Prepared by Michele Economou Ureste, WIN Executive Director

Reflecting on 2020, the Workforce Intelligence Network achieved national recognition on existing regional workforce initiatives and began several new workforce programs.


recognition for dedicated service

Since the pandemic, there have been several retirements on the WIN Board of Directors, and another retirement is expected to occur.

WIN extends a hearty recognition of the long-term WIN Board of Director‘s service contribution of:

  • Dave Corba from Macomb Community College
  • Bill Sleight from Michigan Works! Southeast
  • John Bierbusse from Macomb St. Clair Michigan Works!
  • James Robinson from Wayne County Community College District


Following the establishment of a WIN Finance Committee Chaired by Brandon Tucker from Washtenaw Community College, the WIN Board of Directors unanimously approved the Finance Committee recommendation for a new WIN Sponsor Partner Program that will be extended to economic development, chambers of commerce, government, corporations, and key non-profit stakeholder partners across southeast.




The transportation industry is faced with emerging technology, aging infrastructure, and aging workers. The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) and WIN are partnered to develop a high-tech workforce training and recruitment strategy for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). A grant agreement was awarded for October 1, 2019 through June 15, 2021. Project goals include: 1) Conducting research on transformative technologies and associated implementation strategies; 2) Identifying the skills gap within the MDOT current construction and operation workforce; and 3) Developing training and recruitment strategies for the current and future workforce. CAR has completed the development of two transformative technology reports and WIN is beginning the process of conducting an internal MDOT survey and forming Focus Groups to develop the training and recruitment strategies. The WIN project work is being led by the WIN Director of Talent Development, Sarah Gregory, who is working closely with Zahra Bahrani Fard and Kristin Dziczek from CAR.


WIN is co-convening the Health Career Alliance for Southeast Michigan (HCASM) with the State of Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. The HCASM is an employer-led healthcare collaborative for 11 counties (Genesee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne) in Southeast Michigan. This proven model is designed to organize healthcare industry employers to identify strategies to address common talent needs. By working together, our healthcare employers can meet workforce needs more effectively and efficiently while helping community members access higher quality career pathways.““

The WIN workforce agencies and community colleges are working with nearly a dozen healthcare employers and many other partners to create a talent pipeline for common talent needs. The collaborative conducted an intensive scan of the labor force and high-need occupations across employer collaborative members. Program teams were then formed to focus on the following occupations: Medical Assistants, Sterile Processing Technicians, and Certified Nursing Assistants. Strategies undertaken by the HCA to resolve talent shortages in these occupations will include designing and registering apprenticeship programs, holding virtual job fairs and career awareness fairs, implementing new recruitment strategies, and identifying additional funding opportunities to support this workforce. This project is being led by Sarah Gregory, the WIN Director of Talent Development.

In November 2020, the State of Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Workforce Development (LEO-WD), as the lead applicant, worked collaboratively with WIN and other partners, to apply for a $2.5 million grant from the US DOL H-1B Rural Healthcare Grant Program to establish a Michigan Health Careers Partnership for Rural Communities (MI-HCPRC) and continue to support employer‑led collaboratives to address healthcare workforce shortages in rural communities across the state.

The partners of the Michigan Health Careers Partnership for Rural Communities (MI-HCPRC) propose: 1) increase the number of individuals training in healthcare occupations that directly impact patient care; 2) alleviate healthcare workforce shortages by creating sustainable employment and training programs in healthcare occupations (including behavioral and mental healthcare) serving rural populations; 3) convene employers, education and training providers, workforce development organizations, and other applicable partners, such as economic development organizations and government to formulate solutions to fill identified talent gaps in the rural healthcare workforce. Award notification is expected in Q1 2021


The WIN collaborative of community college and Michigan Works! agency partners Earned Recognition as one of the Top Performing Apprenticeship Grantees in the Nation by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices

