Macomb Community College customized programs match workforce talent to business need

Skilled employees are in high demand in southeast Michigan, but employers often struggle to find potential workers with the right combination of skills and advanced training to fill those positions. Macomb Community College is a valuable resource for area employers, working closely with them to identify needs, to provide relevant training and to connect employers with qualified candidates. In addition to developing customized programs for employers, the college also works to leverage grant funding, where possible, to heighten opportunities for individuals and to sustain and enhance growth of local businesses and industry.

Macomb’s PRISM Project, funded by a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, is providing advanced manufacturing training to adult learners interested in upskilling.  In addition to offering training in controls technician, robot programmer, mechanical maintenance specialist and robotics technician, the program offers students comprehensive support services beginning with recruitment and choosing a career pathway through career coaching and job placement. Information sessions about this program will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Jan. 10 and Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the M-TEC facility.

Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Macomb’s Michigan Apprenticeship Program Plus (MAP+) works with area high schools and others to build awareness of and develop apprenticeship opportunities in the skilled trades. This program provides pre-apprenticeship training, employer matching, student outreach and assistance with associate degree attainment and four-year transferability options with a focus on manufacturing (CNC machining, tooling, die, mold, welding, industrial maintenance and others). Employers benefit by hiring highly trained employees who better understand their role and produce superior products with reduced employee turnover.

Automated systems and robotics, a high-demand field in the automotive, defense and aerospace industries, is the focus of Macomb in the Catalyst program, also made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Working closely with employers to both identify labor needs and placement opportunities, Macomb provides training in advanced manufacturing to those unemployed or underemployed as well as incumbent employees in need of additional training.

A booming economy is reliant on the combination of growing businesses and the skilled workforce to help those businesses succeed. Macomb is uniquely placed to work with area employers, develop customized programs designed to meet their specific needs and foster a skilled workforce with the interdependent goals of student success and community prosperity. For more information on Macomb Community College’s PRISM or Catalyst programs, contact workforcedev@macomb.edu. For the MAP+ initiative, email apprenticeship@macomb.edu.

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Holger Ekanger is the director of workforce and continuing education, engineering and advanced technology for Macomb Community College.

MCC to host information sessions about free advanced manufacturing training for eligible participants

MCC 1Macomb Community College will host information sessions about advanced manufacturing training programs available in several high-demand career pathways: controls technician, robot programmer, mechanical maintenance specialist and robotics technician. This is part of the PRISM (Prosperity Reaches into Southern Macomb) Project, funded by a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, which focuses on workforce development, introducing students to information technology careers and engaging employers in sustainable workforce training programs.

Through this grant, the PRISM Project will provide advanced manufacturing training to a minimum of 100 adults. MCC will employ a comprehensive support services model that intensively engages with students throughout the entire process, beginning with recruitment and program selection, continuing through their course of training and extending through career coaching and job placement.

MCC President James O. Sawyer IV said that the PRISM Project is about “positioning residents for long-term success, helping them develop both foundational and technical skills to pursue sustainable career pathways versus short-term jobs. And, more broadly, it’s about enhancing community vitality, building a strong pipeline to address the skills gap, growing local business and industry, and fostering a stronger regional economy.”

In addition to workforce development efforts, the project will introduce 100 high school students to IT careers through PRISM IT academies this summer and will also work to identify opportunities for employers to be involved in sustaining workforce training programs.

“This new project is about providing a clear and more affordable pathway to industry certifications or associate degrees that are relevant to our region’s economy,” said David Egner, president and CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. “The more local employers we can engage in helping to drive, shape and grow this project, the greater the impact it will have in connecting jobseekers with the opportunities available in these growing industries.”

MCCMCC’s advanced manufacturing training programs will be conducted January through July 2018 and will range from 13 to 19 weeks long. They will be available with either a Monday through Friday daytime schedule or an evening schedule that also includes a full-day commitment on Saturdays. The programs include both foundational skills and manufacturing training components.

