Macomb County native returns to roots, commits to Mount Clemens’ comeback

The city of Mount Clemens has a rich and storied history. Founded 200 years ago, it was once a place with acclaimed bath houses and renowned rose gardens, while its prime location on the banks of the Clinton River made it a desirable spot for businesses and development. The city was even named the seat of Macomb County and became home to several government buildings and landmarks. All told, it was a destination for visitors from far and wide. But like many places in Michigan, Mount Clemens was hit hard by the Great Recession and it had to deal with a years-long recovery. Today the city is on theKAPOWHEADSHOTS.COM -7 rebound, with many new businesses popping up and putting down roots. One of those is QStride, Inc., a tech company founded by Macomb County native Shane Gianino.

QStride serves as a national information technology solutions provider, helping mid-market and Fortune Global 500 companies like Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and L Brands meet diverse IT needs and solve tough technology challenges. Shane started the business in Troy out of a Panera Bread in April 2012.  By 2013, the company had more than doubled its revenues to $1.5 million – growth that allowed him to open a sales office in downtown Detroit at the Chrysler House and hire 10 employees.

Together, the team hit several milestones:

  • In February 2016, QStride moved its headquarters to the prestigious One Woodward Avenue Building.
  • In May 2016, QStride united Detroit’s tech community with a ‘Running with the Resurgence Panel,’ inspiring Mayor Mike Duggan to proclaim a ‘Running with the Resurgence Day’ and declare QStride an ‘Emerging Growth Technology Company.’
  • In May 2017, QStride launched the QuickStride Developmental Summer Internship Program, positioning college students for career success.
  • That same month, QStride was recognized as a ‘Top100 Rising Startup’ by Techweek, a tech conference named as one of the ‘Top 30 Conferences for Entrepreneurs’ by Inc.com.
  • In March 2019, QStride opened a Princeton, New Jersey office and hired six employees.

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But in early 2018, Shane began thinking about his roots in Macomb County. He imagined opening an office in downtown Mount Clemens and being a part of the city’s resurgence. So that summer, he did just that. The Clem office now serves as a sales and recruiting hub for QStride, an expansion that reflects Shane’s entrepreneurial spirit. At the same time, the Mount Clemens space also allows Shane to dig in to the community and give back in ways he has always envisioned.

You see, Shane was diagnosed with cancer during his senior year at Mount Clemens High School. With the support of his family and the community as a whole, he was able to beat the disease, return to high school and graduate with his class. This example of the Mount Clemens community being there for him in his time of need was something that always stuck with him. So once he moved back into the city, he immediately started to advance several local charitable causes, including:

  • In August 2018, he helped plan and execute a first annual ‘Swing for a Cure’ celebrity charity golf outing at Cherry Creek Golf Club, raising $6,500 for Macomb County families facing Cancer Related Financial Toxicity (CRFT) and benefiting New Day Foundation for Families. This year’s goal is to raise $10,000.
  • In September 2018, he planned and executed a local concert with billboard-charted rock, folk and soul Christian recording artist Jordan Feliz, raising $12,000 for those in need in Macomb County – specifically MCREST, Family Youth Interventions and Turning Point.
  • Throughout the fall and winter of 2018, he planned and executed multiple local Cornhole fundraisers and networking events benefiting the Goodfellows, MCREST, Family Youth Interventions, a local foster adoption home and Turning Point. All told, these events raised close to $5,000.

Alongside those causes, Shane also invested in efforts that help revitalize Mount Clemens’ downtown core. For instance, this past September he helped attract and facilitate the Rivals Professional Football League draft experience in the city. The event, which is similar to the NFL draft, was the biggest sporting event Mount Clemens has witnessed since Super Bowl XL – with more than 1,300 people attending from across the United States and from countries as far away as Sweden.

It’s work like this that will help Mount Clemens in its resurgence. And with dedicated people like Shane Gianino leading the charge, the city is certainly on its way to becoming a destination once again. What’s next for Shane?  He’s focused on taking QStride to $10 million in revenues by 2021, continuing to help his local community, starting his own nonprofit and in his spare time, writing a book.

