Cluster Chronicle - April 2015

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.
Michigan WDA WOrkfoce Development Agency

April 1, 2015

In This Issue...

Welcome new Industry Cluster Team Members!

Welcome to the Team


The Michigan Industry Cluster Team has expanded and has new individuals and also new responsibilities. The cluster team will now be responsible for the Michigan Advanced Technician Training Program (MAT2), the Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF), Grant Development, and the Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program (CCSTEP).   Please join us in welcoming the following individuals to our team!

Denise Flannery
Valerie Jemerson
Tangie Jones
Nate Oliver
Samuel Sedlecky
Patty Vanaman


Local Cluster Hightlight: Career Quest 2015

Career Quest

A career exploration event – Career Quest is taking place April 28th at the Devos Place. Michigan Works!  Kent, Allegan & Barry Counties has collaboratated with Kent ISD, Construction Development Workforce Alliance (CDWA) and several area employers to offer a very fun, educational, and hands-on career/college readiness event. This event is open to classes of 6th - 12th grade students in the region. DeVos Hall will be divided into four football size industry quadrants.

Michigan Works! will project manage the event and has recruited employer industry champions who will work with other employers to create interactive, engaging, and motivating exhibits showcasing the career opportunities within their industry. Employers are collaborating with peers to create an impactful exhibit that tells the story of their industry with four components to begin a successful exhibit:

  • Tools of the Trade - Bring, display and show how to use the tools necessary to complete your work
  • Task - Create an interactive task for the students to complete
  • Technology - Show how technology integrates with field and office work
  • People - Staff your exhibit with people who can tell their story and inspire young people to consider the industry

In addition, employers will help students with:

  • Creating a display that explains their trade
  • Allow students to see & feel the work
  • Describe the career opportunities that exist

Kent ISD is responsible for coordinating the recruitment of schools.  Maximum number of students attending is 6000.  Over 3000 students have currently registered for the event. More information can be found at

Back to Top

Tracy DiSanto Represents Region 10 At the Governor's Economic & Education Summit

Tracy DiSanto

DTE Energy’s Manager of Workforce Panning and Analytics Tracy DiSanto represented the Detroit Metro Prosperity Region at this year’s Michigan Governor’s Economic Summit and Governor’s Education Summit, held on March 3 at the Renaissance Center in Detroit.  Designated as Region 10’s employer champion, DiSanto who also serves as Co-Chair of the Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium (MEWDC) highlighted the career and technical education successes and ongoing work of DTE, MEWDC, and the region.

For the first time, the Governor's Economic and Education Summit was combined, allowing the most innovative minds in education and economic development to discuss the best ways to better prepare Michigan's students for future success.  The key focus at this year's summit was the skilled trades and talent development.  As Michigan companies look to expand and create more and better jobs, they're having trouble finding talent to fill those jobs.  That's why one of Governor Snyder's top priorities is to make Michigan number one in the nation for skilled trades.  This infographic outlines what the State of Michigan is doing to become a national leader in talent development and the skilled trades. Visit for additional information and highlights from summit. 

MI Skilled Trades and Talent Development

Prosperity Regions Talent Map - Update

In 2014 the WDA and the MEDC introduced the Prosperity Regions Talent Map.  The map is a web-based tool for talent system stakeholders to "collaborate, create, and connect" in an effort to better serve their employer customers.

This interactive mapping solution was developed, in part, to respond to feedback from attendees of the Governor’s 2013 summits on economic development and education who had expressed a vital need for more and better systems for locating and accessing people and resources that their business and industry need for success. Envisioned as a tool for promoting better connectivity amongst key stakeholders from the three domains of workforce development, economic development, and education/training that constitute the “supply side” of the system, the Map is designed to be partner inclusive, enabling stakeholders to have a say in reinventing Michigan’s talent delivery system while continuing to be invested as “collaborators, creators, and connecters.”

In recent months the project team has taken a number of important steps to evolve the tool. MEDC Application Services team members have received training on the Visual Fusion software used to power the map and have begun to implement standardized tools and processess to upload new partners/resources and maintain existing data. Initially these regular batch uploads and updates will be completed on a quarterly basis but the goal is to adjust frequency based on the volume of work. Other planned enhancements will include the ability to select multiple industry filters when conducting a look-up.

New data is continually being added to the talent map. For instance, the current batch of data will include Perkins occupational education contacts for every community college. Thanks to recent collaboration with the Michigan Department of Education, users will soon be able to access information about every CTE program in the state of Michigan. 

To access the map, please visit:

Back to Top

WDA Partnership with Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

WDA and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) have signed an interagency agreement to join efforts with the implementation of the food and agriculture sector talent strategies in the state of Michigan.  Rey Guzman, with the WDA MICA team is temporarily assigned to work with the MDARD executive office to assist in tying the state talent system to these strategies.  This partnership will focus on collaboration by both agencies to attract talent to our state and promote the skills, and entrepreneurial spirit to our food and agricultural communities.  Michigan’s agriculture industry is the second most diverse agriculture products industry in the country and has the potential to grow and expand its products, however, the industry is challenged with finding the highly skilled talent to a rapidly changing technically advanced industry.  By working collaboratively, WDA and MDARD can leverage many of their resources to help the agriculture industry build a better understand the many talent challenges.  Connecting the two departments to the appropriate workforce programs allows for a comprehensive approach to many of the migrant and seasonal farm workers shortages across the state as well as identifying many of the variety of program specific programs, veterans (i.e. Vet to Ag) etc. while informing WDA leadership and involving appropriate staff. 

In December 2014 it was announced the Clemens Food Group pork processing operations in Coldwater, MI will create up to 800 jobs.  The Pennsylvania-based company considered both Michigan and Ohio for a Midwest expansion of its pork processing operations, choosing Michigan for the location of the facility based on the state and community support as well as site feasibility and labor force preparedness. Michigan Works! Southwest's Sector Strategy Coordinator, Kara Stewart and Business Solutions Manager, Missy Lafferty  with the Michigan Works! Coldwater office has participated in many of the meetings with the Clemens management team to discuss strategies in identifying the necessary training providers and to developing the specific skills training needed for the industry.

In addition, MDARD in conjunction with WDA has formed the Agriculture Labor Workforce Coalition Workgroup and has hosted a number of meetings to bring together many of the industry partners including Michigan Farm Bureau, and the office of New Americans office to address their critical need for hand harvesting labor.  Working together with MDARD has opened more lines of communication and has allowed for a more comprehensive analysis of the industry’s challenges and opportunities by better understanding many of the federal regulatory labor laws and guidelines. 

Back to Top

Where we've been

Michigan Infrastructure Transportation Association Conference: January 22, 2015
CLICK HERE to view the presentation

Michigan Career and Technical Education Conference: February 2-3, 2015

Not Your Father's Apprenticeship
CLICK HERE to view the presentation

Career Awareness for High-Demand Skilled Trades and Training
CLICK HERE to view the presentation

Back to Top

Where we're going

Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan: April 21, 2015
Midwest Transportation Workforce Center Strategic Advisory Meeting; April 21-22, 2015
Michigan Educators Apprenticeship Training Association: May 21-22, 2015
Michigan Works! Association's WIOA Ready Set Go Conference: June 17, 2015
Industry Certifications: Closing the Manufacturing Skills Gap in the Great Lakes Region: June 17, 2015
Michigan Career Educators and Employer Alliance Consortium: June 18-19, 2015

Back to Top

Bookmark and Share