A recently awarded grant will benefit a local manufacturing collaborative and is said to be an important step forward in increasing the talent pipeline in Livingston County.

Ann Arbor SPARK and the Economic Development Council of Livingston County was awarded a $63,000 grant from the State of Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity – Workforce Development. Ann Arbor SPARK and the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce recently completed training in a statewide academy on a new tool called Talent Pipeline Management, which was created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Thus, the two organizations convened the Livingston County Manufacturers Collaborative. It’s an employer-led group dedicated to working on talent needs, which the grant funds will support. The strategies of TPM are applied for employers to put together solutions based on supply chain techniques into their talent pipeline. Marcia Gebarowski is the Director of Business Development for Livingston County. She says the grant assistance is for employer-led collaboratives throughout the state, in which employers are trying to solve critical talent needs they’re facing – adding the state is continuing to evolve ways to support industry-led collaboratives and locally-led ways for employers to be a part of the talent pipeline solution.

Gebarowski says the local group convened focuses on manufacturing and there are currently eight employers involved - with Work Skills in Brighton being the leading entity of the group. She says the goal is to help local employers address critical needs on critical positions that are local to them and then really coming together to create a bigger stronger voice on the needs of the industry they represent. Gebarowski says the critical position identified by participating employers is maintenance technicians and if they can’t find enough, then their operations could be jeopardized. She tells WHMI the grant will help support the work that has been started locally and be used in various facets to support the collaborative. Specifically, she says the grant will help provide focused staff time for the collaborative and a part-time hire to really support the ongoing collection of data and organization of meetings as well as next steps through the TPM process that employers are currently working through. Then when it comes time, the grant could also provide funding for potential training opportunities based on data collected and what is missing in the county.

Gebarowski says local employers have been really responsive and they really want to see the collaborative grow. She added the more people they have at the table addressing critical needs, the better outcome they’ll have working with other partners in pulling together pathways for careers and making sure they’re creating a very sustainable pipeline of talent for Livingston County area. (JM)