**QStride is a client of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. Working with MCPED, they have access to services like assistance with marketing, financial analysis and planning, strategic planning, management and operations. To learn how our services can help your business grow, visit http://www.MacombBusiness.com or call 586-469-5285.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

What you should do before, during and after the upcoming professional job fair in Macomb County

Are you looking for your next career opportunity? If you answered yes and you work in the engineering, design, IT/cybersecurity, procurement and project management fields, you might just be in luck – as Macomb County recently announced a professional job fair for individuals working in these areas. The event will take place on Friday, April 12 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Sterling Banquet and Conference Center (34911 Van Dyke, Sterling Heights). It will feature more than 25 companies and organizations that are actively hiring, including BAE Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems, MB Aerospace, R&E Automated Systems and Waltonen Engineering. Interested individuals are asked to register for the free event at www.macombgov.org and those that do so on or before April 8 will receive early bird admittance at 11 a.m.

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So – are you planning to attend? If you are, we found some tips on Monster.com that might help you land that new job:

Before the hiring event

  1. Develop a Strong Resume: Highlight your skills and accomplishments. Your resume should be error-free, concise and graphically pleasing. Don’t forget to make several copies, since you’ll probably visit with more than one employer.
  2. Get or Make Business Cards: You can buy blank business cards at stores like Office Depot, and then use a computer and laser printer to create some personalized cards. List your name, contact information, and perhaps the career you’d like to pursue or your key skills.
  3. Study the Organizations Attending the Fair: Nothing impresses an employer less than a prospective candidate asking, “So what do you guys do?” Instead, be one of the few attendees who know something about each of the companies. The more informed you are, the more likely you will be positively remembered.
  4. Develop a 30-Second Commercial: “Tell me a little about yourself.” You’re likely to get that invitation from many of the employers at the fair. So spend a little time beforehand figuring out your response. Think of your reply as a 30-second, self-promotional commercial you’ll deliver to each employer who asks.

During the hiring event

  1. Introduce Yourself and Shake Hands: In many ways, a career fair is a test of your social skills. While employers are almost always friendly and outgoing, they’ll expect the same of you. If you haven’t done much ice breaking before, practice in advance with a career counselor or friend.
  2. Dress Appropriately: In most cases, you’ll want to dress professionally to attend a career fair. Sometimes business casual is fine, but don’t go too casual. When in doubt, overdress.
  3. Ask Intelligent Questions: If you’ve studied up on the organizations, you’ll probably have some questions you’d like to ask. Not only will you get some answers, but you’ll also show yourself to be someone who does his research.
  4. Focus on What You Can Offer: You’ll be a refreshing change to most company representatives if you tell them what you can do for them and their organizations instead of asking what they can do for you.
  5. Leave Your Resume and Card with Each Representative: Then be sure to grab each representative’s card.

After the hiring event

  1. Take Notes: After the fair concludes, jot down notes about conversations you had with company representatives. If you wait too long, the conversations will start running together in your head, and you’ll forget what you said to whom.
  2. Follow Up on Promises: If, for example, a company representative expressed interest in looking at your Web site, make sure to email the URL like you said you would.
  3. Send Thank-You Notes: Write or email each of the people you met and thank them for their time. Reiterate your interest in the company and your relevant skills and experience. Most job seekers fail to take this simple step, often losing out in the end to those who did express their thanks.

If you have any questions about the upcoming hiring event in Macomb County, which is being hosted by Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, the Macomb County Chamber and Michigan Works!, contact Janice Loftis at jloftis@macomb-stclairworks.org or at 586-738-9034. Good luck!

**The above tips were pulled from an article on Monster.com here: https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/learn-to-work-a-career-fair.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Panel to discuss recruiting talent in the cybersecurity industry

As we all know, cybercrime is a serious issue. Every day there seems to be another attack by hackers or some other entity looking to cause harm through scams, identity theft or assaults on computer systems. We are all at risk, so we must all be prepared and take preventative measures to secure ourselves. Larger entities like businesses and government institutions must do the same. In their case, building a team of cybersecurity professionals is paramount for protection. But how do these organizations find the right people to fill these roles? If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, we recommend attending the April 3 MADCAT panel discussion on recruiting cybersecurity talent. During the event, panelists will answer this and many other questions about the industry.

