Interesting Jobs in the Michigan Thumb

Updated on May 22, 2020
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is a successful Employment & Training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

Michigan Thumb Icons

The Michigan Thumb is known for octagonal barns.
The Michigan Thumb is known for octagonal barns. | Source

The Octagonal Thumb

The Thumb of Michigan is shaped like the thumb of a mitten and includes the four counties of Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac and Tuscola. St. Clair County is often considered part of the Thumb by many sources as well. Towns famous for their unique names in the Thumb include Bad Axe, Marine City, and Pigeon.

While each county has its unique history, some historic installations bind the Thumb together, such as sand dunes and eight-sided apple barns. One other includes the 1000-year-old artwork of Native Americans: Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park.

Petroglyphs in Bad Axe depict the Water Panther hunted and communed with by Native Americans, a cat which some historians feel is a mythical beast and others feel is real (similar to the fact that the Florida Panther turned out to be non-extinct and real, while some had thought it mythical).

Many figures also look like the Tricerotops dinosaur, but some examiners feel that the water panther could even be a Stegasaurus because of back frills or plates, but that is unclear. Super Big Cats, larger than 21st-century cougars roamed North America in those times, and likely moved too fast to see clearly in the vegetation.

The Thumb In Popular Literature

The geography and local businesses of Detroit and the Thumb were used as a basis for settings within the popular long-running mystery novel series, The Cat Who... by Lilian Jackson Braun.

Ms. Braun was an editor for the Detroit Free Press for many years and had experiences in the Thumb as well. She combined several newspaper people she knew well into a singular character named James Mackintosh Qwilleran. a recovering alcoholic, crack news reporter, and playwright.

He has been on skid row as well as in the palace of life and gained two cat friends: Ko Ko and Yum Yum, named for characters from The Mikado as well as a famous Chinese artist.

Non-Michigan readers have delighted and wondered at the Octagon Apple Barn that the newsman converted into a home in The later Cat Who mysteries. In reality, the octagon barn is a staple of the Thumb agricultural landscape, as depicted in the accompanying photos. They make an interesting tourist attraction, along with many lighthouses, mine shaft houses, and tall sand dunes, to increase the health of the Hospitality and Tourism Industries in the Thumb.

Most famous Octa-Barn in Gage, MI. Public domain website.
Most famous Octa-Barn in Gage, MI. Public domain website.
Huron County is at the tip of the "Thumb." CLICK TO ENLARGE MAP.
Huron County is at the tip of the "Thumb." CLICK TO ENLARGE MAP.

No Worker Left Behind

Workers may qualify in Michigan for the No Worker Left Behind (NWLB) program if they are unemployed, have received a notice of termination or layoff, or if their family income is under $40,000 per year. Up to 2 years of paid education is available to eligible individuals through a network of accredited community colleges, universities, and local training programs. Call 1-800-285-works (9675).

The NWLB program helps workers gain employment in jobs that need workers, including the fast-growing and high-demand Jobs in the Thumb expected through at least 2016. The following list includes occupations that have been adding at least 100–600+ jobs across 6–8 years. This was not taken simply from a list, but compiled from multiple stats databases, private-sector job listings, and phone calls, because some occupations list a high percentage of increase while showing as little as 5 new jobs over a decade.

It is vitally important to train people for jobs that exist. To train workers for jobs that do not or may not exist in the future raises an unemployment rate.

The Top 10 High Demand, Fast Growing Jobs

  1. Medical & Clinical Laboratory Technicians
  2. Personal Care and other Service Jobs
  3. Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists
  4. Healthcare Technologies
  5. Registered Nurses [RNs]
  6. Heating/Air Conditioning/Refrigeration Professionals
  7. Healthcare Support Occupations
  8. Biuldings & Grounds Maintenance and Landscaping Techs
  9. Food Prep Staff and Wait Staff
  10. Retail and Wholesale Sales Persons, including Route Sales

Thumb Works! NWLB & More


  • PHONE: 989-635-3561
  • E-mail:
  • Web Site:

NWLB Training for Real Jobs

Education, training, and help in job placement are also available through NWLB for the following occupations that show evidence of actual growth, albeit at a bit slower rate than the Top 10.

Additional programs are available as well, with lesser chances of job placement, but still the possibility. call for details.


  • Claims Adjusters and related positions: This says something about the insurance industry overall, perhaps that more insurance is sold or more people are filing claims, or both.
  • Healthcare: Dental hygienists, Physical Therapists, Physician Assistants
  • Management Positions, various fields
  • Management Analysts
  • Operating Engineers and related positions
  • Personal Financial Advisors: This is a good sign, indicating that people have and will have some money to invest.
  • Public Relations
  • Purchasing Agents
  • Computer Software Engineers, Apps & Systems; Computer Systems Analysts; Network and Computer Systems Administrators; Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts—All of these well-paying jobs are growing, but with not many jobs added yearly through 2016. However, as Healthcare businesses and some others continue to open/expand, more such IT jobs will be opened.


