May 23, 2022 | Employer Talent Pipeline news from around the region
Marshall Plan updates, Four Years Later – The Central Michigan Talent Consortium
The Marshall Plan for Talent was signed into law on June 26, 2018, to improve the state of Michigan’s talent pool. The Plan’s intention was to invest funds to create, expand and support educators and businesses who create innovative programs for high-demand, high-wage careers. Grant awardees submitted five year action plans to foster business and education collaboration, evolve to competency-based learning, increase workforce planning, and increase career awareness and exploration. So, how is the progress toward those goals four years after awards? How can businesses become involved at this point?
The Central Michigan Talent Consortium, working with the Gratiot Isabella Regional Education District as a convener, was awarded nearly $1.4 million for their three chapter approach: Equipment Improvements, Career Navigators and Curriculum Development.
Equipment Improvements: Healthcare, welding and machine trades career pathways received over $350,000 in equipment including life-like mannequins, simulators, plasma cutters, portable welders, and TRAK-K3 Knee Mill Featuring Proto TRAK with related tooling. For over two years this equipment has been in place supporting students and educator efforts to prepare students for high demand careers in Central Michigan.

Career Navigators: Two career navigators were hired to work in Gratiot and Isabella schools. They began work face-to-face, then had to transition to virtual contacts, but are now back face-to-face with businesses and students. These adjustments have caused many alterations to their original plans. Most impactful has been the inability, during the pandemic, to connect students with businesses face-to-face for planned tours, job shadowing, in-class presentations, and other work-based learning opportunities. This phase of the plan is critical to success.

With a return to much of the face-to-face interaction businesses are strongly encouraged contact the Career Navigators to partner for contact with students. GIRESD uses the Work-based Learning feature for Xello. All students use Xello for Career Exploration. Businesses are needed to enter profiles and career opportunities in the Xello system so students can view that information and learn how to connect with businesses to access additional information and submit requests for a tour, a job shadow or attend an event. Entering information is a very simple process and the Career Navigators will assist and guide businesses as they revitalize these connections with students.

GIRESD Career Navigators:
Amanda Medina at 989-875-5101 x 2343,
Kiley Kochensparger at (989) 875-5101 Ext. 2366,
On Facebook, businesses can keep in touch with local career-related events searching and liking Central Michigan Career Connections.

Curriculum Development: Amanda Medina was hired early on as the Curriculum Developer to develop workplace citizenship skills. The curriculum uses online products free to educators and students. Amanda’s support for schools with the start-up process is also free of charge. Now the challenge is how to get that curriculum in front of students.

One of the Marshall Plan Grant requirements was a plan for maintenance of equipment, materials and positions after the five-year spending period.

Businesses and educators can rely on a continual process of growth as funding sources will be sought after the grant period for each successful component of the action plan.

The Central Michigan Talent Consortium is committed to building and developing partnerships with businesses and educators in Gratiot and Isabella Counties and welcome contacts for ideas and support from across all industries and businesses in Central Michigan.
MCQMM 2022: A Proactive Step in Talent Pipeline Building
MiCareerQuest Middle Michigan 2022 is returning to its original in-person format with some innovative improvements. It’s sure to be another engaging and SAFE hands-on career exploration experience for 10th grade students, teachers, and counselors to learn about today’s high-demand jobs from employers. Hosted again by Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! and Michigan Works! Region 7B, MCQMM 2022 will be held October 28 at SVSU’s Ryder Center.

If you’re toying with the idea of attending, here are the top 10 reasons employers should participate:

#10 – Our region’s tight labor market reinforces the urgency of “growing our own” skilled workforce for the future.

With early retirements at an all-time high and unemployment levels returning to low pre-pandemic levels, too many employers are fighting for too few qualified workers. Investments in upgrading the skills of the current workforce and building a talent pipeline for the future are key! An event like MCQMM 2020 is a proactive step in building the pipeline that fuels YOUR industry!

#9 – Students don’t truly understand what kinds of careers are out there!

Teachers and counselors count on you to show and tell them! Career awareness is an essential first step in building students’ understanding of the working world. It shows them options for the future with the hope that each student will find a career that resonates with them in terms of interests, purpose, and inspiration.

#8 – Teachers, counselors, career navigators and parents don’t really understand either!

At MCQMM 2022, you’ll get to interact with teachers, counselors, school career navigators and parent chaperones who learn from you as well. By sharing your career information visually (hands-on) and in discussion with small groups, including these adults, you may impress a message that becomes part of daily interactions back at the school or at the family dinner table.

