Higher Education, Human Resources, and Manufacturing

Discover Manufacturing symposium addresses talent shortage

September 14, 2015
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Discover Manufacturing symposium addresses talent shortage
Discover Manufacturing hosts a LEGO League event at Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids. Photo via fb.com

A regional manufacturing industry consortium is highlighting best practices and opportunities for businesses when it comes to addressing the talent shortage at an event this week.

Discover Manufacturing, a regional partnership among West Michigan Works!, higher education institutions, economic developers and manufacturers, is hosting an inaugural event providing an opportunity to share best practices addressing talent challenges from 8-10:30 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Pinnacle Center, 3330 Highland Drive, Hudsonville.

The symposium

The inaugural Fall Symposium invites executive leaders, human resources managers, economic developers, business representatives and talent development partners in the manufacturing industry to discuss, share and learn more about best practices and successful programs addressing the talent challenge.

The event kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with welcome remarks and an overview of Discover Manufacturing by Jay Dunwell, president of Wolverine Coil Spring Co., and then features keynote speaker Lawrence E. Brown, executive director of Detroit-based Lighweight Innovations for Tomorrow.

Brown, who has more than 30 years of aerospace and marine experience in materials joining and also serves as the executive director of American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, will highlight some of the struggles and accomplishments taking place in the industry across Michigan. The ALMMII is the operational arm of LIFT, which is an industry-led, government-funded consortium focused on lightweight technology development.

Success stories

The symposium will also highlight innovative solutions, opportunities and partnerships in the region that can help address specific talent needs. From 9:30-10:15 a.m., several local businesses and program representatives will present on their best practices ranging from Autocam’s innovative hiring strategies using National Career Readiness Certificates, Ramsy tests and career ladders, to DeWys Manufacturing’s in-house training combining theory and practice and the Coopersville Manufacturing Engineering Partnership Program.

Deb Lyzenga, regional director of business solutions for West Michigan Works!, said West Michigan is home to many innovative employers, initiatives and programs.

“(They) are working to create a pipeline of qualified manufacturing talent,” said Lyzenga. “We encourage manufacturers to tap into this wealth of experience and best practices.”

Presenters include: John Buchan, Autocam; Lyzenga, West Michigan Works!; Julie Parks, Grand Rapids Community College, on the Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing; Laura Elsner, DeWys Manufacturing, on DeWys University; Jean Arteaga, Coopersville High School; and Maureen Lynch, Flexco.

The event is free and open to the public, and those interested can register to attend at discover-manufacturing.eventbrite.com.

Discover Manufacturing

As a regional consortium, Discover Manufacturing is comprised of a number of community colleges, higher education institutions, West Michigan Works!, manufacturers and economic developers. The organization strives to bring together the voice of the manufacturing industry so economic developers and educational partners can respond effectively to short-term and long-term talent development needs.

Discover Manufacturing is headquartered at 215 Straight Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, and was founded by Michigan Works! Region 4 and The Right Place/MMTC-West Manufacturers Council.

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