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High-Tech Battery Industry Keeps Talent In Michigan

Michigan has long been the automotive capital of the world. In order for the state to position itself as a leader in electric vehicle (EV) and mobility technology, the state formed its Talent Action Team (TAT) to meet the demands of an eager and highly skilled workforce.

Meet the Talent Action Team. The TAT is a public-private collaboration between government, business, and educational leaders focused on attracting and retaining skilled workers. According to Kerry Ebersole Singh, Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Solutions and Engagement Officer for Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the TAT works with 15 major employers to analyze labor forecasts for up to five years and then builds a pipeline to feed occupational needs.

The TAT has launched a set of strategic investments to help five Michigan universities increase capacity and courses, hire additional curriculum designers, and expand high school programs to help broaden the number of students entering the engineering workforce.

Michigander EV Scholars Program. TAT’s Michigander EV Scholars Program is the nation’s largest-ever talent campaign, filling jobs in Michigan’s surging EV and transportation mobility sector by linking employers to talent pools from University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Michigan Technological University. The program aims to give as many as 350 Michiganders up to a $10,000 scholarship if talks lead to an accepted job offer and a student agrees to stay in the state for 12 months.

Welcoming Michiganders Back Home. The TAT is also developing a marketing campaign to articulate the value of working and living in Michigan. Later this year, it will extend beyond Michigan’s borders to reach homegrown talent that has left the state.

“[The campaign] will talk to Michigan expats about job opportunities available to them as well as the amazing natural resources we have,” Ebersole Singh said. “Whether it’s for the quality of life or the value you get related to the cost of living, there’s a sweet spot when they may be ready to come home.”

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Energy storage manufacturer, Our Next Energy (ONE), is building a $1.6 billion gigafactory in Van Buren Township, MI and has partnered with the Talent Action Team in the state for workforce development. (Photo: courtesy of Michigan Economic Development Corporation)


Our Next Energy. According to Ebersole Singh, data shows that for CEOs, access to talent is the top differentiator when thinking about growing their business. That was the case for Our Next Energy (ONE) CEO Mujeeb Ijaz, who relocated the three-year-old energy storage manufacturer’s headquarters from Silicon Valley to Novi, MI because of the experienced workforce. It is building a $1.6 billion state-of-the-art gigafactory in Van Buren Township and has partnered with the TAT and top universities and community colleges to fill 2,000 jobs.

“The talent in batteries and battery manufacturing is largely found in Michigan. There is a great epicenter here.”

“The talent in batteries and battery manufacturing is largely found in Michigan. There is a great epicenter here,” said Deeana Ahmed, ONE’s Vice President of Strategy, Policy and Sustainability.

EV Talent Drives Michigan’s Future. Michigan’s EV and mobility industries rely heavily on the talent pipeline, which is bolstered by state programs and public-private partnerships. By attracting and retaining top talent in new and innovative ways, Michigan is ingraining itself as the current and future home for emerging technologies and businesses, while prioritizing the EV industry’s growth and sustainability.

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