In-Demand Careers and the Career Opportunity Report

Posted in Blog on August 15, 2018

In-Demand Careers and the Career Opportunity Report
By Colleen Jones, economics student at University of Michigan and guest blogger
For those of us who call West Michigan home, we know that the welcoming communities, vibrant downtown areas, and spectacular coastline are what make it so special. Boasting all of these features, Ottawa and Allegan counties are home to quintessential West Michigan communities, but we are not home to the only ones.  
Much like locations along the West Michigan Lakeshore, comparative communities around the Midwest have similar characteristics including “high percentage of manufacturing, close to a body of water or tourism, and a Midwest feel”. As the Midwest experiences job growth in engineering, machinery, and welding, it is necessary to attract the right kinds of talent to fill these jobs and grow the local economy. Our region’s current challenge is figuring out how to attract talent while vying with comparative communities in the region.
It is important to first understand what the job market in West Michigan looks like to identify the best way to showcase our region as a great place to work and live. The Career Opportunity Report shows a trend towards job creation and a need for skilled workers in West Michigan. The report projects that more than half a million jobs will be created in West Michigan between 2014 and 2024 within the following sectors alone:
  • Construction and Energy
  • Health Sciences
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional and Administrative Services
These jobs will appeal to a broad range of potential workers, with the majority requiring some sort of skills training or a certificate in place of a 4-year college degree. This is great news because it means that we need different types of talent from all over. Not only should companies focus on recruiting college educated individuals who may specialize in Health Sciences or Construction, but they also need workers who are able to obtain the proper training. The Marshall Plan, unveiled earlier this year, is already working to show high schoolers that they can pursue trade work or skilled labor as viable career paths.
Additionally, Michigan Smart Coast, Holland/Zeeland Young Professionals, ReThink West Michigan, and Hello West Michigan are organizations working to attract talent to the area by creating a supportive and welcoming atmosphere geared toward young professionals. West Michigan leaders are looking to high school students to develop a talent pipeline for the region. It is reassuring to know that there are enough jobs being created in this area to support local residents and newcomers alike.

Sources cited: Lakeshore Advantage Comparative Communities research, Career Opportunity Report, prepared by Lakeshore Advantage in collaboration with Michigan Smart Coast, Talent 2025 and West Michigan Works!
Colleen Jones is a sophomore studying economics in the Honors Program at the University of Michigan. For as long as she can remember, she has been passionate about social justice and understanding human interactions. Throughout college, Colleen has been able to learn more about what motivates decision-making and how an individual’s decisions can have global repercussions. Studying economics provides her with a logical explanation for human rational on both a micro and macro scale while simultaneously exploring decisions that defy logic. Colleen is pursuing a career that combines economics and law, so that she can one day support the development of local communities, economies, and the people that compose them.