A statewide training program is using the principles of supply chain management to ensure Michigan has a steady supply of qualified talent. Consumers Energy Co. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are training leaders of Michigan chambers of commerce, economic and workforce development organizations and nonprofits to be the link between consumers (employers) and suppliers (training providers).

The goal is to create a system that identifies the number of qualified job candidates employers will need in the coming years and then deliver on that need.

Students of The Talent Pipeline Academy will be the intermediaries in this system, creating a continuous flow of information between employers and training providers. In webinars and in-person sessions, the students are learning how apply supply chain management strategies to talent issues; collecting data and outcomes using online tools provided by the chamber foundation.

The Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) process requires employers to work within their industries to identify their high-demand jobs and then identify the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to perform them. This information is then used to identify the best sources for qualified candidates and to inform the curriculum of training providers.

“The overall approach isn’t new; communities across the state are developing employer-driven collaboratives to address talent issues,” said Deb Lyzenga, Regional Director of Business Solutions for West Michigan Works! and one of 20 students in the training session. “But TPM is unique in that it gives us tools and a common language to address the talent gap as a unified system.”

Sharon Miller, who leads the Michigan Talent Architecture Coalition for Consumers, said “The TPM process helped Consumers Energy solve one of our most challenging talent problems – a supply of candidates for our entry level electric line worker positions.”

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