Throughout April, Talent Tours took place throughout Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties to introduce area students to local businesses and careers. Talent tours are given by an employer in coordination with the local school and Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium. Students from Cheboygan, Rogers City and Posen participated. Tours such as these show students what industries are located close to home, insight into what training is necessary to work in these industries, and can provide incentive to bring them back to northeast Michigan after college.
During a Talent Tour, students visit a business to see what happens in a real day of work. So far this year, 165 students have participated in tours at seven area businesses specializing in manufacturing, health care, production, finance and construction. Additional tours are planned for the fall semester.
Michigan Workforce Development Agency’s Pure Michigan Talent Tours introduce youth, parents, and teachers to available career paths in their Region by offering a behind the scenes look into in-demand businesses and industries. Talent Tours help students understand employer education and training requirements necessary to secure employment and what opportunities are available in their area. Impacts include relationship building, establishing a talent pipeline, talent retention and the opportunity to see real life application of coursework.
Preparing for the Future of Northeast Michigan
Eighteen students attended the tour at Link Industries of Indian River. Link Industries have been manufacturing high-speed steel cutting tools for over 65 years. Students were able to walk through the plant and see workers in action. Student Deeanna Hollopeter of Cheboygan said, “I felt that the most valuable part of this tour was finding out about new machines and gave me a few ideas of what I can do in the future.”
Jubilate Childcare Center located in Indian River provides quality childcare to area families, including infant/toddler, preschool, and before/after school care. Twenty Cheboygan students had the opportunity to interact with the kids while learning more about what a childcare center was all about. Maddie Nienstedt commented, “Being able to ask questions was very valuable because I learned what the teachers do in their everyday work life.”
In Cheboygan, the Straits Area Federal Credit Union was demolished and Devere Construction out of Alpena is rebuilding a state-of-the-art building in their same location. At this tour, 21 Cheboygan students learned about the commercial construction industry at an actual construction site. Joey Ross of Cheboygan commented, “What I found most valuable was at each of the worksites, the tour leader gave an overview of the skills and educational pathways required to pursue the various careers.”
Doyle Roofing of Cheboygan offers commercial and residential roofing throughout northern Michigan. Twenty-one students learned more about roofing technologies and what opportunities are available. Jordan Daily of Cheboygan said, “Being able to see all of the opportunities Cheboygan offers within this career path was very valuable.”
Cheboygan Cement Products introduced 21 students to the field of cement products. Versatile in a variety of cement products, Cheboygan Cement Products, Inc. has become a one stop shop for cement construction needs, supplying materials to wholesale and retail markets. “I learned that working in any area of construction can provide you with many new skills over time,” said Tyler Wilkinson of Cheboygan.
The Rehmann Group, which provides one-on-one financial services to small businesses and middle-market companies throughout Michigan and beyond opened their doors to ten students. As one of the largest CPA, business consultants and financial services firms in the Midwest, Rehmann was a great opportunity for the students to learn more about the finance industry and available opportunities.
Cadillac Products Automotive Company hosted two groups of students (52 total) from Rogers City and Posen. Cadillac Products is an internationally recognized leader in the plastics converting industry, providing a wide variety of protective plastic, exterior and interior acoustical and energy management parts, to service the diverse needs of today’s automotive industry. Students were surprised to find an international company right in their backyard! Jan Kalus of Posen said, “What I found most valuable was the information about how this industry is developing and about how and where the different parts they manufacture are used.”
All of the instructors were very impressed with the tours and the knowledge that their students gained during each site visit. They are definitely interested in continuing the tours, as they are beneficial in assisting students with career pathway decisions and allows them the opportunity to see first-hand what each job entails.
Feedback from students was also extremely positive. They’re very excited to see in-person what the day-to-day operations of these industries look like, as well as receive guidance on what educational/training steps are necessary to get into these fields. Many weren’t familiar with Michigan Works! prior to the Talent Tours.
Participating businesses felt the Talent Tours were quite beneficial as well. Area businesses are recognizing the skills gap between available positions and the applicant pool. We are seeing industries such as manufacturing, healthcare and others rebounding, but with their existing workforce aging, employers are finding it harder and harder to fill openings with qualified workers. Participating businesses stated the Talent Tours are an excellent way to educate the next generation of workers about the skills and education needed for these opportunities. Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium extends a huge thank you to the businesses that participated in this most recent round of Talent Tours.
Hunter Brenner of Cheboygan stated, “I found that the Michigan Works! part of the tour was very informative on what we can do to find information now, rather than when we absolutely need it.”
“During the tour I was introduced to the MiTalent.org website, which I was not familiar with before. It will be a great help in the future,” said Heather Schulz of Cheboygan.
Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium services Alpena, Alcona, Cheboygan, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego and Presque Isle counties. Additional talent tours are planned for the fall semester. If your business would like to host a Talent Tour, please contact Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium today at 989.733.8548.