MACKINAC ISLAND (WWJ) – A new study shows the auto industry still has a perception problem when it comes to attracting new talent.

WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert explains that while the auto industry may be seen as high-tech, it’s also viewed as an industry with very little opportunity for growth notes the study by the Greater Detroit Chamber’s MICHauto.

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Vice President of MICHauto and Strategic Development, Glenn Stevens says those perceptions were molded during the recession and are hard to change and highlighted the need for increased awareness in efforts to bolster the talent pipeline.

“So I would say that there is tremendous stability in the industry today but that’s not viewed appropriately, and that’s what the study showed,” said Stevens.

The Chamber is working with auto companies to change the perception and attract new talent to the auto industry.

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“Talent retention, attraction and development is critical to Michigan maintaining its position as the global leader of the automotive industry,” said Stevens, Vice President of MICHauto and Strategic Development. “Too few youth and the people who influence their career choices have a clear understanding of the exciting high-tech opportunities in the 21st century automotive industry. It’s no secret that misconceptions about the industry are hampering talent attraction efforts, but now we have data to help drive efforts to address this problem.”

As an integral part of the 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference, the Detroit Regional Chamber and MICHauto convened a private closed-door session of automotive industry, academia, economic development and business leaders to review the study and discuss actions to address the industry perceptions and work together to market the industry and Michigan.

“This survey provides insight about what needs to get done for Michigan to capitalize on the opportunities in one of the world’s most dynamic industries,” said Nigel Francis, senior advisor to the Governor, automotive, with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) who participated in the automotive roundtable.

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There were 900 respondents, consisting of youth men and won (age 17-24) and adult influencers; with participants in both groups from inside and outside of Michigan.