New Work Force Network Gears Up

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DETROIT — The Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan launched Tuesday with the goal of assessing the area’s workforce needs — and supplying metro Detroit employers, educational institutions, workforce development agencies, and policy makers with the information they need to further cultivate and transform the region’s work force.

Funded by a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the New Economy Initiative, WIN is a region-wide collaborative effort between metro Detroit’s eight community colleges, seven workforce boards and economic development partners.

Its mission is to serve three primary roles for southeast Michigan:
* Gather, analyze and distribute real-time workforce data specific to southeast Michigan;
* Serve as a connection point for regional business, industry and other stakeholders in regard to workforce development; and
* Research talent-related policy concerns.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. also is providing in-kind support to the WIN initiative, including technical expertise and resources.

“WIN is a strong model of regional collaboration that promises to drive our talent enhancement policies,” said Michael A. Finney, president and CEO of the MEDC.

“Collectively, these community colleges and workforce boards designed this concept to leverage assets to build a comprehensive and cohesive workforce and talent system across the region,” said WIN Executive Director Lisa Katz. “Their investment in this network will arm economic developers, business accelerators, colleges, universities, training institutions, employers and policy makers with the data and strategies they need to help redefine the region’s workforce.”

Following are a few examples of how WIN is working to address regional workforce issues:

* Working to identify regional skill training needs of the corporate IT sector — a growth opportunity in SE Michigan — and will coordinate accelerated training approaches for short-term and ongoing industry needs. Moving forward, the Network will also work to implement regional training strategies and leverage private, state and federal workforce training resources.
* Developed a career pathway for the energy workforce with special focus on entry-level and apprenticeship resources. This sector is anticipating a retirement crisis among skilled workers and came to WIN to develop strategies for rebuilding the talent pipeline.
* Supported the demand of the rebounding auto sector for skilled engineers and technicians with hybrid and electric vehicle expertise. WIN is working with business and government partners to bring together the combined expertise of regional workforce boards and community colleges to develop a blueprint for short and longer-term talent development.

“The Workforce Intelligence Network’s regional approach creates an opportunity for educational institutions, workforce boards, and economic development partners to collaborate on a new level and provide comprehensive data for the entire region, not just one specific geographical area,” said New Economy Initiative Executive Director David Egner. “Their support will help identify where resources are needed and how it will affect business development.”

WIN is made up of the following eight community colleges:

Macomb Community College
Monroe County Community College
Mott Community College
Oakland Community College
Schoolcraft College
St. Clair Community College
Washtenaw Community College
Wayne County Community College District

And seven workforce boards:

Career Alliance
Detroit Workforce Development Department
Livingston County Michigan Works!
Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!
Oakland County Michigan Works!
Southeast Michigan Community Alliance
Washtenaw County Employment, Training and Community Services

The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan is an innovative philanthropic effort to accelerate the transition of metro Detroit to an innovation-based economy that expands opportunity for all. Ten national, regional and local foundations have committed $100 million to this unprecedented eight-year initiative, including the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit), the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield), the Ford Foundation (New York), the Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek), the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami), The Kresge Foundation (Troy), the McGregor Fund (Detroit), the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint), and the Skillman Foundation (Detroit). The participating foundations are leading the implementation and governance of the Initiative. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which initiated the collaborative, is serving as its administrative home. For more information, please visit http://neweconomyinitiative.cfsem.org/.

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