea of taking chances. Companies and employers are often impressed by those who take initiative because it is a reflection of the work and attitude you would bring to their company.

There is another option for students, though, and that is creating their own opportunities in their industry and the community they want to live in. If you don’t see an opportunity in your area, create it. Many entrepreneurs, no matter what they studied in college, are starting small businesses and other companies with a local base. And, chances are, other people with similar ideas will want to join you, which will help the business grow.

By taking this sort of initiative, you can also make connections that could serve you well in future career plans – whether that be in West Michigan or not.

When looking at options for employment after graduation, don’t be afraid to talk to your professors, get creative or look into an option you did not previously consider. It could pay off in the long run.