By KELLI K. NICHOLAS
Planner, Marketing Coordinator — Michigan Works! Region 7B
Employers are facing new challenges as Michigan’s economy starts to look brighter. They need to grow their staffs to meet rising demand while having to replace their work forces that are nearing retirement.
In manufacturing, there are many jobs that involve operating, programming and repairing machines, which require education and training beyond high school. Employees have to be willing to put in the time for training and prove themselves for the first several months on the job.
Michigan Works! is doing its part to address these challenges as the agency is reaching out to industry to match training with in-demand skills. Manufacturers need a key source of future talent and that is where the Rapid Response Trainings, among other short-term trainings, are effective.
Faced with shortages of machinists, welders and machine programmers, Michigan Works! and Mid Michigan Community College have teamed up to offer training to develop new workers. Mid Michigan Community College’s first rapid training programs completed this summer with 22 students: the welding program had 12 students finish, while 10 completed the CNC programming training. Students were offered employment applications and internship opportunities at the end of training.
Another set of three different trainings: manufacturing/plastics program, welding and CNC programming were planned for this year. The costs for any of the six-week trainings range from $1,500-$1,700 for the 120- to 160-hour-long trainings depending on the topic.
Michigan Works! wants to be on the cutting edge on a Demand Driven Workforce System. The agency continues to meet with specific industry groups, employers and job seekers to find out exactly what they need. This open dialogue creates venues where Michigan Works! can assist in getting people trained for those jobs. The participants at the Service Center receive one-on-one and group assistance to learn what skills they have and learn about the career options available.
The service centers in Gladwin, Harrison and in other locations offer free daily workshops and opportunities to work with their trained career counselors. These workshops cover a wide variety of topics including resume writing, mock interviews and cover letters taught in an interactive and fun format. Not only can a job-seeker obtain up-to-the-minute information on local job openings, there are computers to use to apply for such openings.
Michigan Works! programs are not just working on filling immediate job openings, but broadening out the knowledge of people. “Offering our youth and adult programs gives the staff pride to be involved in things that are making a difference in our communities,” said Mark L. Berdan, Region 7B Consortium Michigan Works! Executive Director.
“We like being involved in our community and it shows. Many of our staff are active in other like-minded organizations. We now have a strong thriving community garden in front of our Harrison location. This major project really does make a difference teaching people how to garden while learning valuable job skills,” Berdan said.
Information about Michigan Works! programs and activities can be found at www.michworks4u.org or by calling the Gladwin County Service Center at (989) 426-8571 or the Clare County Service Center at (989) 539-2173.
(Mid Michigan Career Outlook is a regular monthly feature of The Laker Current.)