MSU Leads Regional Effort to Retrain Workers for New IT Jobs

MSU Leads Regional Effort to Retrain Workers for New IT Jobs

November 18, 2009/MSU News



EAST LANSING, Mich. — Nearly 40 mid-Michigan workers have gained new skills and employment in information technology, thanks to a partnership between Michigan State University, work force development agencies and area technology businesses.

Michigan State enlisted the Prima Civitas Foundation and local Michigan Works! agencies to develop initiatives focused on talent development to drive regional economic competitiveness, increased job growth and new opportunities for American workers.

The university tapped $100,000 from a three-year, $15 million regional U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development, or WIRED, grant awarded in 2006.

“Our Capital Area IT Council looked at what companies with the most growth potential needed from the mid-Michigan work force,” said Douglas Stites, CEO of Capital Area Michigan Works!, “and it was clear that, in the IT industry, knowledge is everything. Our employers told us that knowledge can only be acquired through on-the-job training, a win-win solution for both workers and employers.”

Capital Area Michigan Works! and the Capital Area IT Council this year began recruiting candidates and screening eligible trainees, while establishing relationships with key information technology companies. The result was nearly 40 employment placements in those companies, with half of each worker’s salary supported by WIRED funds for an average of eight weeks of on-the-job training.

“This program is a perfect example of creative problem solving by MSU, Prima Civitas Foundation, the Capital Area IT Council and Capital Area Michigan Works!,” said David Hollister, president and CEO of Prima Civitas Foundation. “Prima Civitas Foundation is continuously networking with regional businesses to assess their needs and connect them with available resources.”

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon also applauded the program and pledged to continue MSU’s efforts to support such economic development initiatives, locally and across the state.

“What this experience shows us is that, first, each focused effort at improving the education and skills of our work force has an impact on the regional economy – not to mention the lives of our fellow residents and their families,” she said.

“Second, this was a collaborative effort among higher education, government and private enterprise that produced a customized solution, an on-the-job training program that is responsive to the needs of a growing local IT industry. And finally, this project represents just one of Michigan’s many efforts to retool ourselves to be a thriving high-tech community – clearly, MSU has a continuing role to play in that strategy.”

For more information on mid-Michigan opportunities for information technology companies and workers, call the Capital Area IT Council at (517) 492-5592, Prima Civitas at (517) 999-3382 or MSU at (517) 432-4499.