Department seeks Manufacturing Day hosts and sponsors

MFG Day 2016 AOne of the goals of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development is to strengthen the county’s workforce by exposing the next generation to a wide range of in-demand career opportunities. Our efforts continue to grow and are demonstrated through a variety of different programs, one of which is Manufacturing Day.

National Manufacturing Day is an initiative that gives manufacturers the opportunity to open their doors to show the public how advanced the industry has become. Our department first participated in 2013 when Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel led the media on a tour of local plants that culminated with a roundtable discussion with area manufacturers.

It was at this event that we learned that one of the greatest concerns of manufacturers is the need for talent. We also learned that there was a concern about the number of young people who were exposed to the industry and the interesting and well-paying careers that it offers.

MFG Day 2016 BHearing this, department staff collaborated with the Macomb Intermediate School District to get students from every high school on buses and into local plants to see the industry in action. Since 2014, more than 5,500 students have participated.

Plans are underway for the next Manufacturing Day which will be held Friday, Oct. 6. The department seeks area manufacturers who are willing to host tours for students and sponsors to help cover event expenses. To learn more, visit www.MacombBusiness.com/mfgday.

Zardis, Maria IMG_0089Maria Zardis is the program manager of the Business Outreach and Communications Group for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

In Macomb County, MI Bright Future eases talent fears

MI Bright Future picture 2Businesses across Macomb County and southeast Michigan are slowly coming to an alarming realization: The workers they depend on are approaching retirement, and there are few, if any, in the talent pipeline ready to replace them. This unsettling epiphany has left many regional employers inspired to take action in the hopes of heading off the incoming talent drought, but there is just one problem. While some companies, whether through luck or ingenuity, have figured out how to begin developing future talent, many businesses’ good intentions go unfulfilled because they simply do not know how to convert their enthusiasm into action. If you are one of the many employers feeling this way, powerless in the face of a reduced skilled workforce, or if you just want to expand your talent development efforts, MI Bright Future is for you.

MI Bright Future is a revolutionary talent development initiative currently underway in Macomb County and the greater southeast Michigan region. Through the initiative, participating employers connect directly with 118,000 students through an easy-to-use online portal to offer career guidance and education advice. Macomb County has been on the forefront of this initiative since the very beginning and is eagerly looking for more employers to partner with MI Bright Future to interact with students. In Macomb County alone, there are already over 33,000 students currently engaging with the system. One Macomb County business, Medstar Ambulance, was so eager to connect with students they recently became a contributing sponsor of the program! This enthusiasm is widely shared throughout the community, as over 230 companies and 330 career coaches have already registered to serve. And while that may sound like a lot, it’s not enough!

MI Bright Future picture 1

Why isn’t it enough? Because it is no secret that as times change, so too do the talent and skill demands of industry, and despite the educational system’s best efforts, they struggle to keep up. The ensuing disconnect between the demands of a modern economy and the curriculum of contemporary education leaves students unaware of not only the many job opportunities that exist in southeast Michigan, but more importantly the skills and credentials employers need. MI Bright Future bridges this gap by establishing a digital meeting place for professionals and students to interact directly with one another, and the more employers in the system, the more students that can be steered in the proper direction! By cutting through the red tape that has traditionally separated students from the professional world, MI Bright Future provides companies, who are the true experts in their field, the chance to educate students with real-time information about their industry, while also recruiting top-quality talent to their business.

MI Bright Future picture 3If MI Bright Future sounds a bit too good to be true, prepare to be even more amazed, because signing up for MI Bright Future is not only free, but a company’s level of engagement is entirely up to them. That means a business can do as much, or as little, as they like. From doing no more than posting a company profile to boost community awareness of their business, to registering career coaches to answer student questions on online discussion boards or offering work-based learning activities such as internships and guest speaking—even becoming a contributing sponsor like Medstar Ambulance—options range widely so a company is free to engage however they see fit.

MI Bright Future is for both those hoping to recruit young talent to their industry and those simply wishing to make a positive impact on the lives of young Michiganders. To register, visit mibrightfuture.org and complete the registration form that best suits your preference. Registrants may elect to register their company as a whole, or register only themselves as career coaches independent of their business. If you have any questions during the registration process, please contact the MI Bright Future team at info@mibrightfuture.org.

Trevor Leatzow is a program assistant for MI Bright Future.

