To increase Michigan’s talent in Professional Trades and apprenticeships, the state’s Talent Investment Agency gathered a group of thought leaders for a conversation moderated by MLive at The Grand Rapids Press, including our CEO, Jacob Maas.

The forum is part of Experience Sooner, a public awareness effort focused on elevating the knowledge of students, parents, educators and employers about the increasingly important role apprenticeships play in meeting Michigan’s current and future workforce needs.

Panelists were:

  • Stephanie Beckhorn, director, Workforce Development Agency, Michigan Talent Investment Agency
  • Callan Eschenburg, program manager, Advance Michigan Center for Apprenticeship Innovation (AMCAI)
  • Julie F. Parks, executive director, Workforce Training and the Tassel M-TEC, Grand Rapids Community College
  • Jacob Maas, CEO, West Michigan Works!
  • Cindy Brown, executive director, Hello West Michigan
  • Ron Caniff, superintendent, Kent Intermediate School District
  • Shana Welch, executive director, talent acquisition for Trinity Health — Michigan Region and Mercy Health (West Michigan) and St. Joseph Mercy Health System (Southeast Michigan)
  • Angie Huyghe, manager of finance and human resources, Swoboda Inc.
  • Aphrodite “Apple” M. Jones, lead information training specialist, Spectrum Health
  • Roger Curtis, Director, Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan
  • Mackenzie Hopkins, intern process engineer, Swoboda Inc.