Investments by global tech companies in Michigan are paving the way for the future of the state’s workforce
At a time when businesses of all sizes around the world share the same challenge to find and develop highly skilled talent, Michigan is effectively positioning itself as home to a diverse labor pool and a strong talent pool.
As evidence of this fact, consider the significant investment Michigan has attracted from one of the world’s mobility leaders in recent years.
When Ford Motor Co. acquired Michigan’s historic Central Station in Corktown in 2018 and announced plans to transform the complex into a vibrant campus and innovation center for the future of transportation, this investment in the future of Detroit laid the foundation for dividends across the state. . As a destination for big tech companies looking to impact the future, Michigan is a compelling partner, thanks to its talent pool, manufacturing DNA, and history of innovative thinking.
In the nearly four years since Michigan’s Central Station District was born, a growing number of partnerships born in Detroit and surrounding communities make it clear that global high-tech companies are looking to Michigan.
In February 2022, Ford announced that Google would be a founding member of the Michigan Central Mobility Innovation District, providing cloud technology for Michigan Central mobility projects and providing workforce development training to local high school students and college students. job seekers – while being firmly anchored in the heart. of Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.
“We are proud to join Ford as a founding member of Michigan Central,” said Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Google. “This partnership will expand our work in Michigan and help a significant number of people gain the skills and tools they need to succeed. By providing digital skills training, mentoring for high school students learning to code, and Google Cloud technology for Michigan Central’s projects and research on the future of mobility, we look forward to contributing to Michigan Central’s mission and to all that she will accomplish.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ford, the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit, the State is aligning more than $126 million in new and existing investments, programs and resources to support the goals of the district. The district is supported by a comprehensive interdepartmental collaboration that includes millions in state support, including from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, and others from the Whitmer-Gilchrist administration.
Of the four pillars identified in the MOU, the focus is on workforce development in the district. To support these efforts, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) will provide world-class training, adult post-secondary education, and career readiness resources in the district – including potential physical space to host programs. apprenticeships, employer-led collaboratives, the Going Pro Talent Fund and more – to prepare local workers for high-tech jobs in mobility and other emerging fields.
Google’s announcement is the latest example of a major tech company committing to the state of Michigan and the development of its workforce. In January 2021, tech giant Apple Inc. announced plans to open a school to train developers in Detroit, marking its first Apple Developer Academy in the United States. State University aims to support black entrepreneurs and coders and is free for students. Programming covers coding, design, marketing, and professional skills for approximately 1,000 students per year.
“Detroit has 50,000 small businesses owned by black and brown owners, and we thought that would fit very well with that entrepreneurial spirit and the kind of people who are rebuilding and building in Detroit,” said Lisa Jackson, vice-president. president of the environment of Apple. , policies and social initiatives.
Apple welcomed its first class of developers and entrepreneurs – a group of 100 learners aged 18 to 60 – in October 2021; students will undergo 10 months of comprehensive application development and entrepreneurial training, creating new opportunities for them to develop skills and excel in their professions.
Michigan’s tech talent pipeline is also being built by programs such as the Michigan STEM Forward Internship Program, a statewide initiative launched by Ann Arbor SPARK and MEDC in 2021 that has already become an essential part of the entrepreneurial fabric of our state. Students attending Michigan colleges and universities are matched with STEM-focused internship opportunities at leading innovative companies in the state. Although it has been running for less than 12 months, the program received 1,227 student applications, which led to 159 internships.
Michigan Workforce Reskilling and Training
Over the years, the most pressing concern among companies of all sizes continues to be their ability to access and develop highly skilled talent. Recognizing that this nationwide problem will only grow, Michigan is proactively addressing the looming talent shortage by investing now in our workers and youth to prepare them for the changing demand.
In February 2021, Governor Whitmer announced a $30 million scholarship initiative, Michigan Reconnect, for Michiganders 25 and older who want to pursue an associate’s degree or skills certificate program. The Michigan Reconnect Scholarship provides tuition for an in-district community college, reduced tuition for an out-of-district community college, or a $1,500 skills scholarship for Michiganders enrolled in an approved training program. A year later, Governor Whitmer announced that 91,000 people had enrolled in the program.
The Michigan Reconnect program is part of Governor Whitmer’s Sixty by 30 goal, which aims to build a better Michigan by closing the skills gap, increasing opportunity, and making Michigan more competitive for inclusive economic growth. The target to increase the number of working-age adults with a skills certificate or university degree from 49% to 60% by 2030 aims to create opportunities for better jobs and wages more important. As jobs continue to require more than a high school diploma, programs like Michigan Reconnect are helping fuel the future.
Futures for Frontliners is another program intended to support the Sixty by 30 initiative. In response to the pandemic, the Futures for Frontliners state scholarship program was introduced for Michiganders without a college degree who worked in essential industries in the spring. 2020. This scholarship provides frontline workers with tuition-free access to the local community college to pursue an associate’s degree or skills certificate, full-time or part-time.
Community colleges such as Grand Rapids Community College are reporting a substantial increase in enrollment of students over 30, largely due to these public programs covering the majority of tuition for older students. Meanwhile, Lansing Community College saw over 1,200 students enroll when introducing Futures for Frontliners.
A workforce to rely on
Employers find that Michigan has one of the most talented, diverse, and abundant workforces in the United States. From manufacturers ready to embrace Industry 4.0 technologies through the state’s innovative programming, to educational opportunities through Michigan Reconnect, Michigan is working around the clock to ensure new talent is always in development.
Michigan offers a wide range of high-tech talent with an affordable cost to do business, ranking in the top ten nationally for STEM degree completion at its institutions of higher learning and ranking first in the nation for our concentration of engineering talent. Home to more than a fifth of the nation’s manufacturing workforce, Michigan has a density and diversity of highly skilled talent. In fact, Michigan has about 80,000 workers employed in technology cluster industries, with most talent concentrated in computer systems design services and client computer programming.
In particular, the Detroit area is home to a large talent community. As one of the nation’s top academic research hubs, the Detroit area has the fifth-largest pool of talent working in research in the United States and nearly 80,000 people employed in IT and mathematics. Over 700 post-secondary institutions are within a five-hour radius, including many of the major colleges and universities; the metropolitan area’s network of community colleges, which partner with local businesses, adds to the area’s strong talent pool. As the second-largest concentration of engineering talent in the United States and home to nearly 400,000 STEM workers and 550,000 skilled workers currently employed in the region, the Detroit area is poised and ready for future high profile partnerships.
With major tech players like Apple and Google looking to Michigan and its talent, Michigan’s workforce will be hardwired to succeed today, tomorrow and into the future.
Visit michiganbusiness.org/workforce to learn more about Michigan’s strong workforce and find out why companies around the world are finding pure opportunity in IM at michiganbusiness.org/tech.
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