Statewide group at popular festival recruiting qualified workers to Michigan

NOW: Statewide group at popular festival recruiting qualified workers to Michigan

NILES, Mich. – Michigan is one of many states across the country facing a worker shortage but one statewide group is taking a unique approach to finding qualified candidates.

Michigan House is an organization that travels to different events around the country. They try to recruit innovative, skilled workers to come live and work in places across the state like Niles, Berrien Springs, St. Joe, and Benton Harbor.

Right now the group is heading to Austin, Texas where they will continue their efforts at the South by Southwest festival that starts March 8.

“We are letting the South by Southwest audience sort of know all the opportunity that exists in Michigan and all the sort of companies that are looking for talent within the state,” said Michigan House co-founder Ted Veile.  

South by Southwest is a tech and music festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year. Veile said it’s the perfect opportunity to meet with top talent.

Veile said there are more than 100,000 open jobs in Michigan. He explained that companies want to be in places with lots of available talent and if Michigan can’t keep up with that, then those companies will open their businesses elsewhere.

“We need innovative people,” said Veile. “We need people sort of starting innovative companies or making companies that already exist there more future looking so we need, we just need more young people and people who are kind of excited about what Michigan can be for the next 10, 20, 30 years.”

Veile said the existing opportunities, low cost of living, and fun activities, like beach days at Silver Beach, are just some of the ways Michigan House will convince festival attendees to choose Michigan.

“We need to take the mountain to Muhammad as the saying goes and really let people know that the old narrative about what’s possible in Michigan just isn’t true anymore and that there’s a lot of things going on and a lot of sort of opportunity or more to go on within the state,” said Veile.

There will be representatives from Whirlpool and Lakeland Health. However, Veile said there still could be an impact on smaller companies in the area not in Austin.

“Big companies have the types of budgets where they can go out into the world and attract people to move in,” said Veile. “Once those people move here, they tend to end up staying there, they tend to make it a home. Whether it’s a spouse who’s looking for a job at a smaller company or one of those people who move onto a smaller company after being at the big company for a few years, it definitely affects [smaller companies].”

Niles Precision Company is a local company that also faces a worker shortage.

“We’re constantly looking for someone, we’re constantly looking for people that can fill positions,” said employee Alex Vinnedg.

They’re glad to hear about the effort and think it could work.

“I believe having people come here will broaden our talent range that’s available especially with the shortages that we do have,” said Vinnedg. “It’s going to expand the range of people that we can employ.”

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