Next Step of West Michigan is a faith based, social enterprise non-profit that provides job skills training, as well as employment opportunities in construction, manufacturing, and municipal clean-up that both stabilize and empower our teammates and result in high quality products and services for our customers.​

We serve people who have barriers to employment—broken relationships, lack of resources, insecure housing, previous incarceration or addiction—but are determined to build a better future. This is possible when we engage with members of our community, inviting them to work shoulder to shoulder with us and helping them rediscover their identity as beloved, creative and full of dignity​

We do this work in the 49507 neighborhood and greater Grand Rapids communities, at a time when our city is growing and we must decide whether we will allow the wealth gap to also grow, or if we’re dedicated to ensuring everyone in our city has equal access to resources and opportunities.​

At the end of the day, our goal is to cultivate a sustainable place in our city where people can heal and grow through work and relationship—where all can thrive.​

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RESTORING: lives, homes, communities


We provide job skills training and employment to individuals experiencing systemic barriers, but who are determined to build a better future for themselves.


To create a sustainable place where disadvantaged individuals rediscover their identity as beloved, creative and full of dignity. And ensure everyone in our city has equal access to resources and opportunities. 



In the past 12 years we have had the following impact through our social enterprise nonprofit model:

• 250+ individuals hired
• 265,000+ hours of paid work to vulnerable individuals
• Our financial model is 80% sustainable through our revenue


• Our 49507 neighborhood has a 25% unemployment rate, compared with 3.2% for the City of Grand Rapids.
• Historically marginalized neighborhoods like ours hold unlimited untapped potential.


OUR team

The rest of the Next Step team are hard-working and talented people. Our teammates have history or circumstance out of their control that has held them back, but all of them are turning over a new leaf. Everyday, they build more than just products and inspire and support each other in a rare and inspiring way. Our teammates have much to teach the rest of us about life, and we’re grateful they choose to be a part of this organization.



In 2007 Next Step of West Michigan was formed as a 501c3 when our founder responded to a need: men in our community that needed work opportunities but were consistently met with closed doors. That year, three guys were hired to do cleaning, trash-outs, and simple maintenance work. In a few short years, the organization experienced tremendous growth. By 2009, Next Step had become a community development partner with the City of Grand Rapids and joined the Neighborhood Stabilization Program as a contractor. Over the next 4 years, we completed 11 full home remodels, putting at-risk folks to work and providing on-the-job training in the  trades.


The opportunities to engage more people in more work kept coming- only now by way of manufacturing. In 2011-2012, we partnered with Starbucks to create bracelets for retail sale across the nation. We shifted gears and hired 22 employees, and over the next 7 months assembled, packed, and shipped over 25,000 bracelets a day. We have been engaged in manufacturing ever since as a way to offer employment to individuals with various levels of skill.


By 2017, the annual budget of Next Step exceeded $1.5 million, with 18 full-time employees on the payroll. We moved into the completed portion of our new 100 Garden SE location and started a new wood products manufacturing division.


In 2018 we partnered with the City of Grand Rapids to engage folks standing on the corners asking for help with work opportunities- every year since, our crews have cleaned the alley-ways of our city, removing green growth and brush and hauling litter and garbage to the dump. 


In 2020 we were impacted by COVID19 along with the rest of the world. This impressed upon us the precarious nature of our neighbors’ economic stability and access to resources here  in the 49507 zip code of Grand Rapids. The pandemic reinforced the urgency of our mission and vision to continue in our construction partnerships to offer low income housing, to persevere in our manufacturing and public works so we can offer employment and to launch a job skills training program to equip folks for the job market and link them to potential employment opportunities.  


In 2021, we hope to continue to grow our job skills training program and expand our public work services to the city and the county. We will continue to work to provide low income housing through our construction and remodeling efforts and steady employment through our manufacturing program.