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Experts include:

  • David Blaine, information security section manager, General Dynamics Land Systems – David Blaine is an information security section manager with General Dynamics Land Systems. Here he focuses on security design and architecture, server and application hardening, security and risk governance and regulatory compliance.
  • Justin Montalbano, cybersecurity lab tech technical manager, Aptiv – Justin Montalbano is a cybersecurity lab technical manager with experience in the medical, manufacturing and automotive industries. An ethical hacker since a young age, he is well-versed in various aspects of the internet, networking and mobile. He also has experience in managing testing teams, R&D, training, awareness, tool and process development.
  • Kristie Pfosi, senior manager, Automotive Cybersecurity, Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America – Kristie Pfosi is a well-respected policy maker and program manager with deep technology expertise. She has been a champion for best practices in cybersecurity for over a decade as a technical intelligence officer at the CIA and as an OEM employee, most notably helping FCA shore up their cybersecurity practice after one of their vehicles was infamously hacked. Her wide-ranging background in automotive also includes designing minivan seats, developing advanced service diagnostic tools and working on internal combustion engine technology at companies like Magna and MAHLE Powertrain. Today she is responsible for creating and implementing processes and methodologies for global incident responses, vulnerability management and risk assessments at Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America. Her work also involves developing and integrating cybersecurity protection into advanced vehicle electronics with a focus on defense-in-depth and next-generation security.
  • Brett Snellgrove, recruiter, Global Talent Acquisition, General Motors – Brett Snellgrove grew up in Metro Detroit and is a human resources and recruiting professional with over 15 years of experience working as both an executive search consultant for Accretive Solutions and a talent acquisition partner with General Motors. He possesses the knowledge and passion to help clients in all industries hire exceptional talent across a broad range of functions, including: information technology, engineering, marketing, human resources and executive leadership

The panel discussion will take place from 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. during the NDIA Michigan Defense Expo (MDEX) at the Macomb Community College Sports and Expo Center (14500 E. 12 Mile Road, Warren). There is no cost to attend or to walk the expo hall, but pre-registration is encouraged. For more details on MDEX: http://www.ndia-mich.org/events/michigan-defense-expo. To register for the panel discussion, click here.

About MADCAT: The Michigan Automotive and Defense Cyber Awareness Team (MADCAT) was established in 2014 to promote our state as a world leader cybersecurity mobility through innovation, business growth, and talent development. http://www.madcat.org

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Annual breakfast honors students and highlights importance of Career Technical Education

The world of work is changing; industries are adapting to new economies, new jobs are appearing, old jobs are disappearing and required skills are evolving. What does this mean for young people? To put it simply, they need to be better prepared for work than any previous generation. This shift is pushing educators to try new concepts and pursue different teaching strategies that prioritize experiential learning. One strategy in particular has been extremely effective in getting students ready to join the workforce, and that’s Career Technical Education (CTE).

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By definition, CTE is an educational option that provides learners with the knowledge and skills they need to be prepared for college, careers and lifelong learning. It gives purpose to learning by emphasizing real-world skills and practical knowledge within a selected career focus.

Here in Macomb County, CTE has had a tremendous impact on the school district, one that was highlighted on Friday, February 1 at the 29th annual Macomb Career Technical Education Administrators Association Awards. The event saw leaders from the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD), business and government gather to celebrate the success of local CTE programs and the students that excel in them. In all, 42 students were recognized for their involvement in a variety of CTE programs, including culinary arts, marketing, business, health, education, design, engineering and machining.

Businesses that volunteer their time supporting the students and providing real-world experiences were honored as well (a full list of these businesses and students can be found at the end of this article). For instance, Tom and Krista Barr, co-owners of TK Mold and Engineering, were recognized for working with Romeo High School and Macomb Community College to find and train young talent; a strategy that has paid off for the organization. In fact, half of TK Mold’s 20 employees are 19 to 25 years old – a remarkable statistic in an industry largely comprised of retirement age workers.

Shannon Williams, CTE regional administrator for the MISD, spoke about this and several other compelling facts proving the benefits of CTE during the breakfast:

CTE works for students

  • Taking one CTE class for every two academic classes minimizes the risk of students dropping out of high school. (National Research Center)
  • The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 93 percent, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 80 percent. (U.S. Department of Education)
  • Ninety-one percent of high school graduates who earned two to three CTE credits enrolled in college. (U.S. Department of Education)

CTE works for business

  • CTE addresses the needs of industries and helps close the skills gap. We know this because:
    • Half of all STEM jobs call for workers with less than a bachelor’s degree. (Rothwell, The Hidden STEM Economy)
    • Health care occupations are projected to grow 18 percent by 2026, adding more than 2 million new jobs. (U.S. Department of Labor)
    • Three million workers will be needed for the nation’s infrastructure in the next decade, including designing, building and operating transportation, housing, utilities and telecommunications. (Brookings Institute)
    • More than 80 percent of manufacturers report that talent shortages will impact their ability to meet customer demand. (Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute)

This all makes CTE a popular and important option in Macomb and it’s why there are 237 state-approved CTE programs, 34 program areas and 34 operating buildings in the county. It’s also why more than 14,000 students are enrolled, which makes Macomb the county with the highest CTE population in the state of Michigan. These numbers indicate a positive future for the region and its economy. And it certainly makes the case for why CTE matters and why we must celebrate it.