  • Carpenters
  • Cost Estimators
  • Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations
  • Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians, FAA Certified
  • Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer

Higher Education in the Thumb

  • St. Clair County Community College: Port Huron (Main Campus); Learning Center Branches in in Huron, Sanilac, and Lapeer Counties.
  • Baker College: Port Huron
  • Mott Community College: Flint
  • University of Michigan: Flint
  • Saginaw Valley State University: Saginaw, just west of the Thumb in the Mid-Michigan area.

St. Clair River (public domain)
St. Clair River (public domain)

Commerce With Canada

Port Huron is located in the Thumb and very close to Sarnia (actually Port Edward) Ontario, Canada.

Two bridges (The Blue Water Bridges) connect the two cities across the St. Clair River), along with two railroad tunnels. The two Blue Water Bridges cross the river via US I-69 and I-94, meeting Highway 402 in Canada on the other side.

Ferries are available to Canada from Marine City and Algonac in Michigan on the eastern border of the Thumb.

The Walpole-Algonac Ferry Line Ltd. serves primarily the city of Algonac, Michigan, and the First Nation reserve nearby. The ride takes 6 minutes to cross the lake and is available all year long, barring any ice obstacles. If you walk or bike onto the ferry, the fee is only $1.00.

Two additional ferry lines operate in the area. Algona sits on a fresh water delta in the Blue Water Area of Michigan and is located just about 50 miles northeast of Detroit. Sites to see in nearby Ontario Province include First Nations Festivals, including local nations, bands, and communities in Southwest Ontario Province.

Ferries to Windsor, Ontario

Marine City MI:
Marine City, MI 48039, USA

get directions

Algonac MI:
Algonac, MI 48001, USA

get directions

Windsor, Ontario:
Windsor, ON, Canada

get directions

Sharing the St. Clair River

St. Clair, Michigan:
Saint Clair, MI, USA

get directions

The Thumb portion of Michigan in on the left side of the map.

Friends of the St. Clair River, Ontario Canada:
559 Exmouth Street, Sarnia, ON N7T 5P6, Canada

get directions

Canatara Park at Lake Huron:
Canatara Park, 1200 Lake Chipican Drive, Sarnia, ON N7T 7N2, Canada

get directions

Largest Employers in the Thumb

Huron: Port Huron Service/Mfg

Tower Automotive: Sheet metal; Port Huron Hospital; Mercy Hospital; St. Clair County Community College; Scheurer Mdical Center

Lapeer: Lapeer City Service

Lapeer County Medical Care; County of Lapeer; North Branch Area Schools; Michigan Sept. of Mental Health; MI Dept. of Correction

Sanilac: Manufacturing

Lear Corp: Auto trim; Huron Inc: Screw machine & welding; Trelleborg Y S H Inc: Rubber; Dott Manufacturing: Plastics; Dean Pickle & Specialty Prdts: Pickles, peppers, relish

Tuscola: Manufacturing

Walbro Corp: Carburetors, injectors, etc.; Grede-Vassar Inc: Gray iron, castings, etc.; Walbro Automotive Corp: Electric fuel pumps; Kaumagraph Flint Corp: Automotive screen printing

St. Clair: Manufacturing

Britax Vision Systems, Automobile mirrors; Huron Plastics Group Inc, Custom injection mold thermoplastics; Mueller Brass: Copper & brass tubing; Bundy Corp: Fuel lines; Chrysler Corp: Sheet metal coating

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2008 Patty Inglish MS


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Mike Hardy profile image

      Mike Hardy 

      2 years ago from Caseville, Michigan

      Nicely done. Michigan’s Thumb Region struggles with providing high paying jobs. You offer a good resource for information.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      2 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Hi Randa! - It sounds like you have good experience. Have you tried looking in your city for EMT or health-related management jobs? Hospitals will sometimes pay for additional education after you become employed to update your skills or give you new ones. Best of luck and let me know how it goes.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I am actually on the fence as what to do with my future.. I have a high school diploma and 3 years of medical RESA . After that I got my EMT certification. I have been a stay at home mom for 8 years and have had small side jobs during that time.. before that 8 years I do have some management history but for the most part that is as far as I go with experience. Seems to be hard to find anything I qualify for that I can be proud of or grow in.. I am a very hard worker and excel in everything I put my mind to. I am open to more education and have looked into programs. Just afraid I will get the education and still end up in this same position. Any ideas on education or careers that may train or educate to work would be greatly appreciated.. Will not disappoint if the opportunity presented itself ! thank you in advance!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Contact ThumbWorks in the blue box above in the article ASAP. Best wishes!

    • profile image

      cory mccain 

      8 years ago

      I am from Pigeon. I am desperate for a job. I graduated from Lakers in 2002. I have worked in warehouses, box folding or building. I am so ready to try anything. One thing I am learning disabled so I need time to learn. I have been told there are great employers out there that will deal with us.

    • crystolite profile image


      9 years ago from Houston TX

      Nice research and excellent documentary which really fascinated me.Thanks for sharing this.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)