There’s no question: Information technology workers are in high demand as businesses throughout the United States struggle to find the right talent for their specific needs. Companies in Southeast Michigan are no exception to this disconnect between worker skills and employer requirements. But a recently launched program is now addressing the shortage of IT talent in the region. “IT in the D” is a partnership of Detroit-area IT companies and colleges committed to providing education and work experience for IT students and professionals as they advance their technology knowledge and careers.
The program, supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, “is designed to transition students from the classroom to the workplace through real-world IT projects, mentorships and training,” says
Linglong He, chief information officer of Quicken Loans, an IT in the D partner company.
In addition to Quicken Loans, leading technology companies Compuware Ventures, GalaxE.Solutions, Fathead and Marketing Associates recently partnered with Wayne State University, Wayne County Community College District and Washtenaw Community College for a two-month pilot program aimed at giving students real-world experience helping them advance their IT careers.
The pilot program, which ran from June 19 through August 23, was successful according to He, who says some of the 25 graduating students will be offered job opportunities with Quicken Loans as well as some of the other partnering tech companies.
Dr. James Robinson, Wayne County Community College District provost for workforce development and grant administration, believes this collaborative effort between business and education is beneficial for students and companies. “IT in the D gives students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned to real projects and to become familiar with the various business cultures.” Most important, he says, is that students “have an opportunity to interact with potential employers and demonstrate their soft skills and technical skills.”
The program continues this fall, with students, selected by partner schools, teaming up with trainers and mentors from various companies, where they work twice a week in two-hour “classes.” Students learn in a working environment using such technologies as .Net, Java, SQL Server, MY SQL and PHP.
IT in the D joins other programs aimed at filling the IT talent gaps in the region and the state.
Automation Alley recently launched its Technical Talent Development Program, which will make high-level IT training available to local alliance companies.
Michigan Shifting Code is a career-transition resource geared toward IT professionals who want to enhance their skills as well as employees seeking to develop the skills and training to transition into IT careers.
According to Quicken Loans’ He, these types of programs are critically important to the region. “So many businesses have openings, and we know there are many students looking for jobs. We want to match them with companies here — we want to keep the talent in Detroit and in Michigan. It’s also good for the companies to work together as a team to help the community. It’s a good cause.”