Two new publications released by Oakland County once again underscore the County's commitment to workforce development and building a strong talent pipeline for generations to come.
"Oakland County is committed to making sure we have a qualified and educated workforce," says Jennifer Llewellyn, Manager of Workforce Development for the Oakland County Economic Development & Community Affairs office. "We foster development and business growth so that Oakland County is a place people want to live, stay, work, and play."
The first is a published study, Skill Needs Assessment Project (SNAP) on Connected Mobility
. This is the fourth Skill Needs Assessment that Oakland County has commissioned, with previous reports focused on manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, and health systems. Each report surveys regional employers on their workforce needs in these respective fields and takes inventory of the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities that a person needs in order to be successful in these careers. The SNAP reports also incorporate real time labor market data along with this workforce information from businesses.
This SNAP report is the first of its kind in the nation, focused entirely on the fast-emerging and rapidly evolving connected mobility industry. This study surveyed 50 different regional employers in three areas: information technology, telecommunications, and infrastructure (such as roads and traffic lights). These are all the pieces that need to come together in order to have connected autonomous vehicles.
In this report, the profiles of nine distinctly different occupations were identified as being the most in-demand, and it outlines the knowledge, skills, and abilities critical to those occupations, as well as the regional availability of such jobs, the most desired education level for them, and salaries to expect. One such occupation, which they have deemed "Connected Systems Engineer," is not even a job that currently exists. The position is a hybrid of an electrical systems and software engineer that didn't even have a name prior to this report.
"With connected mobility it's happening so fast and the technology is developing at such a fast pace that education providers don't even have the curriculum developed yet, they don't have certificate programs or degree programs yet," Llewellyn says. "We're really asking education providers to use this data to develop certificate programs or modify existing degree programs. We're taking it back to four-year universities and asking, 'Is this something that can be created?' We're really hoping they can start shaping this education to prepare the workforce of tomorrow."
Another publication just released by Oakland County Workforce Development is a guide to apprenticeships
in Oakland County and Southeastern Michigan. These guides have been published for the last 10 years and were Oakland County Commissioner L. Brooks Patterson's brainchild – he wanted people to know that there are good jobs available even for people without a college degree.
The 2017 guide is a big change from previous year's guides, Llewellyn says, because it features 60 apprenticeships – more than they have ever featured before.
"The goal of this is to educate young people and their parents on what opportunities are available through apprenticeships, and that it's not just with skilled trades or unions. We're hoping to bust those myths," she explains. "This guide gives readers [an explanation of each job] and describes the wage projection, anticipated job openings, and career education programs. We've added 19 new occupations this year, several in information technology. A lot of work went into diversifying it from not just skilled trades but in information technology as well."
This guide is being distributed for free to public schools, tech campuses, parents of school-aged children, high school counselors, and "anyone influential in helping young people make decisions about their careers."
Llewellyn says, "Both of these guides are to make sure we have a diverse, qualified, and educated talent pipeline for our businesses."
Both guides are free and are available online here