Economic Development, Human Resources, and Technology

West Michigan Works! launches tech talent program

October 2, 2017
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A regional workforce development agency has launched a program to strengthen and diversify the technology talent pool.

West Michigan Works! announced last month the launch of West Michigan Tech Talent, or WMTT. The program will bring together employers, education providers and workforce experts to create and sustain a diverse pool of IT talent while promoting West Michigan as a thriving IT community.

Joe Thiry, information technology lead at West Michigan Works!, said the program will aim to increase collaboration across industries “to support jobs and attract and retain top tech talent in West Michigan.”

“We’re fortunate to have local employers on board to drive this program and help us find ways to cultivate tech talent and jobs here in our community,” Thiry said.

WMTT plans to develop and grow diverse talent mainly through participation of its members in work groups on the following topics:

  • Reaching out to K-12 and college students to promote IT careers, ensuring that underrepresented groups have equitable access.
  • Upgrading the skills of the current workforce and adult career changers.
  • Partnering with groups like Hello West Michigan to create IT-specific recruitment campaigns to fill in-demand occupations.
  • Branding West Michigan as an IT hub and promoting existing organizations focused on IT talent expansion in the region.
  • Raising funds to support WMTT initiatives, including grants and scholarships.

Matt Williams, president of SalesPad, said his software-based inventory management company is one of those involved and interested parties in WMTT.

“SalesPad employs over 100 talented technology professionals, and we believe it’s important to collaborate with other employers in our community to support a strong tech talent pool here in West Michigan,” he said. “We encourage anyone who has a passion for growing West Michigan’s tech industry to get involved.”

Other WMTT partners include The Midwest Tech Project, Bizstream Academy, Bitcamp and Talent 2025. WMTT will offer several upcoming workgroups and events to educate the public about the program. More information is available online.

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