Manufacturing is in Michigan’s DNA. Home to nearly 14,000 manufacturing establishments, 61 top automotive suppliers, and more engineers per capita than any other state, Michigan is a leader in making things and making things work.

Talent is key when it comes to manufacturing industry growth, however the industry faces perception issues when it comes to attracting the next generation of talent. 

Advanced manufacturing deserves a second look – the industry today is full of clean spaces, high tech equipment, and workers who are driving innovation while earning a competitive salary. Chuck Hadden, president and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) provides perspective on some manufacturing misconceptions and what the state and the MMA are doing to combat them.

Manufacturing facilities often have a bad reputation of being dark and dirty, but the state’s standards for cleanliness and safety are unmatched. Michigan manufacturing companies pay their employees far above the national average and they utilize (and build) the world’s most advanced equipment.

Michigan is the industrial heartland a wide range of industries from automotive and aviation to defense and energy.

That’s why the MEDC and Michigan Manufacturers Association host events such as The Manufacturing Talent Summit. We want to dispel common misperceptions about the industry and address its need for a skilled workforce.

Watch the video below to learn about how the innovative changes in advanced manufacturing has opened the door to exciting and creative new careers in the manufacturing industry in the state.

The Talent Summit brings together nearly 200 manufacturers, education partners and government officials as they tackle a top-priority issue — Michigan’s lack of skilled talent for manufacturing.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at the Kellogg Center, 219 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing.

Register online today or contact MMA’s Sarah Pytel by phone at (517) 487-8521, fax form to (517) 487-3321 or e-mail

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Michigan is the comeback state — fueled by persistence, innovation and collaboration.

The comeback has gained the attention of job seekers – both in and out of state – who are looking to Michigan as a place full of opportunity.

Chuck Lippstreu and Mark Geary are two examples of those who have found work and planted roots in Michigan.

Prior to moving to the state, Lippstreu was working as a lead speechwriter for the Secretary of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.

“Professionally, the transition from Washington to Lansing was seamless for me,” Lippstreu said. “I loved my job in D.C., but I was lucky to find a job at Byrum & Fisk in Michigan that’s equally rewarding and challenging. Michigan has the nation’s second most diverse agriculture industry, and is home to some of the nation’s leading agribusinesses and food companies, so I have been able to translate my experience on agriculture issues in a wide range of ways. “

Besides having an easy transition professionally, Lippstreu notes that living in Michigan offers travel escapes that might be hard to find anywhere else.

“Before I moved to Michigan, we had the opportunity to visit many different parts of the state – and I was really impressed with the variety of places to visit and things to do,” he explained. “At the end of the week, you’re just a couple of hours drive from so many great, quiet places to relax – something you just can’t have on the east coast.”

In just a few months, Lippstreu has seen why Michigan is a great place to live, work and play.

“It’s only been a few months, but I really have enjoyed living and working here in Michigan. There’s a lot to do, it’s professionally rewarding, it’s centrally located and it’s easy to see putting down roots here.”

While Lippstreu took a direct route to Michigan, Geary’s path to the state was much different.

Born in Chicago and eventually attending school at the University of Missouri, Geary’s parents moved to Michigan after dropping him off at school.

On breaks and during the summers, he would visit his family in Troy. Soon after graduating, he got a freelance reporting job in Saginaw.

“Living in Chicago, my family was familiar with the Midwest,” Geary said. “Moving to Michigan was more of an unknown. We were wondering what it was going to be like, but we’ve had a great experience and my family really loves it here. “

But the prospect of a full time job took him to another state, where he accepted employment in Iowa, and then later North Carolina.

It wasn’t until the allure of being close to family and finding a Beaumont Health System Media Relations Coordinator position through brought him back again. Now married with a two-year-old daughter and a son on the way, Geary couldn’t be happier to be back.

“My wife and I take our daughter to different parks all over the area on the weekends and just let her run around and play – especially before it starts snowing,” he joked. “And soon our son will be born here in Michigan, and that will be great.”

Besides the career opportunity and closeness to family, Geary notes that one of his favorite aspects of living in the state is the culture associated with Michigan.

“People are so friendly. That’s one thing that I really like, and that’s why I want my daughter and son to grow up here,” he said. “It’s because of how genuinely nice people are here – I don’t think you realize that  until you go somewhere else.”

Geary says that he couldn’t be more excited about Michigan’s comeback.

