For September 2021, Jeffrey Mosher speaks with Carrie Rosingana, CEO, CAMW! Lansing, serving Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties of Mid-Michigan, about preparing youth for the workforce, and #WhyApply Day
To hear Carrie and Jeffrey discuss this topic, click play on the SoundCloud podcast below!
ANSWER: Our region has a uniquely large number of youth and young adults in our workforce system, thanks to Michigan State University, Lansing Community College, and the University Center. Not to mention the secondary students from the dozens of high schools in Ingham, Clinton, and Eaton counties who are a part of the workforce with their after-school and summer jobs. With that significant portion of our community in mind, as we evaluate the knowledge, experience, and preparedness of our region’s workforce, we need to consider ways to encourage talent and interest in various fields, so our workforce is prepared for the future. Investing in our youth now and encouraging them in their career exploration and talent development will help us create a stronger workforce in the future.
QUESTION: Why is it important for businesses to encourage young people to attend post-secondary education?
ANSWER: As Michiganders lost their jobs during the pandemic, employers in high-demand industries — such as agribusiness, health care, IT, and manufacturing — have struggled to find talent. Part of this disconnect is caused by the need for skilled workers in our state’s workforce. In Michigan, we have a mismatch in college enrollment, workers with college degrees, and jobs that can support an individual or family. Our post-secondary education attainment levels — 49.1% in Michigan, according to the Lumina Foundation — haven’t kept up with the steep rise in demand for highly skilled workers. This means that individuals seeking work may not have the skills needed to meet employers’ needs. To ensure a stable income and benefits, individuals need some kind of postsecondary education. This education could be an apprenticeship, skilled trade, community college, or a traditional four-year university. I know education — and the time and monetary commitment that comes with it — can feel insurmountable for those who need it the most. Employers can help by providing apprenticeships and internships to youth; opportunities for their current employees to further their education, like through the Going PRO Talent Fund; and events like #WhyApply Day.
QUESTION: What is #WhyApply Day?
ANSWER: #WhyApply Day is sponsored by the American College Application Campaign, an initiative of ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, which partners with thousands of high schools across the country each fall to host events supporting students through the college application process, especially first-generation college students and those from low-income families who may not otherwise apply to college. #WhyApply Day kicks off the application season and encourages the students. On Friday, September 17, 2021, ACAC encourages everyone to wear their college gear, like t-shirts, hats, and pins, and share why you believe students should apply to college or why you applied to college on social media platforms using the hashtag #WhyApply. I, along with the rest of our Capital Area Michigan Works! Team, encourage our local business community to participate in #WhyApply Day as a way to invest in the young people of our region. Share about your career paths to show youth different ways to achieve success and the importance of postsecondary education. Plus, you can use it as a way to plug any internships or educational opportunities your organization may have for young people.