This past week I had the privilege of spending the day with my counterparts from around the state celebrating the power of the Michigan Works! system. The Michigan Works! Impact Awards honor those who have built economic results by actively creating jobs and developing fresh talent in their communities. I couldn’t be more proud our region was recognized with an award for the work of the Capital Area Manufacturing Council.
This Impact Award was presented for strategic partnership and collaboration to raise awareness of skilled trades and manufacturing jobs that are available to students and graduates. One of those partnerships was the 2017 Manufacturing Day, which has become a flagship event for CAMC.
MFG Day links schools and business to provide tours of local manufacturers with the goal of exposing more than 1,000 K-12 students and school officials to our strong manufacturing community in a single day. The 2017 participants were able to see manufacturing in action, meet the people working in the field and hear employees’ passion for their jobs. They also had the opportunity to learn about education pathways that lead to good jobs in manufacturing and see how manufacturing has evolved to offer great careers. The initiative covered students and businesses from Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Ionia and Livingston counties.
As one student on the tour said, “I am super proud of my art work I made yesterday. I welded my son’s name on a sheet of metal. I never thought I was capable of doing something like this. I am very glad that I went on the manufacturing field trip at my school. When I heard about it, I was like, nah. This trip is for the guys, but I was wrong.”
Collaborations such as these are no small undertaking. I want to commend Michelle Cordano, executive director of CAMC and her board for their commitment to this project. Their efforts will continue to have an impact on our region for years to come.
Why is this important? Because it provides increased knowledge of career opportunities to the youth who are shaping the future of our region, and it helps ensure our businesses have a talent pipeline that will allow them to continue to grow and thrive.
According to the Microsoft Corporation STEM Perceptions Report, the number of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) jobs in the U.S. will grow by 14 percent from 2010-2020, and 51 percent of parents say STEAM education should be a priority to produce the next generation of innovators. And through the Skilled Trades Training Fund, CAMC and CAMW! have invested more than $3 million in helping member companies grow and enhance the skills of local workers. Why? Because we also know four to six indirect jobs are created for each new manufacturing job added. It is truly a ripple effect.
Every day I’m proud of what we do at our American Job Centers to build a strong workforce for our region. But this week, I was reminded we are exceptional within an already strong system, and Greater Lansing is looked to as a regional and national model for success. That’s something our whole community can be proud of.
You can find more information about the Capital Area Manufacturing Council, including details on how to become a member, at www.camconline.org.
Edythe Hatter-Williams is the CEO of Capital Area Michigan Works! For more information about Capital Area Michigan Works!, the services we provide or the locations of our American Job Centers in Lansing, Charlotte and St. Johns, visit our website at www.camw.org. Capital Area Michigan Works! is a proud partner of the American Job Center network.
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