To learn more about CTE programming in Macomb County, visit http://misd.net/careerteched/index.html. And to view photos from the breakfast, click here.

Students and businesses recognized at the CTE breakfast:

New Haven Public Schools         
Emily Brohl, Taylor Gauthier
Sara Gibbons, Director of Engineering-Quikly; Vicki Dorazio, Cyber Security Consultant: TEALS, Microsoft Philanthropies

South Lake Schools
Nolan Girven; Virginia Goodrich
Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Coating Systems

Richmond Community Schools 
Erik Haack; Drew Reindel
Jeff White, Chief of EMS; Sara Glanville, Training Officer: Richmond Lenox EMS

Chippewa Valley Schools
Jessica Hetzel; Alexandra Pannemann
Joe Nieddu, Emerald Coast Building Company

Clintondale Public Schools
Tyron James, Jr.; Courtney Martin
Michael Salvatore, J’s Silkscreens

Lakeview Public Schools
Passion Lewis; Jacob Shue
Gary Nieman and Adam Specht, PLM World

Van Dyke Public Schools
Theresa Kraft; Ryan Weidner
Dan Meehan, Performance Machinery, LLC

Warren Consolidated Schools  
Noah DeWalt; Breeanna Robinson
Jason Klinesteker, South Park Welding

Warren Woods Public Schools 
Andre Vance; Gwendolyn Yang
Amaty Calhoun, Ceratizit Group

Fraser Public Schools    
Vincent Castillo; Michael Lemanski
Andrew Spiece, Tom Darga & John McPhee – Microsoft Philanthropies TEALS

Lake Shore Public Schools
Ali Abdul-Malik; Kyle Dreyer
Mark Denning, Denning & Associates

Romeo Community Schools
Kailee Billock; Michela Hein
Paul D’Angelo, WBRW TV

Armada Area Schools    
Tayor Chambers; Justin Herbert
Doug Schroeder, Masonry Solutions

Roseville Community Schools  
Carlos Fullerwood; Gabrielle Waderlow
Frank Devos, Frank Devos National Heating and Cooling

Eastpointe Public Schools
Jeffrey Rudolph; Carcia Young
Cardi DeMonaco, Michigan Court of Appeals

Macomb Community College   
Connor Clifford; Michael Pawlusiak
Tom & Krista Barr, TK Mold & Engineering, Inc.

Anchor Bay Schools       
Ken Barker; Angelica Bailey
Shannon McIntosh, Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union

Utica Community Schools
Anthony Salazar; Angel Sanders
John Ferrozzo, New Line Diamond and Granite

Fitzgerald Public Schools
Caylinn Higgins; Jacob Reiss
Jeffrey “JP” Skop, Athletico

L’Anse Creuse Public Schools    
Delano Williams; Griffyn Woodson
Tom Nahas, MadHabit Creative

Center Line Public Schools
Syeda Jamal; Laura McBride
Allison Biliti, Medstar Ambulance

 

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

How SME Prime and Center Line High School are working to address the skills gap in manufacturing

There’s a growing crisis within American industry. There aren’t enough prepared, qualified candidates available to fill crucial advanced manufacturing roles. Nearly 3.5 million jobs will be available over the next decade in manufacturing — but 2 million will remain unfilled due to the lack of skilled talent.

smeef.rgb.notaglineThe SME Education Foundation is working to address this growing talent gap with a unique solution: the SME PRIME® (Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education) schools initiative. SME PRIME focuses on building and developing a workforce talent pipeline by bringing together local industry, educators and communities.

On February 21, representatives from the SME Education Foundation, Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel, Center Line Public Schools Superintendent Eve Kaltz and others will discuss plans to bring the SME PRIME schools initiative to Center Line High School in Macomb County.

The Foundation’s mission focuses on inspiring, preparing and supporting young people in their pursuit of advanced manufacturing career pathways. Through SME PRIME, the Foundation establishes manufacturing education centers of excellence in high schools across the country working with the local manufacturing community to help with funding, mentoring and developing young people in their pursuit of career opportunity.

