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Planning and Economic Development

Talking Talent

August 2022



Message from Jennifer Weot





Hello Macomb County employers! My name is Jennifer Weot and I am so excited to join the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development as the Senior Outreach Specialist for our “Fueling the Talent Pipeline” initiative. This newsletter – Talking Talent– is one of my first major projects. It’s a space where I can regularly connect with our business community and provide them with news, information and opportunities around next generation recruitment.

But before you read on, I’d like to share some of my background and my vision for this new role. I have a passion for education and making an impact. Prior to Macomb County, I was a college counselor for almost 17 years. During that time, I met with thousands of high school juniors, seniors and graduates who had no idea what they wanted to do. They also had no idea of what was really available to them, literally right in their own neighborhoods! 

This is why the Fueling the Talent Pipeline program is so exciting to me. There’s so much potential out there that is being untapped on both sides of the spectrum. As employers, I know you are struggling to find workers to fill gaps in your workplace. At the same time, we have young people who are completely unaware that certain career fields even exist.

Let’s introduce these students to what you have to offer! It is a win-win situation. By exposing young talent to your industry, not only will you light the fire for some of them, but they in turn may be working for you someday. With 40 percent of Macomb County employees currently at retirement age, we have to come up with a way to fill these upcoming vacancies, and there are so many different ways to get information out to these young people.

So keep reading, stay tuned for future editions of Talking Talent and contact me at to get connected with our initiatives. From presentations to industry tours to job shadows, there are plenty of opportunities to get your business involved with Fueling the Talent Pipeline. Reach out today, and we can build the workforce of tomorrow.






Last call: Get involved with Manufacturing Day/Week


Earlier this summer, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) announced the return of Manufacturing Day, which this year, will be celebrated for an entire week as MFG Day Week. Starting October 3 through October 7, local high school students will have the opportunity to tour advanced manufacturing facilities and learn more about the many interesting and well paying jobs the industry has to offer. But the August 12 deadline to participate as a host site is quickly approaching. 

“We hope to connect classrooms with careers and to inspire our future workforce,” said Vicky Rowinski, director, MCPED. “Ultimately, our goal is to have 2,000 students join us from all 27 Macomb County high schools. It’s a big lift, but with our partners, host sites and sponsors, we know it’s possible. Because over the last nine years, we’ve had 14,000 students take part in Manufacturing Day.”

Companies interested in becoming a host site can choose the day and time for their involvement, which gives them a chance to promote their companies and interact with young people interested in manufacturing. Those students receive a 90-120 minute guided tour and discussions with company leaders and employees.

“We’ve seen real connections come out of our Manufacturing Day events,” Rowinski said. “And given current workforce challenges, like talent shortages and other issues, our program is especially relevant. We’re helping create a pipeline that can supply workers and solve real problems facing our local businesses.”

Companies interested in participating in the 2022 celebration can visit the MFG Day Week page to learn more and to sign up.





Career fairs and more coming this fall


With the return of the school year comes opportunities for local businesses to get involved in talent programming. Here in Macomb County, our two Ford Next Generation Learning communities have several upcoming events and opportunities where your support is needed:

  • Romeo High School is seeking 80 companies to join their career fair on October 12. From 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., students will visit with and learn about professions, careers and jobs from the businesses in attendance. This is an excellent chance for 9th Grade Academy students to expand their knowledge of careers, and for older students to think about their more immediate futures. Interested in participating? Sign up today here.   
  • We are once again working to secure job shadow experiences for 11th graders from Center Line, Romeo and the Early College program for all districts. Typically, a job shadow involves one or two students visiting a workplace to observe people working at jobs that are of interest to them. Depending on the program, students must spend between four and eight hours on a job site, typically during normal school hours. Interested in hosting a job shadow this year? Please complete this quick form and we will get you connected with the program of your choice. Additional questions? Contact Jennifer Weot at

Additional programs and events will be announced this fall. Be sure to stay tuned to this newsletter to learn more and visit the Fueling Talent web page for news and other information.





Q&A: TK Mold discusses their future talent strategy


TK Mold & Engineering, Inc. is a plastic injection company located in Romeo that designs, builds, assembles and runs low production molds for the automotive, aerospace, medical and consumer goods industries. Owner Tom Barr and his wife Krista work hard to promote the skilled trades and they have several active apprentices. With this hands-on approach and involvement in local schools, the company is working to build a new generation of talent in manufacturing. And in 2021, that work was recognized when TK Mold was awarded the Trailblazer of Future Talent recognition at the Macomb Business Awards, followed by a “Mold Maker of the Year” award in 2022 from the American Mold Maker Builder’s Association.

Now they’ve answered several questions about their talent strategy so you can learn from their experience. 


Q: Your organization provides workplace experience to young people (high school/college) interested in manufacturing. What types of programming/activities do you have in place?

A: We are registered with the U.S Department of Labor Apprenticeship Program, which consists of on-the-job training and classroom training at Macomb Community College. We also have an on-site social worker (Krista) who provides personal development and support through goal setting and regular meetings where employee input is valued. Finally, we are actively involved with Romeo High School, where we volunteer time and money with hands-on learning education for students.


Q: What is the benefit of this work?

A: Workforce development in mold making/manufacturing helps with the shortage of skilled trades, provides young adults with an opportunity to earn a skill they can be proud of, keeps our workforce growing/moving forward, and keeps manufacturing in the United States.


Q: Have you hired any young people who have gone through your work experience programming?

A: Yes, Since 2017, we have graduated seven young adults from our program (five have remained) and currently we have four actively registered apprentices, two employees who are training in house and two doing on the job work, with an average of 24 employees.


Q: Would you recommend this type of approach to other companies/organizations?

A: YES. In order to keep manufacturing alive in the United States we must all do our part to invest in skilled trades.




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