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The University of Michigan-Dearborn is going on offense–hosting a career fair Wednesday morning dedicated to Michigan’s defense sector.
It’s the first in a series of planned education and career events created through the new Southeastern Michigan Educational Partnership, which includes Automation Alley, Defense Acquisition University, area colleges, universities and the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Veterans, displaced workers and other professionals interested in securing positions within the Department of Defense.
Trish Llewellyn of the State Department of Energy Labor and Economic Growth said people laid off in the auto industry can make the switch to the defense sector if they can learn the language.
“Their vernacular, their particular arena, in our workforce needs to be prepared in order to fully function successfully,” Llewellyn said.
Llewellyn said they are taking a proactive approach to insuring that the Michigan workforce smoothly transitions from traditional, auto industry occupations to defense.
Ken Heier, of Lincoln Park, is a former auto worker who has done contracting work for the military in the Middle East and says it’s not much of a stretch.
“It’s motorized vehicles, but you’ve got gas, diesel, heavy equipment, you’ve got different kind of vehicles – vehicles to protect the troops,” Heier said.
Travis Stewart, of Defense Acquisition University, says prospects are good, given half the defense workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next two years.
“The Department of Defense has not done a very good job of recruiting behind these individuals, the baby boomers if you will, who could retire at any moment,” Stewart said.
Wayne Bernard, of Detroit, went to see what was out there. “I’m an Aerial Tower operator, I do facilitate in schools, but right now I’m looking for something under that umbrella, or something newer,” Bernard said.
This is the first of a series of jobs fairs that will be held in this area letting displaced workers know that there is another career path available.
Representatives from the defense industry, including the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, Tank Automotive Command and other federal agencies and government contractors will be in attendance.
It’s from 7:30 a.m. until noon at the BorgWarner Auditorium on the U of M Dearborn campus. The event is free but registration is required.
Visit www.michiganworks.edufest.com or call 313.593.4000 to register.
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