Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently addressed hundreds of engineering students who were in attendance at the North American Auto Show as part of an effort to spur engineering staffing within the state.
Crain's Detroit Business reports both automakers and suppliers expressed a need for engineers during the show, an indication that Snyder said bodes well for students from various colleges throughout Michigan.
"A lot of the companies I talked to today wanted to talk about…getting the best talent," he said. "That's why it's so exciting to have engineering students from seven different universities here."
The governor also lauded the efforts of a number of companies that have taken up initiatives to increase engineering staffing by adding jobs across the state, according to the news source. Specifically, Snyder pointed at the "Pure Michigan Talent Connect" website, which he noted had about 70,000 available positions.
"If we filled all of those today, we'd drop our unemployment by about two percentage points," Snyder explained.
With Snyder calling for more of a connection between engineers and companies looking to fill positions, one major automaker recently took note and plans to hire 150 engineers at its Farmington Hills, Michigan technical center.
The hirings, which are a result of an increasing workload for the automaker, will add to the technical center's current full-time staff of 800 workers, reports the Oakland Press.
According to the news source, the automaker has decided to increase the tempo of its product development in Farmington Hills, where vehicle bodies for North and Latin America are developed.
Carla Bailo, president of the automaker's North America technical center, told the news source the 2008 financial crisis had a major impact on the company's workforce.
"We haven’t hired any new engineers in three or four years," she said. "We have a lot of very good senior engineers. But we need to bring on new and emerging talent. We’ll be hiring 150 engineers this year and probably 50 or 60 engineers next year."
Bailo noted that rather than hiring only mechanical and electrical engineers, the automaker now plans to bring in chemical engineers, thanks to the technical center's increased emphasis on fuel cells and electric vehicles, according to the news source. Additionally, research is being conducted on batteries for electric cars and different ways to charge them.