Information sessions about these training programs will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Jan. 10 and Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the college’s M-TEC facility, 7900 Tank Ave., Warren, 48092. For those living south of 16 Mile Road in Macomb County who meet other eligibility factors, all or a significant portion of tuition may be covered by the college’s PRISM Project. Additional tuition assistance may be available to financially support other individuals interested in training who do not meet PRISM requirements. To register or for more information, call (586) 498-4100 or email workforcedev@macomb.edu.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in business outreach and communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Jacobs delivers final economic forecast, projects growth

After 34 years of delivering the Macomb Economic Forecast, Macomb Community College President Jim Jacobs, Ph.D., delivered his final forecast presentation last week. The event was presented by the Chamber Alliance of Macomb County, and Wayne State University was the premier sponsor, as they have been for the past 10 years.

The overall message was that while Macomb County is still recovering from the recession, it is well positioned to continue its path of progress.

The county is seeing remarkable automotive investments, many of which are in areas of the automotive industry that will continue to see growth, such as research and development for autonomous vehicles. Manufacturing also continues to be an important part of what Macomb County does. Jacobs marveled how over the span of his career, this industry has transformed from bending steel to software.

Macomb’s defense industry is also robust, not only including major assets such as TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, TARDEC and Selfridge Air National Guard Base, but also the private sector which is winning significant contracts. Another industry growing in importance is cybersecurity, as is evidenced by yet another cybersecurity lab opening in the county next week at the Wayne State Advanced Technology Education Center in Warren.

The county continues to attract population growth, in particular new immigrants. As such, Jacobs said the county needs to position itself as welcoming. He also predicts a new suburban ecosystem that emphasizes the importance of recreation, education, health care and the environment.

Jacobs said regional transit would make the county more attractive and is essential to economic growth. He cited the success of Jimmy John’s Field as valuable family entertainment that also spills over to other local businesses. Greening projects like the Green Macomb Urban Forest Partnership are also making Macomb more attractive.

Jacobs called for more organizations like Advancing Macomb and Leadership Macomb, which he credited for getting citizens involved in the community and not simply looking to elected officials to lead the way.

The county also has challenges to overcome. These include providing residents more opportunities for growth, continuing to diversify the economic base and expanding civic infrastructure to complement and support the private sector.

According to Jacobs, the continued growth of Macomb County will depend on how well we protect and grow our defense assets, how we handle infrastructure issues and adapt to new needs such as broadband and autonomous sensors on roadways, and how we overcome disparity throughout the county.

At the conclusion of the event, Jacobs received a standing ovation. The chambers thanked him and revealed that he has agreed to play a role in future economic forecasts after he steps down as president of Macomb Community College later this year.

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

“Macomb2Macomb” event at Macomb Community College highlights career opportunities

Tonight our department will be represented at Macomb Community College’s “Macomb2Macomb” event at the University Center in Clinton Township.

Coordinated by the college’s Career Services Office, our purpose is to interact with students about future job possibilities here within our department.

We will bring copies of the brand-new Macomb Momentum magazine and talk about how it represents a portion of our efforts to promote Macomb County as a great place to live, play and work.  We’ll also have lots of Lake St. Clair “Circle the Lake Tour” maps to distribute as well as to talk about our efforts to move the Macomb County Blue Economy Initiative forward.

A big map of Macomb County on an easel will help us talk with students about our work to help communities develop and update master plans, attract new businesses (like Jimmy John’s Field) and the types of services our Geographic Information System (GIS) group provides to others.

We are also going to bring copies of some of our targeted industry reports covering the sectors of advanced manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, defense and blue economy.  Not only will these publications help us describe our work to understand what drives our economy, but also as a way that we can describe some of the many great companies that there are to work for in Macomb County.

We are looking forward to networking with the other county departments that will be there to represent the careers they offer.  More importantly, we are glad to be involved in inspiring the next generation to be excited about the career opportunities that await them here in Macomb County.

If you are a Macomb Community College student planning to attend, please be sure to stop by the Department of Planning & Economic Development table and say hello!

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