The Secret to Our Success – Developing and Acquiring Talent

In his book America Needs Talent, Jamie Merisotis defines talent as a skill which is the ability to use knowledge to learn more or to solve problems. It is not born or bought, but is made. Jim Compton noted in his book The Coming Jobs War that intellectual talent was the one renewable resource that when increased in a country could build an empire, but when it is not fostered it could topple governments and societies. Developing domestic talent and acquiring global talent will be the key to the prosperity of our society.

A recent study by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce found that there will be 55 million jobs created in the next decade. Over 70 percent (40 million) of these jobs will require a college level certificate or degree. The challenge is that less than 40 percent of Americans have earned at least an associate’s degree while another 5 percent have earned some type of professional certificate. Intellectual talent attracts business and America is in short supply of this valuable resource.

Currently our education system is largely based on seat time.States define the number of hours each student must be in school each year from kindergarten through high school graduation. In college, you must earn a specific number of credits to achieve an associate degree and masters degree. Yes, you must pass course requirements but often these requirements center around the regurgitation of knowledge, not the demonstration of the application of this knowledge. Merisotis suggests creating a competency-based education system, designed for students to be awarded mastery of application of defined skills. Institutions would need to define the expected learning outcomes and the criteria that must be demonstrated by each student to show mastery of these skills.

The value of global talent to America can be found in the success of immigrants such as Jan Vilcek who came to the U.S. in the 1960’s from Czechoslovakia. After becoming a professor at New York University his research led to the development of the drug Remicade which helps treat patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases. He also uses a portion of his wealth to support other scientists migrating to the U.S.

Australia has developed an immigration system that matches the needs of industry with the talents of immigrants. This talent-based system gives preference to those that possess the unique skills the needed by their society. Though Australia has a population of only 23 million people, fewer than the population of Texas, immigrants have added $3.4 billion to their government budgets from taxes they pay. The U.S. has experienced similar prosperity from American companies founded by immigrants which include: Google, AT&T, Ebay, Kohl’s, Big Lot’s, Pfizer, and Kraft.

Since 1983 the demand for college educated workers has grown 3 percent annually, while the supply of these graduates increased at a 2 percent rate. Companies are looking for a workforce with a depth of specific content knowledge, critical thinking skills, creativity, and ability to embrace change. It is estimated that our economy is losing in excess of $500 billion a year in Gross Domestic Product due to this lack of talent. Our investment in the development and acquisition of talent domestically and globally offers a proven opportunity to improve the lives of us all.


Win Money for Your Internship/Co-op Poster

Subject: Win money for your Internship/Co-op poster

Win one of three $100 gift cards! If you’ve had a Co-op or Internship (experiential learning) in the past year, you can win cash prizes in an easy and fun way. All you have to do is put together a poster for this short, casual, and informal poster session, where you’ll tell 1st and 2nd year students about your experience, as part of our annual “1st and 2nd Year Meeting.  3 poster presenters will be chosen from a hat to win Campus Bookstore gift certificates for $100.

What: Internship/Co-op Poster Session following the 1st and 2nd Year Meeting

When: Wednesday, January 27, 8:00 – 8:45 pm

Where: Wadsworth Hall Annex (ground floor)

Your poster can provide details about the company/department and the work you did, including visuals of the company logo, locations, products, work environment, etc. Be sure to include any personal pictures you might have from your work place and/or any social outings you may have had.

Your casual, informal presentation can include descriptions about the company, your workplace, your specific work, what you learned (both technically and professionally), and any outside of the office activities. Be sure to talk about how you got your job.

If you’ll create it, we’ll print it for you. Please send your .pdf or .jpg by Jan 22. We’ll put it on a 32×40 foam core poster board and meet you at the event. Or, you can pick up a poster board at Career Services, 220 Administration Building. We’ll have an easel set up for you at the event.

If you’re interested, please RSVP to Julie Way at jaway@mtu.edu.

We really look forward to seeing and hearing about your great experience.

Thank you,

The Career Services Team


Spring 2016 CareerFEST Calendar

Spring Career Services Calendar Set

The schedule for the Spring CareerFEST has been set.  Complete event outlines are being created and will be available soon.

Date

Event

CareerFEST

12-Jan

Super Bowl Champion/World Series Champions

“Career Lessons Learned From Athletic Successes”

19-Jan

Medical Careers Week: Medical Informatics

20-Jan

Medical Careers Week: Medical Devices

20-Jan

“Graduating in April?”

21-Jan

Medical Careers Week: Medical Careers

22-Jan

Medical Careers Week: Allied Health / Medical Laboratory Sciences

27-Jan

1st & 2nd Year Meeting / Co-op Intern Poster Session

8-Feb to 12-Feb

Mock Interviews – Volunteers needed!

9-Feb to 11-Feb

Resume Blitz – Volunteers needed!

