Column: Making an impact on talent

ESCANABA — Talent development, retention, expansion and attraction is a top priority and our core mission at the Delta County Economic Development Alliance. As our broad and diverse companies face the challenge of finding a skilled workforce, what works in in our community is the collaboration with the Upward Talent Council Michigan Works!, the Delta Schoolcraft ISD (DSISD), manufacturing companies including Northern Machining & Repair and their employee David LaFoilie, and the Delta County EDA. On Feb. 21, the partnership with education, economic and workforce development was honored with a 2018 Michigan Works! Impact Award in Lansing.

Hosted by the Michigan Works! Association, the ceremony celebrates the finest achievements in workforce development statewide, from the creation of new jobs to the accomplishments of hardworking citizens. State leadership and lawmakers come together to honor leaders for their efforts to create jobs and develop talent in their communities. The impact award was presented for engaging with local and regional partners to provide training and employment opportunities.

We work together to break manufacturing myths and share the rewarding careers available in skilled trades to build a high-quality talent pipeline. We partner to build awareness and share the career opportunities available locally with Industry After Hours that target K-12 students and parents, monthly Talent Tours, and Education Externships focused on teachers and counselors. We work hand-in-hand with companies to identify their needs and match them with workforce programs like on the job training and skilled trades training fund. These programs directly impact employee retention, training, growth and development. David LaFoille was seeking a career, not just a job. He was a strong candidate for on-the-job training because he had experience in machining. Though he had the main skill set needed, he required additional training. Michigan Works! worked with Northern Machining to provide an on-the-job training opportunity.

As we celebrate 25 years of Economic Development in Delta County, this recognition for workforce development with our partners in success is especially significant. We will continue to collaborate and join forces to have maximum positive impact to make our community a better place to live, to play and to work.

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Vicki Schwab is the executive director of the Delta County Economic Development Alliance