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Ann Arbor SPARK and the Washtenaw Community College Workforce Development department have joined forces to identify and address the training needs of area businesses in new and innovative ways.

Representatives from SPARK, WCC, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will visit 100 companies this year. This is the first time the three organizations have partnered in such a direct and collaborative way.  The goal of the collaboration is to retain businesses in the region by raising their awareness of employee development resources available locally.

“This marks the transition into a more collaborative approach between SPARK, MEDC, and WCC,” said Paul Krutko, Ann Arbor SPARK president and CEO. “This synergy will enhance the skilled workforce in our region and provides a development resource for growing businesses.”

“The College is in an excellent position to develop and adapt programs to fit the specific needs of our business colleagues,” said Dr. Rose B. Bellanca, president of Washtenaw Community College. “I believe this is a great opportunity for all of us.”

Amy Cell is senior vice president of Talent Enhancement at Michigan Economic Development Corp. She adds, “We are working overtime to close a critical skills gap preventing us from filling thousands of Michigan job openings.  We must create a deep talent pool in order to keep businesses growing here and to attract new ones. This new effort will definitely lend to our efforts.”

Ann Arbor SPARK and WCC also will share a part-time client relations specialist who will be responsible for coordinating schedules and setting up company visits.