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MICHauto on the Island Automotive Roundtable

MICHauto concluded their MICHauto on the Island sessions on Wednesday morning with discussions around attracting and retaining talent in the state, shifts in the industry due to the transition from ICE to BEV engines, and a call to action for attending executives to join the CEO Coalition for Change led by the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion, and Advancement.

Glenn Stevens, Jr., Executive Director, MICHauto; Vice President, Automotive and Mobility Initiatives, Detroit Regional Chamber, set the stage for the morning by reviewing what is needed for the future of automotive and mobility and why it is critical for Michigan to address talent issues to compete with other states and regions who are hiring the same talent.

Next on stage was the morning’s keynote speaker, Kristine Coogan, Managing Director, KPMG, who discussed how many organizations are lacking in their hiring processes and how they can adjust their practices to attract or retain top talent that meets their shifting talent needs. She suggested offering current employees the opportunities to upskill frequently to keep up with the increased rate of innovation, changing in-demand skills, and embracing the hybrid working model. As she pointed out, Michigan is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this trend towards remote work with our beautiful landscape and outdoor recreation.

To continue the conversation on talent, a roundtable with Deeana Ahmed, Vice President, Strategy and Government Affairs, ONE, Our Next Energy, Kristine Coogan, Manager Director, KPMG, Ashok Sivanand, Chief Executive Officer, Integral, Dug Song, Chief Strategy Officer, Cisco Secure; Co-Founder, Duo-Security, moderated by Chad Livengood, Politics Editor and Columnist, The Detroit News, discussed positive changes they’ve made in their organizations to attract and retain top talent in the last couple of years and what Michigan can do better.

Ahmed brought the room to an applause by stating, “if we brought better childcare to the state, we’d have a lot stronger workforce.” Sivanad reviewed his experience attending college in Canada and brought attention to ways they are setting their students and workforce up for success, including providing coop opportunities during college, so students leave with 16-20 months of real work experience and ready to enter the workforce.

Glenn Stevens and Michael Robinet, Executive Director, S&P Global Mobility Consulting, discussed changes to the supply chain as we shift from ICE to BEV engines and the importance of understanding this shift in terms of investment and production. Robinet stated, “if you are starting to think about BEV, in some respects, it may be too late.”

The session concluded with a presentation from Margaret Baxter, Executive Director, The Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion, and Advancement, who discussed their partnership MICHauto and their work together forming the CEO Coalition for Change, a peer group of CEOs who are committed to making meaningful strides in diversity, equity, and inclusion to become a more inclusive industry, leverage diverse talent, and better engage the workforce and impact social justice. “We want everyone to belong and help steer the ship to a more diverse and equitable tomorrow.” She referenced a statement from Glenn Stevens that he said in a CEO Coalition for Change meeting – if Michigan is going to remain the epicenter for automotive, it is going to have to be more inclusive and look more like the communities that it serves.

Thank you to KPMG, BCG, DENSO, GS3, Lambert, Nexteer, and Toyota for sponsoring this event.