5285 W. US 223, Adrian, MI 49221




Our Biggest Problem & Greatest Opportunity

People retire from jobs everyday. For most companies, this doesn’t cause any major problems the typical hiring process can’t cure. But what do you do when many people - like the baby boomer generation - retire all at once when your unemployment rate is low?

On the other end of the employment spectrum are high school students graduating and preparing for the next stage in their life. Are they fully educated about the variety of opportunities that are available to them, particularly those in the skilled trades?

This is where the biggest problem becomes a great opportunity.

The Lenawee Experience

In 2014, the economic development executives at Lenawee Now noticed a trend among local manufacturers. With increasing frequency, employers were struggling to find and retain skilled employees. This, in combination with the impending mass retirement of the baby boomer generation, indicated a growing talent gap.

As an organization with strong ties to both employers and educators in the county, Lenawee Now called a meeting of leaders from both sides to discuss the issue and gather support toward working on a solution. Over 50 representatives from top management participated in the discussion and concluded that it was time to fix the problem together. They also singled out a major goal: to inspire middle and high school students to explore manufacturing and other professional trades.

Building a Sustainable Talent Pool

While the impact on the workforce is not easily measurable for some amount of time, there are plenty of high-impact outcomes that can be identified:

  • Local school districts and companies are engaged in continued collaboration
  • A dedicated staff member at the intermediate school district facilitates the use of MI Bright Futures
  • Local businesses are utilizing the MI Bright Futures platform to interact with students and promote their organizations
  • County-wide manufacturing day was successfully launched and will be expanded in 2018
  • A major donation from Nexus/DTE will allow continued marketing of the skilled trades to Lenawee County students
  • Small businesses were trained on communicating with potential employees

If you'd like to learn more or get involved, visit the Align website or call Lenawee Now today.