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Got Talent? Global Detroit’s GTA Can Help

Finding and retaining top talent has been an ongoing challenge for the Michigan automotive and mobility industry. While many still perceive this industry as old-school and dated, the reality is much different as OEMs and suppliers race to implement the latest technology to improve quality and safety while meeting evolving consumer preferences. How can students and young professionals best prepare to contribute to this growing, global, inclusive, and high-tech industry in the face of a major transformation?

Students in the summer cohort of the Global Talent Accelerator (GTA), run by Global Detroit, learned the answer to that question in an open workshop lead by Carolyn Sauer, senior director of MICHauto. GTA is a soft-skills bootcamp for a small group of 15-20 STEM students. Through the summer program, students learn skills from experts on how to brand themselves in the U.S. job market, attend events and workshops tailored to improve their chances of employment, and get career coaching from professionals and mentors.

Guiqiu Wang, program manager of international talent and entrepreneurship for Global Detroit, felt it was important for this group of students to hear from MICHauto.

“I am very excited to have MICHauto lead this workshop on the mobility industry and job prospects in Michigan for international students. With the advancement of technology, the international students will greatly benefit from learning from MICHauto, the leading mobility organization, about what skills and capacities are needed to meet industrial needs,” said Wang.

The workshop was attended by 16 students, from eight different Michigan colleges and universities and ten different countries, that were highly engaged and asked several questions as Sauer shared the latest trends driving transformation of the industry, including connectivity, autonomy, and electrification. To exemplify the transformation, Sauer honed in on the electrification trend showing how fewer parts are needed as the industry moves away from internal combustion engines (ICE) toward electric vehicles (EV). Of special interest to the students, was the real-life case study comparing vehicle headlights from 1999 to 2020, highlighting that lighting products now have an element of software coding as enablers to autonomy.

In addition to the industry transformation, Sauer highlighted five things that the students can do today to jump start their career path:

  • Build your Network: Join LinkedIn, connect to people you know and young professionals, such as those featured in MICHauto’s branding campaign: Discover Auto: Connect with Emerging Professionals – MICHauto.
  • Be Informed: Learn about the industry through sources like Automotive News or detroitdriven.org.
  • Follow Trends: Stay current on trends in mobility and follow podcasts like Tech Talk by HELLA.
  • Be Flexible: Allow for flexibility in your journey and open to change as you grow in your career.
  • Be Collaborative: Work within teams to question the status quo and make your mark.

The summer 2021 cohort of students will graduate from the GTA program in a virtual ceremony on July 30, having learned insights from several professionals. Last year, 90% of the summer cohort was made up of STEM majors, 60% of whom were hired by Michigan companies within three months of graduating. For more information, visit Global Talent Accelerator – Global Detroit (globaldetroitmi.org).