SME Education Foundation’s PRIME program fills skills gap

SME 1-cI had a chance to visit Wadsworth High School in Ohio to learn about SME (formally known as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers) Education Foundation’s PRIME program which focuses on building centers of excellence in manufacturing education. PRIME stands for Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education, and that is exactly what SME is trying to do around the country – to bring back advanced manufacturing education during a time when there is a big shortage of in-demand skilled  talent in those positions, such as mechatronics, programming, welding, CNC machining, metrology and more.

There will be large amounts of retirees in the next decade with very few new employees getting into those trades. Businesses are worried about their futures, and schools are catching on that they are the first step to showing students what these jobs entail.

Through the PRIME program, SME Education Foundation handles communication between both the local industrial employers needing staff for positions they can’t fill and the schools that are training the students in those types of jobs. It is beneficial for both the schools and businesses for SME Education Foundation to take the lead on running the program because of the experience they have. They are also able to get the equipment at better prices while local employers fund the program as well as help   supply the equipment to the schools. Busy in the classroom, teachers would be unable to get the machines purchased and work on the needs of the employers to set up this program themselves.

SME 2-cWhen visiting Wadsworth High School, we were able to see the rooms set up for training. They had the newest equipment, and students were very excited to show us what they were working on and their understanding of the machines. There was a local employer there as well, boasting about how well the program works, specifically targeting employers’ needs for jobs that cannot be filled right now. Employers also like the fact that the students are well-rounded with additional skills before they get out of the program.

The students advised that they like the classes because they give them a chance to use their hands and learn with real equipment and parts instead of just books. The teachers say that this gives kids a different type of learning experience. Students are assigned projects where they have to think on their feet to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it.

PRIME gives students an understanding of whether or not they like this type of work. This has given many young adults who are not college-bound an opportunity for good jobs after high school. It also gives those who are going to college a better feel for what route they want to take. Some even decide to take different paths in college, such as engineering, that they would not have without their experience in the PRIME training. Additionally, employers are now able to have a long-term plan to fill their future job openings and have better communication with the local schools.

There is a serious effort to establish this program in Macomb County. If you are interested in more information, contact Stan Simik at ssimek@sme.org or Josh Cramer at jcramer@sme.org.

Josh Cramer, senior educational programs officer for SME, will make a presentation about PRIME for the Manufacturing Day Planning Committee. Readers who are interested in learning more about how to get involved are welcome to join from 8-10 a.m. Tuesday, March 21 at the Macomb Intermediate School District, Superior Room, 44001 Garfield Road, Clinton Township. Please send a quick email to maria.zardis@macombgov.org if you plan to attend.

Johns, Jack IMG_0030Jack Johns is a project coordinator for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. He specializes in working with food, agriculture, energy, robotics, autonomous vehicle and retail businesses. If you are a business owner and would like to contact him, email jack.johns@macombgov.org or call (586) 469-6293.

Roseville High School students learn valuable workforce skills

In honor of Career and Technical Education Month, County Executive Mark A. Hackel, Department of Planning & Economic Development Director John Paul Rea and other department staff toured the Auto Tech Department at Roseville High School. This impressive and growing program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It teaches students the technical skills needed to pass state certifications which will enable them to get jobs in the automotive industry.

miranda working on daytona.jpgOne of the cars the kids are working on is a 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe which will be displayed at Autorama this weekend and compete against cars from other schools. Judges will evaluate elements such as cleanliness, safety, if the vehicle is complete (no missing bolts) and attention to detail.

The vehicle originally arrived as a kit car – which means lots of boxes with many pieces that don’t necessarily fit together perfectly, and this is how junior Miranda Rumfelt prefers it.

“I like to figure out how to do it rather than have it ready to go,” said Rumfelt.

Just last week, she painted the shell of the Daytona. And by paint, I mean she mixed the paint and applied the primer, sealer, base coat and clear coat. And after the painting is done, it isn’t finished. The vehicle still needs wet sanding, the buffing wheel, wax and touchups.

mark-miranda-clay-modelRumfelt is just one of the growing number of girls participating in Roseville’s Auto Tech program. In addition to class, she also attends DRIVE at the high school Thursday evenings. This program isn’t limited to students, and here, Rumfelt has learned even more specialized skills, such as tape drawing and clay modeling, for which she has won awards from the Michigan Industrial & Technology Education Society.

With a goal of leading her own design team at Chrysler or General Motors one day, Rumfelt plans to take summer classes at Lawrence Tech, is aggressively seeking internships and is looking ahead to college, potentially at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.

working.jpgIn the meanwhile, some of her classmates are passing their certifications and already lining up great jobs right out of high school. Auto Tech Department Head Paul Tregembo Jr. said the school has found great partnerships with several local businesses, including Roy O’Brien, and welcome more. If you have a business interested in getting involved with the Roseville Auto Tech Department, contact Tregembo at DriveOneDetroit@gmail.com.

