There is much rejoicing in the news on Michigan’s latest unemployment numbers. While still more than a percentage point above the national numbers, Michigan has had two consecutive months of lower unemployment and March is projected to extend that trend. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan’s March unemployment rate will be 7.5%, with an increase in manufacturing jobs for a third straight year. That is good news.
Ultimately, there is still more to be done and more we can do to lower unemployment, create jobs and fill vacancies. There are a number of things going on across Michigan.
Manufacturing and the Next Generation
For the second straight year, students are collaborating with are manufacturers to design and develop videos highlighting advancements in manufacturing technologies and opportunities for growth. The hope is that this will help create interest in manufacturing as a career choice. Focused on a 13 county region in West Michigan, the contest is sponsored by Discover Manufacturing Today. DMT is a coalition that includes MMTC-West’s Manufacturers Council, The Kent Career Tech Center, and Kent and Allegan Michigan Works! Winning videos will be featured April 30th at Celebration Cinema North. 2014 Videos can be viewed on the Discover Manufacturing Today Facebook page. Last year’s winners can be viewed on the Discover Manufacturing website.
Manufacturing and Training
As the business climate continues to improve, manufacturers are focused on growth and adding jobs. There is an increased need and focus on training and job skills. Manufacturers in particular are renewing interest in internships and on-the-job mentoring. Companies are engaging more with school districts and community colleges to re-establish a pipeline of interested candidates for future jobs. Some employers are offering reimbursement for skills training at area technical schools. Engineers are highly sought after as are workers with a holistic set of skills, beyond just CNC machining. As one article notes, it involves more than manufacturers and higher learning institutions. The Skilled Trades Training Fund provides funding for the creation of classroom training programs, on-the-job training and other customized programs to help fill the future worker pipeline. Today's manufacturing jobs will consist of as many machine operators as software programmers and designers. New skill sets and technologies integrating into today’s supply chains will continue to provide opportunities. Workers with experience or willingness to be trained in these new opportunities will be highly sought after.
Manufacturing and Current Job Opportunities
Talent has long been a Michigan strength. To help fill some of the current high skill job openings, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation is hosting a Pure Michigan DREAMJOB summit at Ford Field on June 13th.
Over 100 leading Michigan businesses from across the state will be there looking for candidates to fill almost 1200 jobs. Candidates are encouraged to apply by April 30th. Job seekers create a profile and can review all postings, applying for those of interest. Applicants will be pre-qualified and contacted for pre-scheduled 20-minute interviews. Candidates that go through the process will have access to tours of downtown workspaces, a networking reception, and an opportunity to attend a Tigers game. Additional interview slots will be available for walk-ups, if you miss the application deadline.
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Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org