photo of the OnPoint team. Backrow far right is owner Ed Grube. Back row center is office manager Bianca LaFountain.
Ed Grube likes giving people opportunities and second chances, and he does that by matching people looking for work with people looking for workers. Grube is the owner of OnPoint Employment Solutions located at 4640 West River Drive in Comstock Park. He opened his employment services business, calling it ProStaff Employment Solutions, in 2009 on Plainfield Avenue. He changed the name of the business at the beginning of this year to OnPoint Employment Solutions because, “’OnPoint’ better reflects our company mission which is to be the leader – to be out in front.” After moving a few times because he needed more space, Grube leased the current 1700 square foot site in Comstock Park in April 2015. He finds the current location convenient.
“This location, close to the highway, is easy to find,” he said. “There’s lots of traffic, references points like the (Fifth Third) Ballpark.”
Grube, who has an accounting degree from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, worked at Ernst & Young, an international accounting firm. He then worked almost twelve years as a controller for a manufacturing facility where he “learned about manufacturing from finance to production.” With that broad knowledge, he opened his employment business matching job seekers with employers who need industrial, clerical, administrative, and technical workers. There are twelve internal employees at OnPoint who are recruiters, managers, account representatives, and sales people. Job seekers are called associates. He opened a second office in Big Rapids in 2011.
OnPoint places their associates in temporary and temp-to-hire positions. A “temp to hire” arrangement allows both the employer and job seeker a grace period to get to know each other and see if they’re a good fit. Bianca LaFountain, OnPoint office manager, said the current job market is employee friendly.
“This economy now is a good time for employees,” said LaFountain, who joined OnPoint in 2015. “Grand Rapids especially is growing, so many of our customers are looking for good employees.”
Job seekers start by filling out an online application on the OnPoint web site, and then come to the office for an interview to discuss what type of work and pay they are looking for and what job skills they have to offer. Staff at OnPoint then try to match them with an employer that’s a good fit. Drug testing and background checks are required. If an employer wants to do the interview, staff at OnPoint will give the job seeker some tips on things like what to wear. LaFountain said that while an interview is an opportunity for the employer to see if the candidate is a good fit, it’s also a chance for the candidate to see if the job is right for them. OnPoint also provides tutorial refreshers in subjects like math for their associates, and they partner with agencies like the Urban League to provide job skills training.
OnPoint advertises primarily through social media such as Facebook as well as yard signs. The OnPoint Facebook page lists things like positions available and job fairs, and some postings are in Spanish with an option for a translation. Grube said they have also tried radio, and LaFountain has been on the eightWest WOOD TV program.
With today’s job market being favorable to job seekers, LaFountain said employers are often willing to train a new employee who may not have the specific skills they are looking for. For instance LaFountain said if someone has worked at a fast food chain for a year, which she said is “good longevity for that type of job,” an employer may see that as “willingness to stick with a job and come in on time.” Then they may be willing to train that candidate in the particular skills they’re looking for. She also said that many employers offer tuition reimbursement to their employees noting, “Even if you think working on an assembly line isn’t for you, you can take advantage of tuition reimbursement and advance yourself.”
Grube is originally from Middleville, graduating from Thornapple Kellogg High School He currently lives in Belmont with his wife Regina, a teacher, and their two daughters, ages nine and ten. LaFountain is originally from Horton, a small town outside of Jackson, and graduated from Western High School. She currently lives in Plainfield Township.