“We’re pleased with the progress and direction of our partnership. It’s a great opportunity to work with talented students – helping to guide them and expand their opportunities help them realize their potential.”

Mark White, President, Shape Corp.

Nationwide, the Foundation has built 46 SME PRIME schools in 22 states, with 8 schools in the state of Michigan. To date, SME PRIME has impacted over 50,000 students with 84 percent of students graduating from PRIME schools pursuing careers in manufacturing. Furthermore, 40 percent of those students entered the workforce directly, filling critical jobs, and the other 60 percent pursued higher education within STEM degree programs focused on manufacturing.

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To RSVP for the SME PRIME information session at Center Line High School on Thursday, February 21 or to learn how to get involved, please contact Sandy Wilton at swilton@sme.org or 313-316-3356.

Joshua Grossman is senior marketing specialist with SME, an association of professionals, educators and students committed to promoting and supporting the manufacturing industry.

Q/A with Gail Alpert, president of FIRST in Michigan

It is estimated that 65 percent of today’s kindergarteners will have job titles that do not currently exist. Many of these new roles will be related to STEM, so it is imperative that young people have opportunities to explore and become educated in these fields.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics is a program that does just that. Its mission is to inspire young people to become science and technology leaders by engaging them in mentor-based programs and competitions. These events challenge students to raise funds, design a brand, hone teamwork skills and build and program industrial-size robots that play difficult field games against like-minded program_gail_alpert.jpgcompetitors. According to FIRST, this is as close to real-world engineering as a student can get.

To learn more about this innovative program, the Macomb Business blog sat down with Gail Alpert, president of FIRST in Michigan, for a Q and A.

Q1: Business and government leaders here in Michigan are very much invested in workforce development and building the next generation of talent. FIRST Robotics and FIRST programming can be an important part of that process. Why is that the case?

A: FIRST is designed to entice high schools students to choose a career in engineering, technology and the skilled trades through the building of a robot with the help of industry mentors from sponsoring companies. Students have the chance to see the tremendous capabilities of their mentors and follow in their footsteps, while the mentors can hand pick the students that best fit their companies for internships and jobs early on, long before the students are recruited by other companies.

Q2: In addition to STEM skills, many FIRST Robotics students develop confidence and communication abilities. How does FIRST programming help young people in this capacity and why should that matter to businesses?

A: There is no better tool in the student’s tool box than learning how to communicate in an effective, concise way. You can have the best product in the world, but if you cannot articulate why it’s the best, or why it’s needed, it means nothing. FIRST students not only compete with their robots, but are interviewed by a group of Judges about their robot and their team as part of the competition.  They are extremely well spoken and confident after participating in FIRST.

Q3: With these sentiments in mind, why should businesses get involved with FIRST Robotics and how can they do so? And to clarify, can businesses without a STEM-focus help as well?

A: All types of companies are and can be involved in FIRST, because all companies can play a vital role on a FIRST team even if they don’t have a STEM focus. Each team functions like a small business taking a product from inception to market.  Aside from designing, building and fabricating the robot, the teams have to do marketing, fundraising, budgeting and outreach.  All companies have some type of expertise that teams can use. Additionally, companies use FIRST to identify leaders and develop leadership skills among their current workforce.

Getting involved is easy. Simply contact me at Gail.Alpert@gmail.com. The busy season for high school teams is January through April. The season ends with the World Competition at Cobo Center on April 25-27 with about 40,000 people in attendance.

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Q4: Can you share any anecdotes from businesses that got involved with FIRST Robotics? Did they have positive experiences?

A: FIRST is always a win-win for companies that get involved. Two great examples come to mind. The first was a student that was hired as an intern at a tier one automotive supplier in his junior year. The very first day on the job, the student was given a software program that was relatively new to the company.  His mentor told him to play around it with it.  After lunch, the mentor returned and asked him how he was coming. The FIRST student replied: “Take a look. I created a game out of it.” The mentor was stunned.

The second story is about a student that planned to go into business rather than engineering.  He interned during his freshman year of college at the company that sponsored his high school robotics team.  About 20 of us were there for a meeting. The intern was running the meeting and was absolutely phenomenal.

Q5: What’s next for FIRST in Michigan? Are there any new initiatives, partnerships or expansions in the pipeline?

