Macomb College Also Convening Regional Network to Support Growth 

To help effectively target workforce re-skilling and retraining, Macomb Community College has completed a report focused on the professional and technical workforce needs of the emerging southeast Michigan defense sector.

Funded by a grant from the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, Southeast Michigan Defense Sector Research:  White Collar and Technical Workforce Needs is based on the results of an online survey of more than 200 defense employers in the region.  The survey was designed to identify technical jobs in current demand in the defense sector, as well as the most important skills that displaced automotive professionals and technicians may need to increase their qualifications for these jobs.

Private-sector employers in the defense sector provided near-term job growth projections, categorizing their best estimate of the expected job growth in their organization as an increase, decrease or no change.  Their responses identified the following major job groups as high growth:

  • Engineering and Design: Manufacturing engineers; mechanical engineers; CAD/CAE/CAM (mechanical drafter)
  • Manufacturing:  Machinists & CNC machinists; multi-skilled technicians (also known as mechatronics technicians); CAD/CAE/CAM programmers; CNC programmers
  • Business Management and Contracts:  Cost estimators (for government contracts); program managers; project managers; sales representatives (technical and scientific); marketing managers

The report is available at Macomb College’s website:  The information is supporting the ongoing development of training that the college has undertaken as part of a three-year, $4.9 million grant award by the U.S. Dept. of Labor to help prepare area residents for jobs in the local defense industry.  To date, more than 400 individuals have participated in training provided by Macomb through the grant, with 72 obtaining employment.  The college is beginning the second year of the grant, and is amplifying its reach and impact by rolling out training opportunities through eight additional community colleges:  Henry Ford, Monroe, Mott, Oakland, Schoolcraft, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne County.

“Macomb is working to leverage the traditional strengths of our community and its workforce by transitioning transferable skills, as well as helping residents acquire new proficiencies important to the growing defense sector in southeast Michigan,” said  Dr. James Sawyer, provost and vice president for the Learning Unit, Macomb Community College.  “One of the keys to successfully building a sustainable role in any emerging industry is community partnership and collaboration, and there is great energy and cooperation with local business and industry, governmental entities, nonprofits and other educational institutions.”

Macomb College is also developing and coordinating a defense sector stakeholders’ network to promote workforce development and job creation in southeast Michigan through a second grant from the New Economy Initiative.

About Macomb Community College

Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to more than 48,000 students annually.  Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded and as the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan.  The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

About the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan

The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan ( was launched in 2008 as a unique philanthropic initiative aimed at helping to restore southeast Michigan to a position of leadership in the new global economy. The New Economy Initiative is committed to increasing prosperity and expanding opportunity for all residents and communities in the region. Ten national and local foundations have committed $100 million to this eight-year initiative to accelerate the transition of metro Detroit to an innovation-based economy.