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Michigan Talent Shortage Reaches Unprecedented Levels

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As the Michigan economy continues its upturn from the 2008 recession, the talent shortage across the state is reaching unprecedented levels. Specifically, the state is experiencing a shortage of college-educated and/or trade skill talent.

According to the Detroit Free Press, there are a few apparent reasons for this shortage. Baby boomers are retiring in “ever increasing numbers.” Meanwhile, industries such as construction, nursing, social work, truck driving, and engineering are seeing fewer applicants than preferred. This is partly due to a lack of skilled trade training in schools.

Because of such a construction shortage in particular, experts worry that building infrastructure such as housing and roads will slow and reach a higher cost to complete, an effect that could have a negative impact on a still-fragile economy.

According to the Detroit Free Press, of the top 50 occupational openings in Michigan in coming years, 64% will require candidates to have a bachelor's degree or higher. Only slightly more than 25% of the state's population currently fits that requirement. In areas with a higher education gap, such as Detroit, the numbers are lower, around 13%.

Many organizations are taking a preemptive approach to this impending issue. Rather than searching for experienced, out-of-reach candidates, companies such as Quicken Loans are offering internships to college students. Such methods are hoped to create loyal employees following graduation. As for Detroit in particular, there is good news: 99% of Southeast Michigan tech executives forecast revenue growth in 2016, according to Crain’s Detroit. A quarter of tech executives predict that this growth will be greater than 15%.

Crain's notes that tech executives in Detroit may have better opportunities in networking and return on investment than even those in Silicon Valley.

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