A: We always have new initiatives on the horizon. This year, the state money available through the Marshall Plan is creating fantastic opportunities for collaboration between FIRST teams and companies as communities come up with inventive ways to grow the STEM workforce. At least two of the proposals that were chosen for Plan funding included partnerships with FIRST.

FIRST is also focused on expanding our programs all the way down to kindergarten. In fact, 78 school districts across Michigan currently run all 4 of our programs (high school, middle school, upper and lower elementary school.) This season we are piloting a Pre-K program as well. It’s never too early to foster interest in STEM!

Detroit has been a huge focus for several years as we work to give every student in the city the opportunity to participate. Nearly every high school in Detroit has a FIRST team already, so we created a partnership with the Detroit Police Athletic League and Quicken Loans to start new teams at the middle school and elementary level. Ford, the FCA Foundation, the GM Foundation and Google are helping too. We are working with the Detroit Public Schools Community District to put FIRST in all third grade classrooms.

Finally, the state grant for FIRST, created about 5 years ago, enabled us to expand FIRST to the smallest of school districts in the most remote areas of the state. We are working to make sure the new legislature understands just how critical this funding is to all of our teams and to the continued development of the STEM workforce.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Macomb County focused on “Future Tech, Future Talent” during Auto Show

In its most recent Future of Jobs Report (2018), the World Economic Forum forecasts dramatic changes for workplaces around the globe driven by automation and machines. wefBut this five year economic outlook is more positive than one would assume. From new job creation to retraining opportunities, the report features several interesting predictions, including:

  1. There is a net positive outlook for jobs – amid job disruption
    While current job roles may be displaced by the shift in the division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms, 133 million new job roles may emerge at the same time. Those roles are either related to technology (data analysts, software and applications developers and e-commerce and social media specialists) or emphasize human traits (customer service workers, sales and marketing professionals, training and development, people and culture, and organizational development specialists).
  2. New tasks at work are driving demand for new skills
    By 2022, the skills required to perform most jobs will have shifted significantly. Skills growing in importance include analytical thinking and active learning as well as technology design. “Human” skills will also increase in value, including: creativity, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation, attention to detail, resilience, flexibility, complex problem-solving, emotional intelligence, leadership and social influence and service orientation.
  3. We will all need to become lifelong learners
    As workplaces change, so must workers. On average, employees will need 101 days of retraining and upskilling in the period up to 2022. This will require businesses to build a comprehensive strategy for workforce planning, training and education.

These points are driving a future-focused mindset here in Macomb County, where business, government and education leaders are collaborating on several new talent and technology initiatives. And while attending the North American International Auto Show, these leaders will take time to discuss a few of the efforts.

autonomous-1.1“We couldn’t think of a better time or place to highlight these initiatives than the North American International Auto Show,” said John Paul Rea, director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED). “This show is a testament to our region’s ingenuity and ability to grow and innovate. So we’re proud to showcase our county’s future-focused mindset here.”

The first major initiative they will highlight is a Robotics Collaboration and Innovation Center, a new resource aimed at increasing awareness and opportunity within the robotics environment. The center was submitted by MCPED as a proposal to the Defense Industry Growth Area Grants program through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in the summer of 2018. It was recently awarded funding and will launch at the Velocity Collaboration Center later this year. Once open, the center’s mission will be partnering with businesses, educational organizations, nonprofits and startups to offer tools, programs, expert assistance and open access to an independent, digital- and electronic-based environment for creative people. It will be a facility and ecosystem which offers co-sharing and individual workspaces, computers, software and related technologies. It will also feature a tooling and fabrication shop, engineering and computer science assistance, business development assistance and mentors from leading automotive, defense, manufacturing and technology firms, all in an open, collaborative environment.

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“New technologies are having a massive effect on just about every aspect of our lives,” said County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “Whether it’s the economy, infrastructure or education, the world is changing and we need to be ready for that. This is why Macomb County is investing in new programs and initiatives aimed at tech and talent. We want to make sure that our communities and residents are prepared for the future in ways that will ensure our success.”

google-fueling talent pipeline-1.1Other major investments to discuss include Macomb County’s recently launched “Fueling the Talent Pipeline” effort – a service platform that will allow employers and educators to connect, share resources and help students become aware of future career opportunities – and its connected roadways strategy. The strategy, which involves the creation of a smart infrastructure network that can communicate with vehicles, bikes, buses and pedestrians, will position Macomb County as a leader in improving the overall mobility experience.

For more information on the above initiatives, visit www.macombbusiness.com.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.