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Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto Releases Survey Reflecting Perceptions on Careers in Auto Industry

Results show need for increased awareness among youth and influencers

Mackinac Island, May 28, 2014 –Today, at the Mackinac Policy Conference, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto program released the results of a survey on perceptions of automotive careers, following a private roundtable with industry stakeholders moderated by Fortune magazine’s Nina Easton. The results of the survey indicate a high percentage of youth and influencers do not view the automotive industry as an attractive career option, highlighting the need for increased awareness in efforts to bolster the talent pipeline.

“Talent retention, attraction and development is critical to Michigan maintaining its position as the global leader of the automotive industry,” said Glenn Stevens, Vice President of MICHauto and Strategic Development. “Too few youth and the people who influence their career choices have a clear understanding of the exciting high-tech opportunities in the 21st century automotive industry. It’s no secret that misconceptions about the industry are hampering talent attraction efforts, but now we have data to help drive efforts to address this problem.”

Study participants were asked to respond to a series of questions intended to provide insight and data on the following issues:

  • Commonly held perceptions and assumptions regarding Michigan’s automotive industry that propel or hinder consideration for career opportunities;
  • Gaps in perceptions that exist between Michigan residents and those outside Michigan; and
  • The profile of influencers (parents, media, educators) who shape perceptions and expectations of Michigan’s automotive industry.

“This survey provides insight about what needs to get done for Michigan to capitalize on the opportunities in one of the world’s most dynamic industries,” said Nigel Francis, senior advisor to the Governor, automotive, with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) who participated in the automotive roundtable. “The state of Michigan’s automotive plan includes developing strategies for marketing and communication and talent attraction for the automotive industry. This survey information will help the MEDC better focus those efforts.

The MICHauto study, completed the week of May 19 by intellitrends of Clarkston, Michigan, gathered feedback from 900 respondents, consisting of youth (age 17-24) and adult influencers; with participants in both groups from inside and outside of Michigan. Influencers were defined as parents with kids age 12-17, adults in leadership roles of youth organizations, high school and college level educators, career counselors and academic advisors.

“This study makes it clear that the automotive community needs to increase awareness efforts and help dispel misconceptions about the industry,” Stevens said. “A critical finding in this survey is that those who influence our future workforce’s career decisions need more insight into the rewarding careers in automotive. This group extends well beyond education professionals, including parents and youth leaders.”

MICHauto is a strategic partner of the MEDC and has a memorandum of understanding to partner to advance the entire automotive industry and supply chain. The state’s automotive strategic plan calls for retaining and growing our automotive industry and is in line with the core mission and pillars of MICHauto. This includes developing a marketing and communications plan for the industry and developing and attracting talent.

One of the key pillars of MICHauto is raising awareness of the industry’s impact. Examples include the “Michigan is Auto” report, which profiles the assets that make Michigan the epicenter of the global automotive industry. As part of its talent pillar, MICHauto created the Discover Auto series, visiting universities across the state to promote the industry as high tech, global and growing.

As an integral part of the 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference, the Detroit Regional Chamber and MICHauto convened a private closed-door session of automotive industry, academia, economic development and business leaders to review the study and discuss actions to address the industry perceptions and work together to market the industry and Michigan. The session and survey was made possible through support from KPMG and Warner Norcross & Judd.

About MICHauto

MICHauto is dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive industry in Michigan and is a key economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber. MICHauto embodies a public-private strategy, championing Michigan as the global epicenter of the automotive industry and providing a platform for collaboration on advocacy, business attraction and retention, and talent attraction and development. Serving as the unified voice of Michigan’s automotive cluster, MICHauto works closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Original Equipment Suppliers Association, Center for Automotive Research and other Michigan and national organizations. To learn more visit MICHauto.org.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber

Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

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