#7 – You want future job candidates who more “work ready!”

You can play a role in that by helping to ignite a spark that sets students on the readiness path long before they apply for a job with you! Career exploration activities like MCQMM 2022 are intended to help students align their areas of interest with their classes at school and helps them find early work experiences to best hone their employability skills.

#6 – Your time is valuable so the ROI must be high!

If you can only participate in one pipeline building activity, this is the one. The scale and geographic reach is unprecedented!

MCQMM 2022 invites interested students, teachers, counselors, and career navigators from 11 counties. Already, more than 5,000 students are registered – with 2,500 more expected. This represents a rare opportunity for one-on-one contacts on that kind of scale.

Students will be broken up into groups so that each business will have the potential to with thousands of students during the day.

#5 – Attendees are at the right age to influence into your industry’s talent pipeline.

Whereas the previous event in 2019 brought in students of various grade levels, this year will be 10th graders only. These students are at the age where they are just about to make postsecondary education and training decisions as well as CTE commitments. As 15-16 year olds, they are also ready to move into the world of work outside the home. This represents another good opportunity to approach students about summer jobs, co-op programs and internships.

#4 – You might actually learn a thing or two!

Talent attraction is competitive business right now! MCQMM 2022 is a great opportunity to watch what other businesses and industries are doing to attract talent. Observe best practices from companies who have been in the game for a long time and know how to draw students in, engage them in meaningful interaction, and follow-up once students leave the event.

#3 – Make contacts within your industry!

Collaboration is key these days, as evidenced by the strength of the Central Michigan Manufacturing Association, Great Lakes Bay Manufacturers Association and other industry groups. Connecting with others with the same issues – including talent attraction and retention – can be a powerful tool. Employer participants will work together to plan their booths and the overall industry section presentation for the event. These connections can last long after.

#2 – It’s probably time to update your strategic plans for talent attraction!

The new normal we waited for is finally here! MCQMM 2022 provides a very special opportunity for businesses to update their strategic plans for talent attraction post pandemic. There are a multitude of resources to help with that process. (See below)

#1 – There are so many ways to participate!

MCQMM 2022 offers employers sponsorship opportunities at a multitude of levels to help fund the event. Businesses can also participate for free as an exhibitor or in planning industry sector “set-up” and “make-up” to provide students with a great balance of opportunities.

Be sure to visit or follow the event on Facebook at MiCareerQuest Middle Michigan. If you have questions, please free to reach out to:

Carol McCaul, Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance,

Pam O’Loughlin, Michigan Works! Region 7B,

Amy Ames, Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works!,
Reminder: Registration for People, Planet Prosperity closes June 6!
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.

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.

We are excited to welcome Mr. Louie Lopez, Director of DoD STEM, as the opening-day speaker for People, Planet, Prosperity!
The Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest federal employer of STEM Professionals, employing 47% of the federal STEM workforce as civilians, across the DoD, including inside laboratories and centers, as well as outside of the Defense facilities. The DoD comprises the Tri-Services, including Army; Navy; Air Force; DoD Education Activity; and Fourth Estate Agencies, including; Manufacturing Technology; Missile Defense Agency; National Security Agency; National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; and more. 

The DoD has a portfolio of over 60 state-of-the-art research laboratories and centers, employing over 60,000 scientists and engineers who work every day on cutting-edge research and innovations that are critical to our national security and positively impact our daily lives. 

We are thrilled to welcome DoD STEM as an official partner to our June convening! We are especially pleased to feature Mr. Louie Lopez, Director of DoD STEM in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, as a speaker on our opening day. 

About Louie Lopez
Mr. Louie Lopez is the Director of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense in Research and Engineering’s (OUSD/R&E), Defense Laboratories and Personnel. Mr. Lopez is responsible for the management and execution of the Department of Defense (DoD) K through Graduate STEM efforts under the National Defense Education Program (NDEP). His responsibilities include the Science Mathematics and Research Transformation (SMART) scholarship, Military Child Pilot Program, Manufacturing Engineering Education Program, and STEM education and outreach initiatives under the Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC) cooperative agreement award in collaboration with partners from academia, industry, and other community organizations with a shared mission in STEM. 
If your organization would like to learn more about dynamic updates in STEM and solutions to solve the talent shortage, please register today!