All Those Auto Engineers Who Lost Their Jobs in Recession? Back at Work Now.
How tough is it to find qualified powertrain engineers?
Pretty darn difficult according to Felicia Fields, Ford group vice president for human resources and corporate services, who is looking to social media to help fill hundreds of technical jobs the automaker has open, including 60 powertrain engineering positions.
“Ford has a high degree of recruiting success in many areas, but in the U.S. we do see a talent shortage when it comes to specific skill sets,” Fields said.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs also left unfilled by the thousands at area corporations and small companies down the street.
It’s a problem plaguing Detroit, Marquette, Traverse City, Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo and towns in between.
“Michigan has a real talent gap, especially in the skilled trades,” said Stephanie Comai, director of the newly created Michigan Talent Investment Agency.
“Employers are desperate to find qualified talent to fill their vacancies,” Comai added. “Our mission is to make people aware that the skilled trades offer a great career path if that’s their choice, and to create opportunities for skilled trades training that helps employers fill their in-demand jobs. “
The agency is one of three comprising the newly created Department of Talent and Economic Development, with the others being the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Gov. Rick Snyder recently created the new agency to more effectively address changing workplace and talent needs.
Getting back to Ford’s dilemma of finding engineers with the right stuff.
“Powertrain engineers with electrification skills, software developers with engineering and manufacturing expertise, and automated driving engineers, are examples of talent that we are seeking,” Fields said.
To bridge the gap, Ford is stepping up its efforts and supporting STEM initiatives in a more holistic way.
“We are also using social media to communicate the reasons Ford is an exciting place to work,” she said.