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Michigan Mobility Talent Consortium: Talent Pipeline Must Include Positive Influences, Enticements, Equitability

Government leaders, chief human resource officers, and other industry leaders gathered with nearly 60 educators at the Detroit Regional Chamber on Sept. 14 to discuss opportunities to close the talent development gaps in Michigan.

Leading this Michigan Mobility Talent Consortium (MMTC) Education meeting was:

  • Charlie Ackerman, Senior Vice President, Human Relations, Bosch North America
  • Kerry Ebersole Singh, Chief Talent and Engagement Officer, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
  • Michelle Acciavatti, Managing Director, Midwest Region Leader, WTW

Listening to Educators is Critical

Opening the discussion, Ackerman stressed to the educators the importance of bridging the early stages of a student’s life, like being a positive influence who provides valuable education, to produce quality talent and citizens who can “live, work, and thrive in the great state of Michigan.”

“An interesting piece of data is that by 2027-2030, the educational system in Michigan may not be able to produce the amount of talent that the state needs,” he said. “The way to overcome this is through every educator in this room… the educators represented here reach over 10,000 students annually in Michigan.”

Ackerman continued, saying that the talent challenge solution is a shared priority between industry, education, and government. In addition, he said creating community, collaboration, connectivity, and celebrations will “build bridges to solve the issue and create opportunities.”

“MMTC is coming to [the educators] to tell you we need you,” he said. “We need to understand your challenges, pain points, and how we can work with you to understand. We want you to visit us and see what the job is so that you can tell your students about the engineering, coding, and other opportunities in automotive.”

He closed his portion of the discussion by adding that the government is “the enabler to solve these problems” and suggested the solution is to increase the volume and quality of the talent pipeline by 50% in Michigan.

How Michigan Can Win Quality Talent

Singh began her portion of the conversation with a sobering statistic from MEDC, saying that by 2028, the death rate will outpace the birthrate in Michigan, and urged the group to “entice people to the quality of life in Michigan.”

“Twenty percent of the jobs in Michigan are connected to the mobility industry,” she said. “We need a close partnership in Michigan as the industry transforms through new technologies.”

After noting businesses want to know how to invest in the K-12 education system, Singh identified several barriers that Michigan needs to address to win talent, including:

  • General workforce shortages
  • Recruitment, retention, and upskilling of talent
  • A shortage of high-skill workers in advanced manufacturing and health care
  • A lagging labor force participation
  • Population growth decline

“We want to make sure support is flexible to industry so that we can support more students entering the industry in Michigan,” she said. “MEDC has launched the Talent Action Team to address the challenges in this area.”

It Is Never Too Early to Start Teaching Equity

To close the segment, Telva McGruder, chief diversity officer of General Motors (GM), chimed in during the audience Q&A segment to share the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion progress. She also echoed Ackerman’s belief that equitable work needs to begin “at very young ages.”

“[GM has] justice and inclusion funding to impact not only STEM but reading and literacy at young ages to build confidence and also so they can engage those really tricky science books,” she said. “…it’s about seeing what people do. We want students to have exposure to what people do so that they can see what opportunities exist.”