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Business, Education Leaders Discuss Corporate, Educational Partnerships

The importance of staying ahead of the curve and closing the talent gap led an afternoon panel discussion today that culminated in the realization that parents and mentors need to change the perception of STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and math) professions for the younger generation.

Panelists including Jim Jacobs, president, Macomb Community College; William Parfet, chairman, CEO and president, MPI Research; Vivian Pickard, president, General Motors Foundation and director, corporate relations, General Motors Company; and Joseph Welch, chairman, president and CEO, ITC Holdings Corp. and chairman, 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference; will join moderator Lou Anna K. Simon, president, Michigan State University.

Striking a balance between corporations and education was key to this discussion as representatives from both sides agreed on the need to understand the needs of the other. The general consensus was that though there needs to be a concerted, long-term effort to correct the skills gap, corporations and educational facilities need to be addressing these challenges in real time and providing direct experience and relevant training to the incoming workforce.

This session was sponsored by Crain’s Detroit Business, General Motors and Michigan’s University Research Corridor.