April 21, 2022 | Employer Talent Pipeline news from around the region
NEW Work-based Learning Start-up Materials and Webinar
Work-based learning programs, along with apprenticeships, are finding real traction as businesses ramp up their systems and processes that may have gone on hiatus during the height of the pandemic. With that, the Employer Talent Pipeline has been inundated with questions about how to efficiently and effectively begin an internship program or revitalized a former program.

As a result of this increase in need, the Employer Talent Pipeline, with the assistance of the Michigan Department of Education, has recorded an internship (co-op) webinar to share the newest available resources to assist employers in reaching out to high school and college students. The webinar features Celena Mills, Educational Consultant with the Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education, who has been working with a team to clarify the processes, policies and procedures for internship programs and partnerships.

One of the most useful sections of the webinar for Great Lakes Bay Region employers is the contact lists for high school work-based learning coordinators across the region and resources for college career contacts. These coordinators have further streamlined the process to help employers navigate the process with ease. Employers are encouraged to reach out to these resources to develop relationships for connecting with students. It is very helpful if employers have a list of skills required for potential students would need to work at their business.

There are documents and a website referred to during Celena’s presentation that would be particularly helpful for a new program start. The Getting Started Checklist and the Myths vs Facts sheet answer many recent questions heard from employers.

Links to those documents are:

The webpage for all of the detailed materials available from the Work-based Learning division of the Department of Education can be found at: Work-Based Learning (michigan.gov)

All of these resources, including the recorded webinar, can be found at www.stempipeline.com under the Business Resources tab.

If you would like assistance with your efforts and/or a live presentation of the webinar, please contact Carol McCaul, Employer Talent Pipeline Lead, Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, at cmccaul@midmich.edu or 989-289-9849.
Using people skills, tools and technology to attract and retain talent in rural locations. . . in IT
Information technology (IT) positions have been in high demand since well before the pandemic. Businesses have struggled with how to attract and retain talent, especially in rural areas where the quality of connectivity has been historically below average. The desire by people to “social distance” and return to their family connections has caused them to take a new look at the hidden potential in small to medium-sized communities, away from large cities.

IT careers often have more flexible work conditions, such as remote work. Positions that previously required moves to large cities, now can be done remotely, so that employees can work from home in lower cost of living, often more highly-desired, quieter locations. Many people who once looked at a location as undesirable because of the direct options for work and entertainment can widen their view of location choices to see what is available in more rural locations. This provides new opportunities for businesses to obtain IT work done remotely and attract that talent with marketing the aesthetics, outdoor back-to-nature activities, and the independence of remote life and work. If a business wants to hire a successful software development team or even an individual to assist with digital marketing or cybersecurity, it can adopt a distributed workforce, as more and more talented developers are opting for remote work.

The training and skills needed for this kind of work has also changed. An employee’s self-starter/self-motivation abilities and virtual skills may need to be enhanced. Technical leaders must learn how to connect team members in virtual meetings, analyze the behavior of remote employees, and provide them with the necessary support.

More and more IT people are now customer-facing, so they need to be trained not only on the tech, but on the soft skills necessary to assist end-users. One local nursing administrator shared, “Eye contact is just as important on Zoom as it is face-to-face. So is the back and forth interaction of a successful brainstorming session. Encouraging use of chat and how to use chat in a professional meeting had to be taught, not assumed.”

One of the most notable changes across industries is the need for technology training as part of the education and skills required by the career. For example, teachers, phlebotomists and welders, have all had to learn to use, troubleshoot and maintain computerized tools and equipment as part of their everyday work. Data entry and analysis are parts of many occupations. The need for training updates and upskilling will increase as technology continues to change.

Responding to this need, Mid Michigan College will offer a Virtual Assistant Pathway through the Administrative Assistant Program. It is an 8-week, fast-track series of courses to train individuals to operate as office managers and professionals in a virtual environment. The program is 100% online and set to begin in Fall of 2022. The course series is recommended for businesses planning to offer more remote work in response to employee desires and to save money on office maintenance. It is also recommended for IT professionals establishing themselves as independent contractors.

Contact Shawn Troy at stroy@midmich.edu to learn more about this opportunity.
STEM Ecosystem Conference to Feature Industry 4.0 Training Programs
The Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance will be hosting “People, Planet, Prosperity”, an in-person convening of the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice that is planned for June 20 to June 22, 2022 in Bay City, Michigan. We are proud to extend the invitation and host the 100 Ecosystems that are a part of the global network, serving students in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Israel and Kenya.

The conference will bring together international leaders to address current and evolving talent and community needs for our 21st century economy.

Practical strategies will be shared for how communities can use STEM to drive gains in equity, social mobility and efforts to safeguard the environment. This event provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both Michigan and Great Lakes Bay Region stakeholders to gather innovative ideas from STEM leaders around the world.

Anchored by the Great Lakes Bay Region STEM Ecosystem, a host planning committee of all Michigan Ecosystems including the MiSTEM Network, the Michigan STEM Partnership Southeast Michigan STEM Alliance has worked to build an engaging conference that will offer hands-on learning opportunities curated from throughout the state as well as the nation.

People, Planet, Prosperity will feature collaboration among educators, workforce professionals, business leaders, policymakers, government officials, community and nonprofit organizations and other active participants in STEM education, workforce and economic development for thriving communities. You can view the entire conferences schedule here.

The conference will include a focus on the key elements needed for producing a talented workforce:
  • An understanding of the current and future industry needs;
  • Diverse and committed partners from education, business and industry, non-profits, government, philanthropic organizations and other influencers;
  • Entry points for collaboration with the ability to scale;
  • Clear career pathways available for youth and families to make important decisions;
  • Access to learning opportunities for ALL students;
  • Ongoing learning/training opportunities within the community to keep abreast of industry shifts.

A field trip to Nexteer Automotive is a featured session that should capture the interest of entities that are focused on Industry 4.0 training programs. With manufacturers throughout the country facing the challenge of an ongoing labor shortage, efforts by LIFT Ignite, the Saginaw Intermediate School District (SISD), and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) will be featured to provide an actionable template for other communities to replicate.

Locally, Jenny Geno, executive director of Career and Technical Education for the Saginaw Intermediate School District (SISD) has worked closely with Jeremy Bockelman, executive director of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, on implementing Industry 4.0 curriculum. Nationally, LIFT, a Detroit-based research and learning lab and SME, have implemented programs that lead to industry recognized certifications to prepare the "4IR" Workforce.

Program implementation, imbedding industry-recognized certifications and pathways for community colleges and universities acceptance of certifications are areas that will be discussed in the session. Participants will learn how to connect with national organizations who are passionate in their support of schools developing students for new jobs, in this new economy.

If your organization would like to learn more about dynamic updates in STEM and solutions to solve the talent shortage, please register today.

NOTE: As a member of the Great Lakes Bay Region, you ARE a Community of Practice member already! Choose that option when registering for the whole conference or just a day pass for $50-100 off! It will be one of the top two selections here: