The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees Community College Collaborative (D3C3) continued its summer conference series on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at Macomb Community College with an event focused on convening the D3C3 Employer-led Sector Strategies Cluster.
Dr. Patricia Chatman, dean of the School of Business at Henry Ford College, engaged with Paul Gallagher and Jack Carlsen from DENSO to understand what skills they seek from job applicants and how industry and academia can work together to prepare students for joining the workforce. As the Human Resources Leader at DENSO, Gallagher focuses on partnering with local community colleges to recruit, co-develop curriculum, and provide students with apprenticeship opportunities that will mold them into well-rounded and desirable employees.
When asked what industry partners want in an employee, Carlsen emphasized that they are seeking not only applicants with mechanical aptitudes and apprenticeship experience but also those with “people skills, interactive skills, the ability to conduct a meeting, and work on a small team.”
He added that skilled trades programs often attract more introverted individuals who focus on the work’s intricacies and would benefit from interpersonal communication courses and career services included from the beginning of a curriculum. Gallagher agreed, saying, “the person we see on paper often is not the person we see during the interview process.”
Chatman concluded that “every time we have conversations with industry partners, we learn something new. This is the first time that I’ve heard from an industry partner that including interview skills in our programs is essential before our students graduate. You’re right, that’s not something woven into our programs from the beginning.”