“There’s stuff going on everywhere,” he said. “The state definitely has a lot of energy and that’s something I really like about it. There’s going to be so much opportunity for my kids when they grow up and start getting jobs of their own.”

“It almost feels like a rebirth in a sense because there are a lot of people who are proud to be here and who are willing to work hard to make the state shine and show what Michigan has to offer.”

Learn more about Geary’s move to Michigan in the video below.

These are just two examples of people finding opportunity in Michigan.

In addition to, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is organization that helps job seekers find employment in the state’s capitol. LEAP is a coalition of area leaders committed to building a prosperous and vibrant region where businesses can thrive.

Pure Michigan Talent Connect – a collaborative effort of the State of Michigan’s Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) –  is your launch pad for new jobs, careers and talent.

Are you looking for a job or seeking talent? Visit

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October is international trade month for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), so we wanted to speak with a Michigan startup making inroads in a foreign market.  This week we had a conversation with Geoff Horst, CEO of Northville-based Algal Scientific and James Zhang, a board member and partner at Algal who leads Chinese operations for the venture fund Formation8.

Q: Geoff, could you begin by giving us a little background on Algal?

GH: Absolutely. Algal was founded in 2009 to commercialize a technology that treats wastewater with algae. About three years ago, however, we discovered that the algae we were producing was perhaps more valuable than the wastewater technology we were selling, so we pivoted. We now focus on using the algae to make beta gulcan, a compound that can act as a vitamin, for example, in an animal’s diet to strengthen its immune system and help fight off infections naturally without antibiotics.

Q: Sounds like your product could have far-reaching appeal. Where are your customers?

GH: Our client base is actually quite varied for us being a small company in Michigan. A lot of our partners are actually located outside the U.S. We have partners in Europe, South America and Asia, including a large partner in China. We’re literally shipping all over the world.

Q: And have you used state resources to help Algal export to those markets?

GH: We were going to export to these markets anyway because of the demand, but MEDC’s International Trade Office helped pave the way and has been hugely important to us – even now. The office helped cover the cost of exploratory visits we made to China to meet with potential partners and gauge the market interest.

Q: What happened once you made the decision to enter the Chinese market?

Through the Michigan China Center, MEDC connected us to experts in China who know the market, who could attend meetings with us and act as translators. Having that extra support from the state not only made our meetings more productive, but it also demonstrated legitimacy to our potential partners, and showed that we have enough support locally and from our home region.

Q: Have you learned any lessons that you’d like to share with other small businesses in Michigan thinking of exporting internationally?

GH: Find a partner through either the state or through private investments who can offer more years of experience to help you navigate new markets – whether by helping with regulatory issues or even just setting up operations to sell your products more effectively. I would not recommend trying to export internationally for the first time on your own.

Q: James, do you have anything to add?

JZ: In the U.S. we’re accustomed to rapidly developing business relationships, but in a country like China, relationships are built on years and even decades of interactions. Especially when entering a new market, it’s essential to leverage long-lasting relationships where possible.

Q: From a Chinese perspective, what’s attractive about doing business with a Michigan company?

JZ: As a smaller market than California, let’s say, you have access to greater assistance from the state government. In California, for example, the state government can’t be bothered with every startup in Silicon Valley. In Michigan, however, the government pays attention to ensure startups have the proper resources at their disposal. I remember when former Gov. Granholm paid a lot attention to the company during one of our first investments in Michigan. This would be impossible in California – you can’t get Arnold Schwarzenegger to pay attention to a startup.



Paula Sorrell is the vice president of entrepreneurship, innovation, & venture capital at the MEDC.

Looking to start your own business? Visit for more information.



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Looking for a job in Michigan? Pure Michigan Talent Connect – a collaborative effort of the State of Michigan’s Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) – is your personal tool for new jobs, careers and talent. The site is an online marketplace connecting Michigan’s job seekers and employers.

Governor Snyder recently proclaimed October 13-19 as Careers in Energy week. In highlighting the industry, Michigan’s energy workforce boasts 84,000 jobs in Michigan and is expected to increase by 5.6 percent by 2018. Approximately 50 percent of workers in Michigan’s utility sector will leave the industry over the next 5 -7 years, making it vital to increase worker skills and training programs.

Michigan’s major utilities are active partners in Michigan’s economic resurgence; they are making changes to enhance Michigan’s attractiveness to new business. Below is a roundup of several hot jobs in energy on

Energy Engineer – DNV GL
Okemos, Mich.

