Crain’s Detroit Business

IT’s ID: In demand

Lisa Katz, Workforce Intelligence Network: In the last year, Southeast Michigan had more than 300,000 new job postings from employers looking for talent. We saw information technology demand grow in the last five years by 55 percent, which is a rate higher than Silicon Valley. For software developers, it was 114 percent. Mechanical engineers are the number-one in-demand occupation in our region. Those are great opportunities for young technical talent that want to know that if one job doesn’t work out, there’s another one that’s just a block away.

I talk with a lot of IT companies, and one of them was saying to me, you go down to Campus Martius, there are all these people having conversations and probably 30 percent of them are recruiters. They’re sitting out there at lunchtime, trying to get the different technology people walking by because they’re looking for this talent.

It’s a great environment. Think about being that in demand, and that opportunity is right here in our backyard, and since when have we been able to talk about that?


On diversity

Lou Glazer, Michigan Future: I’d say a common characteristic of places that have high talent concentrations is that they are more welcoming. The welcoming stuff matters enormously. If you’re anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-people of different races, talent’s not coming, period. That stuff matters enormously.

Ken Harris, Michigan Black Chamber: We can’t be afraid to say here in the state of Michigan that we want to remain competitive with the rest of the country and our focus should be on talent acquisition, recruit, retention, but they should not be provided for just one group or race or creed or color, etc. I truly believe this is the foundational bed for opportunity to occur in Michigan.

Linzie Venegas

On business and community

Linzie Venegas, Ideal Group: We have 250 employees, and we’ve really gotten our whole company and our employees really engaged in the community, and we’ve done just a variety of different things. Not only do we do stuff with Cristo Rey, but we have a nonprofit called Detroit Hispanic Development Corp. We have a “clubhouse” and we have a bus that goes to all the high schools in southwest Detroit to take them there.

It’s like a safe haven. We have a recording studio, we have a gym, we have a TV, we have tutors. And what this does is it helps protect kids who don’t want to be in gang-related activities because that is a very big obstacle for these kids after school that kids in the suburbs don’t have to deal with.

We believe that if you take care of your community, your community will take care of your business.

Giulio Desando, Tata Technologies: We have a program in India that we use to train our internal people on some technical and design tools, but what we’ve done is go to the universities and offered them free access to the tools and software. We’ve also brought in our own engineers to help mentor them, and then when they graduate, we’ve been able to hire them. That’s something that we’re looking to model here.

The Tata model itself talks about taking care of your community, and we’re trying to build those models to do that.

There are studies that show that companies that have survived the longest are companies that have taken care of their community, so their community takes care of them.


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