Employers that develop their own talent solutions not only nurture the highly skilled and specialized talent to help them compete, they play a key role in increasing postsecondary attainment to 60% and cutting the racial equity educational attainment gap in half by 2030. Many employers are already stepping up in support of Chamber initiatives such as Detroit Drives Degrees and the Detroit Regional Talent Compact.
Accenture: Identifying ‘Untapped Talent’ and the Earn and Learn Model
Since launching its apprenticeship program in 2016, Accenture has brought on more than 2,000 apprentices in 40 cities across North America. In fact, in 2022, it reached its goal of hiring 20% of its entry-level positions in North America directly from its own apprenticeships.
Accenture’s apprenticeship program is an “earn and learn” model that provides apprentices with market competitive wages and benefits, and a pathway to an ongoing career with the company. The apprenticeships typically last 12 months and include formal learning, on-the-job training and coaching to help apprentices build their skills and advance their careers.
The program takes into account candidates’ different backgrounds and life experiences and is racially and ethnically diverse, with nearly half being women.
The apprenticeships are prime avenues to bring in talented individuals who may not have a four-year degree. Apprentices at Accenture work across a variety of areas within Accenture and fill many indemand roles in cybersecurity, digital, data analytics and cloud migration.
Butzel: Creating a Culture of Learning, Career Advancement
As the competition for top tier talent wages on, longtime Detroit law firm Butzel Long focuses on building a culture of learning designed to help its lawyers stay at the forefront of their field while giving ambitious employees a way to advance up the company ranks.
“We’ve had people start here as legal assistants and work their way up to paralegal, work their way up to lawyer by going to school while they’re working for us,” said Paul Mersino, a shareholder and member of board of directors at Butzel.
Butzel’s initiatives include student debt reimbursement, flex scheduling that allow for night classes, monthly professional development lunch and learns, and a fulltime onsite trainer that guides employees seeking additional certifications and professional development.
“People are growing as attorneys, as people, as citizens in our community, and it’s all intertwined,” he added.
Ajax Paving: Building Talent to Build the Roads
For Ajax Paving Industries, the largest asphalt and concrete paving public contractor in Southeast Michigan, internships and multi-year apprenticeships are critical to fielding the laborers, operating engineers, and cement masons it needs to build highways.
Ajax’s internship program partners with local high schools to connect with students taking skilled construction or trade-based classes offering them paid positions during peak construction season between May and August. It allows students to rotate between divisions as they are transitioning out of high school to college or directly into a career.
Ajax also provides paths four- or five-year apprenticeships that help employees earn critical industry-specific certifications such as their CDL or lab tech or heavy equipment credentials, allowing them to advance their career while working.
Emagine: Promoting Academic Performance
Across its 11 Southeast Michigan locations, Emagine Entertainment employs about a 1,000 people, most of whom are students in high school or early years of college, giving it the opportunity to play a key role in helping younger students pursue postsecondary credentials.
The company is rolling out its “Emagine Pays for Good Grades” program, which rewards employees who maintain a 3.25 GPA with an annual bonus for their academic performance. Emagine developed the program as part of its participation in the Chamber’s Detroit Regional Talent Compact.
“This is a good incentivizing method to get people into the whole idea of learning and furthering their education and their careers,” said Shelby Langenstein, CPO of Emagine, who noted the company’s broader initiatives to promote a culture of learning also include tuition reimbursement and internships.