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Innovative Community Partnerships Key to Retaining Region’s Talent

This week, Detroit Regional Chamber President Sandy Baruah joined Lisa Katz, executive director of the Workforce Intelligence Network of Southeast Michigan, on a panel to address the short and long-term opportunities to fill the talent pipeline and close the skills gap in Southeast Michigan as part of the 2016 National College Access Network (NCAN) Conference in downtown Detroit. The Conference featured over 1,500 education professionals from across the United States.

“Our talent gap and employment challenge is no different than in other places,” Baruah said while crediting educational and business leaders for working collaboratively to address the issue.

“Just months ago we had an unemployment rate higher than the national average but now we are just below the average,” Baruah added.

Pointing to the success of initiatives like Mayor Mike Duggan’s summer employment program, Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, Katz touted partnerships underway by the business, community and philanthropic sectors to provide essential career pathways for teens and young adults.

“This was no effort spearheaded by Sandy or I, but we are real advocates and supporters of its mission and impact,” said Katz. “We wanted to make sure our city’s youth are able to get that hands-on experience to help them be successful in the long run.”

The panel was moderated by Pat Roe, vice president of philanthropy for USA Funds.