For Michigan to lead, we need to close the talent gap
The automotive industry is rapidly evolving, fueled by today’s technology-driven world. The industry of the past that was defined by limited career options no longer exists. Today, there are diverse career opportunities that fit virtually any interest.
As the home to 17 global automakers, more than 1,800 suppliers, innovative technology, a growing mobility startup and venture capital ecosystem, and numerous connected and automated vehicle research projects and initiatives, the state’s leadership is evident. But for Michigan to sustain its global status as an automotive industry epicenter and lead in the development of next-generation mobility, a rich talent pipeline is critical.
That is why the Detroit Regional Chamber began leading MICHauto in 2011, to promote, retain and grow the automotive industry. MICHauto surveyed youth and their influencers in 2014 and 2017, to discover the perception trends and opportunities. The data indicate that through awareness efforts led by economic development partners across the state, the industry is gaining relevance among young talent. The data also reveal that there is an opportunity to continuously improve the understanding of the industry’s role in the global race for connected technology among youth and influencers outside of Michigan.
Beyond exposing talent to the transformation at these established companies, there is also another element of the mobility ecosystem that has emerged. Startup businesses with advanced technology solutions are disrupting the global industry. Understanding the importance of enhancing this ecosystem, the PlanetM Landing Zone was established last year to attract startups with new mobility technologies to our region. A partnership between MICHauto and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), this is just one example of an innovative concept attracting global talent and companies to create a vast network of mobility experts in our backyard.
As a global technology and innovation leader in automotive seating, electrical distribution systems and electronics, Lear Corporation understands the need for talent and technology solutions better than anyone. There is no other seat company in the world that has an E-Systems and Seating Division, and we are leveraging technology to make the seat a unique experience for each occupant. This concept will be revolutionary for the quickly emerging ride-sharing industry. With this state-of-the-art approach and growing resources, we can provide diverse opportunities for up-and-coming talent.
It is evident that there is a cohesiveness in the Detroit region’s automotive and tech communities. Ongoing collaboration is key, which is why we are proud that each quarter MICHauto convenes a diverse group of more than 100 influencers from the automotive industry, health care, government, higher education and economic development to solve transportation issues and connect people to health care, education and jobs.
This work to fill the talent gap, convene stakeholders and change industry perceptions is what sets our state and region apart, and I applaud MICHauto for its leadership in this endeavor.
Michigan is positioned to win the global race in next-generation mobility. Getting there will require collaboration among all industry players to better tell our story and champion Michigan and the automotive industry as the place to be. Together, let’s change lives and make our society better for future generations.
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