Ask manufacturing executives about their biggest challenges and they’ll most likely sum it up in one word: talent. As Michigan’s unemployment rate continues to shrink, manufacturers have struggled to attract and retain people, especially the in-demand skilled workers they need to run their highly automated plants. The Lansing-based Michigan Manufacturers Association has heeded its members’ call by partnering with the SME Education Foundation and the Manufacturing Institute on a new talent solution, said MMA President and CEO Chuck Hadden. SME’s Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education (PRIME) initiative offers customizable curricula, while the Institute’s “Dream It Do It” program provides a framework for manufacturers to communicate more effectively with educators.
"Michigan’s economy is driven by a competitive manufacturing industry. Our state unemployment is the best it’s been in 15 years and is now below the national average. Michigan is leading the nation in manufacturing job growth, creating 148,000 new manufacturing jobs since 2009. This growth creates new challenges as Michigan manufacturers are hitting a wall when it comes to talent — they either can’t find it or the skills don’t match employer needs. For an industry as talent-reliant as manufacturing, fixing this problem must be a top priority. … Together, (the PRIME and Dream It Do It) programs offer employers and educators the tools they need to overcome existing image and pipeline challenges. Talent initiatives like these not only move Michigan’s economy forward, but move it forward at an accelerated pace. The manufacturing skills gap is real and impacts manufacturers large and small. The sooner employers and educators come together to find common-sense solutions with long-lasting results, the greater Michigan’s economy will be. This discussion must continue in 2017. It’s time to talk talent." - Chuck Hadden, President and CEO, Michigan Manufacturers Association