You Can In Michigan

Leaders with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) and West Michigan Works! agency announced today the state has surpassed Michigan’s first-year campaign goal of recruiting and upskilling at least 1,000 workers to pursue new ready-to-hire production roles in tech-forward industries like electric vehicle battery manufacturing.

The MEDC’s recruitment campaign was developed with West Michigan Works! and leading Michigan businesses in EV/mobility, including Shape Corp. in Grand Haven, which has emerged as one of the state’s champions in hiring EV/mobility industry-related workers. The bipartisan announcement was made during a news conference at Shape featuring U.S. congresswoman Hillary Scholten, and Michigan state Sen. Roger Victory.

Michigan is among the first states in the nation with a talent consortium that has successfully identified the key skills and competencies employers need to succeed in the 21st century,” said MEDC Executive Vice President|Chief of Talent Solutions and Engagement Officer Kerry Ebersole Singh.

“We are tailored to businesses — like Shape Corp. — that are ready to make history by scaling their operations in Michigan’s key growth industries of EV and mobility, semiconductors and with more key industries to come,” Singh said. “No other state in the nation comes close to Michigan’s hand-in-hand approach in terms of aligning business needs with education and training programs.”

You Can In Michigan

The MEDC’s recruitment campaign in West Michigan aligns with the “You Can In Michigan” national marketing campaign that Gov. Whitmer launched last fall to grow the state’s economy and attract and retain talent. The goal of the “You Can In Michigan” national marketing campaign is to fill open jobs, increase Michigan’s population and drive the state’s economic future forward. Comprehensively, it’s the largest state talent attraction campaign and effort in the U.S., according to the MEDC.

“Michigan put the world on wheels, and it’s Michigan that will keep us moving forward into a new frontier of automotive innovation,” Rep. Scholten said. “West Michigan, in particular, is showing us how it’s done with two key components–strong business-led, private-public partnerships and people. We’ve got an incredible talent pool here, and a climate to make it even better. Through the transformative power of investing in infrastructure, we’re creating good-paying jobs while setting our state up for long-term economic success.”

Now, the MEDC and its Talent Action Team will continue to work with West Michigan Works! and other officials across the state in filling more than 1,500 unique job openings in advanced manufacturing sectors like electric vehicle battery manufacturing.

“Michigan’s legendary manufacturing heritage and bold investments in workforce and economic development have our state in a strong position to build the future of cars, chips and clean energy,” Victory said.

“Our know-how and deep industry roots put us in a strong position to be a global leader in so many emerging industries,” said Victory. “I am especially pleased that the Michigan Economic Development Corp. is putting a particular focus on helping to train computer engineers, electrical engineers, semiconductor technicians and repair workers. Overall, our biggest goal is to make sustainable investments and identify partners committed to Michigan.”

The high-impact, high-profile employers that the MEDC and its Michigan Works! partners are supporting have both manufacturing operations and robust engineering departments with rewarding career options, including DENSO, Mahle, LGES, Shape Corp., Magna, Ford and Gotion.

“Having created the first integrated workforce development system in the country, Michigan has long been a leader among the nation’s workforce systems,” said West Michigan Works! Chief Operations Officer Angie Barksdale.

You Can In Michigan

“Our team works with economic development and community college partners across the region to offer workforce support and training dollars for business expansion or attraction projects, which bring new jobs to West Michigan,” Barksdale said. “The proof of our success is on display today here at Shape Corp. Regional collaboration and problem-solving address talent, curriculum and advocacy issues on a broader level, resulting in a larger skilled labor pool and increased job placements.”

“The Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s Talent Action Team Electric Vehicle program is not just important to Shape but to the entire state of Michigan,” said Shape Corp. President and CEO Mark White.

“It signifies our commitment to leading the automotive industry’s future, ensuring we remain at the forefront of technological advancements and workforce development,” said White. “By investing in training and recruiting talent specifically for the electric vehicle sector, we are securing Michigan’s position as a hub for innovation and manufacturing excellence.”

White recognized three recent Shape employees during the press event whose interest in starting new careers in West Michigan with a thriving high-tech advanced manufacturer and their commitment to quality performance exemplifies why Kent and Ottawa counties are the state’s two fastest-growing counties in population. They were Josh Ramirez and Katie Williams-Ramirez, a husband-and-wife duo who moved here from Illinois for Josh to become a Shape Corp. material handler and for Katie to become a new production supervisor at Shape’s 172nd Plant in Grand Haven, the largest U.S. plant in Shape’s system. also recognized was Bruce Smith, who moved here from California to become a new Shape Corp. production, control and logistics team leader and who is a proud member of the LGBTQI+ community.