10-Feb

Career Fair Prep

11-Feb

Business & Dining Etiquette Dinner

12-Feb

Experiential Celebration Lunch

15-Feb

Career Fair Cookout – Winter Style!

Post CareerFEST

8-Apr to 9-Apr

Consumer Products Day

12-Apr to 13-Apr

Corporate Advisory Board (CAB) Meeting

 

Other Spring Events

These events are not organized by Career Services but are scheduled to coincide with the Career Fair.

Date

Event

13-Feb

Winter Baja – Near the SDC

13-Feb

ACM Hackathon

2-Apr

BonzAI Brawl – Programming Competition


Your Career “Comfort Zone”

wordleIt seems like every magazine, newspaper, or journal is discussing topics like: Big Data, Information Overload, and Consumer Choice.  The general theme relates to the exponentially increasing amount of information and choices available everywhere.

Every business or industry has its own “shorthand” language, terminology, and nuances. In academia, we sometimes get trapped in discussing “Learning Outcomes”.  In business, the focus is on the quarterly results, ROI and EBITDA.  In politics, the overnight poll results lead the evening news after every debate with qualifiers about response rate, accuracy, and confidence.

Recently, I attended an event at our Forestry Building where a variety of Forestry and Natural Resources companies had gathered to meet with students.  Just like any other networking event, companies and students were trying to get to know one another.  As I joined conversations, some portions of of the discussions were like a foreign language to me!  I was amazed by how many abbreviations, jargon, and “Three Letter Abbreviations” (TLA’s) we use to be efficient in our communications.  I am sure I’ve had conversations with my peers that were confusing to others throughout my career.

In January 2015, Michigan Tech had our first ever “Medical Careers Week” on campus.  This year, in January 2016, Career Services has again partnered with different departments across campus for another week designed to help students understand all of the different aspects of careers in Medicine, Allied Health, Informatics, and Biomedical Engineering.  These days are structured with both afternoon and evening components to allow students to fit these topics around their busy class schedules.

Many Michigan Tech students assume that their degree in Engineering will lead to a job in manufacturing or design.  However, as trained problem solvers, an Engineering degree can be an excellent starting point for a career in medicine.

As we continue to build a Career Culture on campus, the depth and breadth of these career explorations are great learning opportunities.  At a minimum, participants become aware of the complexities of something beyond their specific field of study.  Ideally, these events help everyone expand their career “comfort zone” to have a better understanding of the world we live in.


Recruiting Trends 2015-16 Conference

On October 20, 2015, I attended the “Recruiting Trends 2016” survey in Chicago.  This survey has grown and evolved over the years.  Dr. Phil Gardner (Michigan State University) has conducted the survey for many years and did an excellent job of explaining the data to everyone who attended.

Because I work in Career Services, I like to think none of this information was surprising to me!  However, there is always information in national data that is shocking when you broken down regionally.  Hiring in the Midwest is driven by manufacturing — specifically, the resurgence in the Automotive market.  Contrast that to areas hit hardest by low oil prices and you see the drastic disparity within a range of national averages.

Our Career Fair attendance has been at record levels for company attendance.  Michigan Tech students are highly demanded and sought after.  We hope these trends will last forever – but all things are cyclical.

This Fall, our focus was to help develop a “Career Culture” on campus.  The creation of hands-on, interactive, networking events with companies to help students feel comfortable in a job market.  Our partnership with corporate volunteers to review resumes, provide practice interviews, or just be available to listen to students created many individual connections.  The active promotion of our Learning Center to coach students through the process.

These events help students “find their fit” for the first stop on their career journey.  Whether the economy is strong or weak, an alumni that is passionate about what they do and has clear expectations about what they want to accomplish will always be a positive contributor to any company.

(The “Collegiate Employment Research Institute” (CERI) has consolidated this information into a series of short reports available on their website at: http://www.ceri.msu.edu/)


Passion + Purpose = An Engaged Workforce

Gallup conducted a workplace poll 2014 and found less than a third of employees were engaged in their jobs. Gallup defined an engaged employee as one who is enthusiastic about performing their job and committed to being successful at it.

Imperative inc. sought to identify those in the workforces that approached their job as a source of personal fulfillment and a way for them to help others. The Imperative survey found 28 percent of the workforce qualified as these purpose-oriented workers, and these individuals produced a highly positive impact on their organizations.

Purpose oriented workers in comparison to their peers are:

  • 50 percent more likely to be in leadership positions
  • 47 percent more likely to be promoted by their employers
  • Expected to stick with their jobs 20 percent longer
  • 64 percent more likely to have higher levels of fulfillment from their work

The value of purpose-oriented workers are they are self-motivated role models who see their work as making a difference in the world. They want to grow both personally and professionally to support this goal. These workers are often described as dynamic and curious, embracing changing dynamics in the workplace as an opportunity for improvement.

