Source: Crain’s Detroit Business
Author: Sherri Welch

The Workforce Intelligence Network — a coalition of eight local community colleges, seven MichiganWorks agencies and economic development agencies working with local employers to identify and respond to employment needs — officially launched today.

Heading the new coalition is Executive Director Lisa Katz, who had been director of strategic partnerships and development for the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce and director of government relations at the Detroit Regional Chamber.

The New Economy Initiative provided a $1.5 million grant to launch the collaborative’s work, as reported by Crain’s in August. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is providing technical expertise and resources.

WIN’s educational members are Macomb Community College, Monroe County Community College, Mott Community College, Oakland Community College, Schoolcraft College, St. Clair Community College, Washtenaw Community College and Wayne County Community College District.

Its workforce board members are Career Alliance; Detroit Workforce Development Department;Southeast Michigan Community Alliance; Washtenaw County Employment, Training and Community Services; and Michigan Works agencies serving Livingston, Macomb, St. Clair and Oakland counties.

As reported by Crain’s in early November, WIN already has been meeting with employers and has identified employee shortages in areas of information technology and in mechatronics, which combines electrical and mechanical skills at both the engineering and mechanical or skilled-trade levels and is coming into play at advanced manufacturing companies.

WIN’s community college members are looking at how they can help bridge skill gaps, and some are applying for federal IT training grants to bring down the cost of retraining for professionals.

The workforce development agencies are positioned to communicate employer needs with people searching for employment.