To learn more about Roseville High School’s automotive programs, visit rcs.misd.net/roseville-high-school.html or DriveOne.net, find them on Facebook at facebook.com/DriveOneDetroit or follow on Twitter @DriveOnDetroit.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Macomb employers looking for more engineering talent

Last month, the Macomb Business Blog looked at top job postings for all jobs in Macomb County. This month, we examine the labor market specifically for one of Macomb County’s targeted industries: advanced manufacturing.

More than 1,200 companies make up Macomb County’s network of world-class innovators within the advanced manufacturing industry sector. Collectively, these companies employ almost 40,000 highly-skilled workers across fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Utilizing sophisticated tools and software systems, employees continually integrate designing, prototyping, production and supply chain management which leads to shorter product development cycles and increased manufacturing efficiencies. In Macomb County, companies compete brain-to-brain with national powerhouses such as California’s Silicon Valley, Boston’s Route 128 and North Carolina’s Research Triangle.

Are you an engineer looking for work or a job change? The advanced manufacturing job market in Macomb County is interested in you. Data from August and September (the most recent months that data is available) show more than 3,500 unique open positions for engineers in Macomb County. These positions cover all types of engineering (135 different types to be exact!). Here are the top 10 types in demand for the last two months:

engineers

These are well-paying jobs within an industry that earned a median of $100,428 in 2015. Hiring growth in Macomb County within this industry is outpacing the state average. Check out the chart below to compare how the industry has grown by number of jobs since 2009:

AdvM.jpg

Are you ready to apply or are you a company ready to hire? Resources are available for both the job seeker and the job provider. Those looking for work should check out the state’s website or reach out to their local Michigan Works! office. Employers looking for assistance can contact our department to find out more about employee training, financial assistance and other resources.

Also coming up later this month is a talent mixer for Key Safety Systems in Sterling Heights. The company is looking for applicants to fill 50 openings in senior engineer, program manager and commodity buyer positions. The event will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15 at the Velocity Collaboration Center located at 6633 18 Mile Road, Sterling Heights, 48314. Advance registration is required and can be completed by emailing a resume to techjobs@keysafetyinc.com with “Talent Mixer” typed in the subject line of the email. To view open positions, visit www.keysafetyinc.com/careers.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.

Macomb County Celebrates Nurses during National Nurses Week 2016!

For the 12,667 nurses working in Macomb County, May 6 marks the beginning of National Nurses Week. Nurses play a vital role in Macomb County, not just in the critical care that they provide their patients but also for their prominence within the county’s economic foundation.

Since 2000, the number of nursing jobs in Macomb County has risen 52 percent from 8,330 to 12,667. This key industry has shown healthy growth, even during the Great Recession.

Nursing1

These are great paying jobs too. The average wage is well above the average overall for private sector wages in Macomb County.

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The job outlook continues to be bright. If you are considering a career in nursing, or know someone who is, employers are certainly looking for you! Data tracked by EMSI, an economic modeling and forecasting firm, tracks online job postings. Overall, both the number of posts and unique posts continue to show significant increases.

nurse2

Within Macomb County, there are a number of nursing programs available. Oakland University, Baker University, Davenport University and Macomb Community college all offer programs for students.

In addition to National Nurses Week, as of 1998, May 8 was designated as National Student Nurses Day, to be celebrated annually. And as of 2003, National School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurses Week each year.

To all of Macomb County’s nurses, we say thank you!

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a Senior Planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business & Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org

Hot Jobs in Macomb: What’s in demand in Macomb County?

Good news for job seekers: In Macomb County there were 49,949 total job postings in January 2016 representing 13,553 unique jobs. (Source: EMSI’s proprietary job postings data.) These numbers indicate a posting intensity of 3.68-to-1, meaning that for every available position there were 3.68 job postings for it.

Heavy and Tractor Truck drivers are most in demand with companies looking to fill 2,334 unique positions. The average wage for this group in the county is currently $18.79/hour.

Registered nurses were the highest posting intensity, with 7.16 job posts for each job available, implying strong demand.

See the chart for the most in demand jobs.

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Are you looking for work, or do you know someone who is? Head on over to the Michigan Talent bank at www.MiTalent.org or reach out to the local Michigan Works! office.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a Senior Planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business & Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.