I have had the honor to work with purpose-oriented workers on Michigan Tech’s campus, which include: Mike Meyer, Ed Laitila, Glen Archer, and Susan Liebau, just to name a few. Mike heads up the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning. A successful high school teacher and Physics lab supervisor and instructor, he now leads a team whose mission is to work with faculty to develop transformational learning experiences in the classrooms and labs across campus. Ed brings his contagious passion for learning to each materials science lab he enters. Glen develops and executes lessons in electrical engineering that bring clarity and understanding to complex engineering concepts. Susan leads a team at the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success that helps students discover their talents and interests, in the midst of personal and academic challenges. Each of these purpose-oriented workers also share another trait, modesty and gratitude for the support of their teams and peers.

The Imperative study found the workforce of each industry contains at least 16 percent purpose-oriented workers. These workers tend to be educated beyond high school and increase in numbers with age. Researchers have also found that these unique workers had parents that spoke favorably about their careers.

The millennial generation is filling the workforce. Known for being confident, self-expressive, liberal, open to change and upbeat, they also have the nickname of Generation Me! As the begin having children of their own, a recent study found their top priorities are: being a good parent and having a successful marriage. This is an opportunity for them to develop themselves as purpose-oriented workers through their actions as a parent. Generation Z is the next to enter college and the workforce. Known for being conscientious, hard-working and concerned about the future, this digital generation has the foundation to become the first purpose-oriented generation.

Corporate America and American society at large will benefit from developing more purpose-oriented workers. The cited role models illustrate that passion and purpose can help students build their careers around the three sources of fulfillment: developing meaningful relationships, impacting the lives of others, and personal and professional growth. The opportunity lies in the other 72 percent!



College to Career: adapting career services for students on the spectrum

This Fall, Career Services, in collaboration with Student Disability Services, launched a new pilot program, College to Career, which provides specialized career development programming to students with unique needs. Those needs are students on the spectrum who may need specialized instruction in their career development.

Now half-way into the semester, this program is already making great strides, with plans to continue into the spring, and then provide an even more extensive program starting Fall 2016. The agenda for this past fall’s career fair season has been similar to what all students have been focusing on (personal introductions, resumes, career fair prep, and interviews), but each with a twist. After just four weeks together, the College to Career group attended the career fair, handed out their resumes and introduced themselves to the company representatives. For students who may have difficulty with social situations, the Michigan Tech Career Fair can be one of the most challenging situations ever encountered, but they did it. And we could not be prouder.

When we plan for this group, there are no assumptions about what a student should know or should do, rather each topic is approached and presented with a keen sense of the individual needs that are represented in the group. To be on the spectrum may mean there is a need for a different focus, but the needs represented even in a small group can be vastly different. Some students need the opportunity to talk through all of their thinking while others remain silent. There are students who require additional coaching in their mannerisms and gestures while for others it is something they just instinctively know to do. All of this has caused us to rethink our plans, every week. You cannot generalize the teaching methods for this type of group., because what is natural for one may be very unnatural for another.

As we navigate with our group and work to strengthen this new program, we pride ourselves on our awareness, and it is only through this awareness and the goal to learn more about our students that we can offer career preparation that accounts for all students’ needs. Career prep is not a one size fits all, and we are thrilled to be able to offer other sizes.

Want to learn more?
Contacts:  JR Repp jrrepp@mtu.edu or Kirsti Arko karko@mtu.edu


Information Sessions – Know your audience!

What is important to you at age 3 is different than what is important to you at age 30.  Similarly, when students are 20 years old, their priority is to get that first paycheck.  Up until graduation, their largest decision was which college to attend.  Now, after studying for countless hours, they are transitioning from being a student to joining the “real world” that they have longed for since becoming a teen.

I remember my first paycheck after I graduated.  I couldn’t wait to get that check.  In fact, I bought a stereo that was bigger than my car and just financed it because I knew I would have cash in my checkbook soon enough.  (I should have read the details on the financing arrangements, but that is a different story!)

In many Informational Sessions, companies talk about their rank in the Fortune 500, their medical benefits, the matching percentage of the 401(k) program, etc.  These are all important pieces of information.  They are crucial to an employee who has a mortgage, car payments, a wedding to pay for, and family medical deductibles.  But, we are getting ahead of ourselves.

However, at age 20 or 21 – students are more interested in the projects they will be working on.  They can’t quite imagine retirement because they haven’t even started a job yet!  In your information session, don’t forget to focus on what is front-and-center in the kid’s minds “What will I be doing every day?”

As I listen in to different Informational Sessions and talk to students afterwards, they want to know what they are going to “do”.  Michigan Tech students have a reputation for being practical, hands-on, get-it-done employees.  Help them visualize what that looks like by sharing descriptions of projects that your interns are doing, projects the full time employees are working on.  Share projects that were success and failures.  Put all of this in context so students can understand what it is like to work for your company.  You will find that they are much more engaged and find it easier to ask questions.