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Talent Will Decide Michigan's Future Success

This article appeared in the August 2018 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

Michigan is home to some of the nation’s most renowned brands. Iconic household products are manufactured every day here in the Great Lakes state and Michiganders are at the helm of the mass production of these goods.

From the CAT footwear that protects the sole of Michigan manufacturing and the Spartan Motors fire trucks that protect our communities and its citizens, to the Gerber food products that nourish our children and the Whirlpool appliances that help prepare meals enjoyed around the kitchen table; Michigan-manufactured products are in the hearts and homes of many around the world.

But who will continue the legacy of Michigan-made products and lead our state toward continued economic growth?

Right now, Michigan — and several other states across the country — are seeing a sizeable talent gap. Through 2024, Michigan will have more than 109,000 manufacturing career openings to fill.

Michigan workers are great at what they do. They’re leading the nation and world in some of the most cutting-edge technology and inventions. And the number of jobs available in Michigan today is growing because of that.

We’re building the next generation of talent in Michigan. And we’re doing that by ensuring all business and education leaders are working together to develop a seamless education and talent development system — it’s called the Marshall Plan for Talent.

The Marshall Plan for Talent ensures businesses have a seat at the table to make certain education programs meet the needs and demand of a rapidly transforming 21st century global economy. But more than that, it creates opportunities for students to explore career options before they graduate from high school.

We also have some work to do to address the misperceptions that exist among the Professional Trades. These aren’t the dirty shop-floor jobs of the past. These are high-tech, high-demand and high-wage careers with an average salary of $60,000. Jobs that will push the state and nation forward in technological advancements for decades to come.

The state’s Going PRO in Michigan campaign is ahead of the curve. With a fresh soon-to-launch website and easy-to-find information, Going PRO in Michigan is changing the dated perceptions that have plagued the manufacturing industry for too long. It’s designed to promote the new-collar jobs available in high-demand, high-wage fields, like manufacturing, and provide useful information on the skills and training needed for those careers to high school students and those who influence them.

So, as we celebrate national Manufacturing Day in Michigan this October, let’s take a moment to celebrate our past and look for pioneering ways to ensure Michigan manufactured products remain a staple in the hearts and homes of people around the world for decades to come with a talent pipeline ready to continue the innovation happening right here in the Comeback State.

Just like it takes a village to raise a family, it takes all of us to help close the talent gap and transform today’s students into the leading talent of the future.

And remember: The state that best closes the talent gap will have a great advantage over the others as employers are looking to locate or expand. Michigan will be that state with all of us working together.

About the Authors

NAMERoger Curtis is the Director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development. He may be reached at 517-335-8317 or curtisr@michigan.gov.

This article appeared in the August 2018 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

Michigan is home to some of the nation’s most renowned brands. Iconic household products are manufactured every day here in the Great Lakes state and Michiganders are at the helm of the mass production of these goods.

From the CAT footwear that protects the sole of Michigan manufacturing and the Spartan Motors fire trucks that protect our communities and its citizens, to the Gerber food products that nourish our children and the Whirlpool appliances that help prepare meals enjoyed around the kitchen table; Michigan-manufactured products are in the hearts and homes of many around the world.

But who will continue the legacy of Michigan-made products and lead our state toward continued economic growth?

Right now, Michigan — and several other states across the country — are seeing a sizeable talent gap. Through 2024, Michigan will have more than 109,000 manufacturing career openings to fill.

Michigan workers are great at what they do. They’re leading the nation and world in some of the most cutting-edge technology and inventions. And the number of jobs available in Michigan today is growing because of that.

We’re building the next generation of talent in Michigan. And we’re doing that by ensuring all business and education leaders are working together to develop a seamless education and talent development system — it’s called the Marshall Plan for Talent.

The Marshall Plan for Talent ensures businesses have a seat at the table to make certain education programs meet the needs and demand of a rapidly transforming 21st century global economy. But more than that, it creates opportunities for students to explore career options before they graduate from high school.

We also have some work to do to address the misperceptions that exist among the Professional Trades. These aren’t the dirty shop-floor jobs of the past. These are high-tech, high-demand and high-wage careers with an average salary of $60,000. Jobs that will push the state and nation forward in technological advancements for decades to come.

The state’s Going PRO in Michigan campaign is ahead of the curve. With a fresh soon-to-launch website and easy-to-find information, Going PRO in Michigan is changing the dated perceptions that have plagued the manufacturing industry for too long. It’s designed to promote the new-collar jobs available in high-demand, high-wage fields, like manufacturing, and provide useful information on the skills and training needed for those careers to high school students and those who influence them.

So, as we celebrate national Manufacturing Day in Michigan this October, let’s take a moment to celebrate our past and look for pioneering ways to ensure Michigan manufactured products remain a staple in the hearts and homes of people around the world for decades to come with a talent pipeline ready to continue the innovation happening right here in the Comeback State.

Just like it takes a village to raise a family, it takes all of us to help close the talent gap and transform today’s students into the leading talent of the future.

And remember: The state that best closes the talent gap will have a great advantage over the others as employers are looking to locate or expand. Michigan will be that state with all of us working together.

About the Authors

NAMERoger Curtis is the Director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development. He may be reached at 517-335-8317 or curtisr@michigan.gov.