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Area employers have a high demand for talent; there are more than 200 jobs currently listed on SPARK’s Talent Portal. Do you have the training & expertise it takes to land one of these jobs? Washtenaw Community College can help you learn the skills necessary for many of the region’s most in-demand careers.

In her conversation with Donna Doleman, SPARK’s VP of marketing, communications, and talent, Dr. Bellanca discusses the resources available to those who are seeking employment in growing industries.


Donna: WCC and SPARK currently partner together on Shifting Code, the workforce retraining program that was developed earlier this year to address employer’s current IT demands.  How do you feel this program has benefitted the region so far?

Rose: First of all, let me say how happy we are to have partnered with Ann Arbor SPARK. I think that Shifting Code has enabled both the employers and perspective employees to reach their goals. For employers, Shifting Code not only allowed them to identify the skill sets they were looking for, but also Shifting Code had a prescreening process where they screened the perspective students and they selected the students that they thought fit the parameters that the employers identified. That’s the perfect match. You have the employer that has a need, and we are helping them fill that need. The students that are participants in Shifting Code are amazing. They were people who had a degree in another area, or people who wanted to change their job skills, work in another career path, or they were people who didn’t have a degree in anything. They just had the aptitude for IT work. Seeing the students from the beginning and then coming to their ending ceremony, and hearing how many of them had jobs and hearing from their employers, I thought it was great. I also think it was good that it helped us learn how to develop “just in time” education and learning for a specific skill set, and how to find the right type of instructor for that skill set.

Donna: That sounds great.  So, speaking of our young people, what advice would you give our young people, our pipeline of the future as they approach the job market?

Rose:  My advice would be to develop your skills and to be the best because the competition is tough. Even though there is a gap, the competition is tough.  What I have heard from employers over and over and over again is they are looking for someone who has the ability to work with someone else, someone who can collaborate, someone who can work in a team, someone that’s pleasing to work with, someone who has business etiquette, someone that can communicate. Those are essential skills. There’s a skills gap right there for most of the employers that we’ve spoken with. I would say that a young student, like in high school, should learn all they can in the area that interests them, but really try to get a job or try to work on a club, be involved with people, through your church or something so that you learn the skills necessary to work in a business environment.

For the full conversation, please follow this link.