03-15-13 | Blog Post

2013 Governor’s Summit Addresses Shortage of IT Talent in Michigan

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There’s a giant “Help Wanted” sign hanging at the Michigan border.

When 2010 census numbers were released, Michigan was the only state in the country to have lost population over the previous decade. Why? Mainly because, thanks to the auto industry’s troubles and the Great Recession, Michigan had lost nearly 20 percent of its jobs over the same timeframe.

Things are turning around. The state added 47,300 jobs in 2012 and University of Michigan economists expect a similar number in 2013.

According to census figures released Thursday morning, the state’s overall population rose in 2012 … the first time it has increased since 2004.

Still, there’s a labor shortage.

Veteran Michigan business reporter Rick Haglund reports that shortage appears to be most pronounced in manufacturing, but that other industries – including IT – are having trouble finding the right fit for their open positions.

Michigan’s high-tech job growth rate of 6.9 percent in 2013 was the third highest in the nation. The Detroit area alone has approximately 1,100 high-tech job listings daily on Dice.com, making it the fifth-fastest growing tech city in the nation.

Online Tech is part of that growth, with plans to add employees as it expands its footprint by four data centers in the next two years. (See current job opportunities.)

With an unemployment rate of 8.9 percent, the state has the population to fill its open jobs. (In fact, filling the more than 63,000 positions listed on the state’s online portal, mitalent.org, would reduce the unemployment rate to 7.4 percent.) At issue is a disconnect between the type of jobs available and the current skill set of the Michigan workforce.

The state is working to fix the problem, creating opportunities to re-train current residents and unveiling programs like MichAGAIN, which promotes career opportunities to lure young talent back to Michigan.

Online Tech co-CEOs Yan Ness and Mike Klein will be part of another attempt at a solution. They have been invited to take part in the 2013 Governor’s Economic Summit in Detroit on March 18-19 to collaborate with other state leaders to create solutions to Michigan’s employer talent needs.

Business leaders will be grouped by region and industry for brainstorming sessions.

“This is a working summit,” Michigan Governor Rick Snyder told MLive.com. “This isn’t just a summit where you come and listen to a bunch of speakers, have lunch and leave. We help set the stage with some general framework, but then a lot of hard work goes on to come out with real output and real product in terms of saying ‘This is what the private sector needs.'”

Connecting jobs and talent: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to host economic, education summits
Michigan jobs are available, but not the workforce; is it due to skills or wages?

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