Innovative minds and high-tech jobs fuel the revved-up auto industry

January 28, 2015

At the 2015 North American International Auto Show, we saw a sneak peek into Michigan’s revved up auto industry.  But as the auto industry comes back, and more high-tech, high-skilled jobs become available, we need to make sure Michiganders are equipped with the talent and skills necessary to fill these jobs. That’s why events like the 2015 Technology Showcase are so exciting.

The Tech Showcase—new to the auto show this year—highlighted students who are working to learn the skills needed in order to succeed in the revamped, high-tech auto industry.  During the showcase, these students put their skills to the test in a variety of competitions aimed at developing their talents. 

One of contests was the Shell Eco-Marathon, a nationwide competition where young people build, design, and test high-efficiency vehicles.

“The skills that we’re learning – the design skills as well as the general engineering skills- are definitely going to pay dividends in the coming years,” Tyler Dicks, a computer engineering student and a Shell Eco-Marathon participant, said.

Other students from Southfield High School were participating in a competition to build innovative and sleek electric vehicles. Karl Klimek, the executive director of the Square One Education Network, who hosted the competition, said that events like the Tech Showcase are beneficial because they help to pique students’ interest in high-skilled careers.

“A lot of people talk about innovative technologies and innovative designs,” Klimek said. “But those start with innovative minds.”

Students from the University of Michigan, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Michigan State University, Lawrence Technological University, Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies also participated in different displays and demonstrations, which included solar technology, racing performance, fuel mileage efficiency and automotive design.

The Tech Showcase and similar events are designed to help develop talent and expose young people to the exciting, high-skilled opportunities available to them in Michigan’s auto industry. Governor Snyder has said that making Michigan number one in the nation for skilled trades is one of his top priorities in a second term.

“I want to encourage all young people [interested in technology] to look at the auto industry as an exciting career,” the governor said. “Not only are the cars exciting to be around, but the technology of the future is in them. You can’t get a better match then that.”