Tasks include: Reviewing and verifying technical merits of business customer energy efficiency applications, including calculation of energy savings and verification of equipment specifications. Perform customer site inspections to verify the installation of energy efficient equipment at businesses throughout Michigan. Interact with customers to address questions or concerns about installed equipment or programmatic information, among other assignments.

Researcher, Electromechanical/Energy Systems – General Motors
Warren, Mich.

General Motors is looking to fill the electromechanical/energy systems researcher position with a candidate who can assist in developing the next-generation electric power and electromechanical systems for conventional and electric/hybrid vehicles. Other projects include integrating electrical, electromechanical and energy storage components into advanced systems for improved vehicle performance, reduced emissions and improved fuel economy.

Intake Assessment Specialist, Energy Assistance – The Salvation Army Wmni division
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Responding to applicants for Energy Assistance Services by phone to determine the primary need and urgency of the presenting energy related need; Provide comprehensive assessments for Energy Assistance Services (EAS) [utilizing the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Call Point]; Assist with energy information, referrals, and appointment scheduling with the goal of mediating energy crises and supporting energy account management.

Energy Technology Supervisor – Ford Motor Company
Dearborn, Mich.

The energy technology supervisor will utilize engineering education, CAD, controls and product development experience to manage research and development of emerging technologies to identify opportunities for applications within Ford Motor Company. The position also includes developing lighting technology solutions for building and facility requirements including general, inspection and task lighting requirements, among other projects.

Energy Efficiency Communications Manager- IFC International
Jackson, Mich.

As a member of the Strategic Communications and Marketing Division, the Communications Manager will lead the planning, development, and implementation of communications strategies and activities to support energy efficiency efforts with utility and government clients across the country. On a daily basis, IFC International helps clients and communities use less energy, save money and help the environment through the development, implementation and refinement of sound marketing and outreach initiatives.

Regional General Manager Energy Business – Black and Veatch
Ann Arbor, Mich.

The RGM will work for the Sales Director, and will work in a matrix organization that aligns the goals of Energy Business Profit/Loss Business Units. The RGM will be focused on a select number of strategic and core clients as well as managing the sales needs of the matrix organization covering target and opportunistic clients. The RGM also focuses on key strategic Client initiatives that are judged to be critical to market or business unit growth.

Apply now for any of the jobs above, and search for more, on

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International opportunities to be showcased at Global Trade Days

October 13, 2014 Great Companies

  Did you know that in 2013, Michigan exported more than $58.6 billion worth of goods, setting a new state record? Exporting offers incredible opportunities to Michigan businesses through international ties with more than 30 countries. However, less than one percent of all small businesses in the U.S. export. As Global Trade Days kicks off [...]

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Bringing Michigan Products to the World through the MEDC Export Office

October 10, 2014 Business Growth

Did you know that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States? Yet, only about 1 percent of small businesses export their products and even those companies mostly export to one country because of challenges they face in selling to non-U.S. markets. In order to help more Michigan businesses export their goods [...]

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Michigan’s Medical Breakthrough Innovations

October 10, 2014 Technology Entrepreneurship & Innovation

It is officially fall, which means it’s also flu season. But what is headlining the news today are Ebola and Enterovirus (EV68), especially as the diseases are spreading so close to home. At times like these it is more important than ever to have ongoing and constant research in the medical field to stay ahead [...]

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A New Motor City in the West? Not So Fast

October 2, 2014 Technology Entrepreneurship & Innovation

  It’s been said before and it will be said again: “Silicon Valley [is] challenging Detroit’s leadership in the auto industry” and could become the “new Motor City.” Yes, Silicon Valley has many automotive OEM offices working on futuristic design and on reducing tailpipe emissions to satisfy the specific emissions regulations in California. Yes, the [...]

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Friday’s Manufacturing Day celebrates Michigan’s heritage and promising future

September 30, 2014 Great Companies

Joe Mandeville hopes the story he tells to his audience of students from Utica and Richmond school districts will change the course of their lives. And perhaps, Michigan’s manufacturing industry. On Friday, students will visit Mandeville’s Shelby Township-based Elite Mold and Engineering to commemorate National Manufacturing Day, a coordinated national celebration of the American of making [...]

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Daytime Television Show The Chew Visits the National Cherry Festival

September 26, 2014 Living In Michigan

This week, The Chew – a cooking-themed daytime talk show that airs on ABC focused on food-related and lifestyle topics – featured one of Michigan’s most abundant and popular resources, tart cherries. The show visited the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City during the week of July 4 and highlighted various products made with Michigan [...]

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