The Advance Michigan Center for Apprenticeship Innovation (AMCAI) is an apprenticeship hub developed through the support of a $4 million U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) grant to expand apprenticeship activity in 37 Michigan counties from 2015-2020. With the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) as the lead fiscal agent, the AMCAI partnership is comprised of five subrecipients—Henry Ford College, Lansing Community College, Mid Michigan College, Oakland Community College, and Schoolcraft College—along with many local and regional corporate, educational, and workforce and economic development partners. The AMCAI team experts include: Michele Economou Ureste, Janene Erne, Imad Mourad, Deborah Bayer, Jim Babin, John Sullivan and Valerie Fulton-Robinson. The WIN team recognizes Kinsey Mantay, Danielle Bachman, and Vanessa Bell for their contributions to the program this year and who are no longer with the WIN organization.

In the final year of the US DOL grant, AMCAI partners exceeded all performance outcome targets for a total of 2,211 participants against a goal of 852, 664 registered apprentices against a goal of 600, 464 new employers against a goal of 226, and delivered pre-apprenticeship training to 307 individuals.


This year the US DOL awarded a $4 million Apprenticeship: Closing the Skills Gap grant to WIN college and workforce agency partners, with Oakland Community College as the lead fiscal agent. Memorandums of Understanding are in process of being signed with the WIN eight community college and six Michigan Works! agency partners which will pave the way for another four years of apprenticeship in the State. The grant includes $720,000 of training reimbursement funds for employers offering apprenticeship.

Imad Mourad, WIN Regional Initiatives/Apprenticeships, oversees the AMCAI intermediary standards program by providing logistical support for apprenticeship standards to approximately two dozen employers. As a standards holder, WIN serves as a liaison between employers and the DOL Office of Apprenticeship to ensure an apprenticeship program is properly registered and meets all federal guidelines. An online repository for occupational frameworks, which supports the development of apprenticeship standards, was developed this year. Revisions to www.rapidskillsgenerator.org are underway. EdEn Inc. was competitively procured to develop and add more time-based occupation frameworks which can be modified to create competency-based and hybrid apprenticeship programs. EdEn Inc. will also develop a formal launch strategy for the website in Q1 2021.


The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to develop a high-tech workforce in the Southeast Michigan region using the US DOL recognized Apprenti model. This year two new personnel hires were added to the oversight and management of this program which has already resulted in soft commitment of 57 apprentice hires next year primarily from Great Lake Water Authority, AF Group, DTE, City of Detroit, Henry Ford Healthcare Systems, General Motors, OneMagnify, NEXT Education, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan. Valerie Fulton-Robinson was hired as a Business Development Manager with C-Suite executive level experience; and, Deborah Bayer, Regional Apprenticeship Administrator, was hired to oversee regional apprenticeship initiatives and comes to WIN following a career in postsecondary education by serving as the Vice President of Instruction at Alpena Community College (ACC). Prior to ACC, she spent over 12 years at Oakland Community College which included serving as the lead administrator for the development of the Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) program. During her 15 years in higher education, Deborah served on several of the Michigan Community College committees including the Chief Academic Officers, Occupational Deans Administrative Council, Data Evaluation Committee, Liberal Arts Deans, Michigan Center for Student Success Advisory Committee. This project is also supported by John Sullivan and Imad Mourad who have been working on the Apprenti project since the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) Apprenti program was brought to Michigan. This program also has executive support and oversight by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation Senior Program Officer Susan Dundon and the Executive Director of Apprenti, Jennifer Carlson.



The WIN collaborative of community college and Michigan Works! agency partners Earned Recognition This Year as one of the Top Performing Robotics and Automation Training Grantees in the Nation

Advance Michigan Catalyst is a $6 million US Department of Labor (US DOL) America’s Promise grant which aims to provide robotics and automation related training in the region from 2017 – 2020. In addition to classroom training, services include individual assessments, case management, supportive services, and employment placement. Michigan Works! Association (MWA) partners have enrolled 736 individuals in the program, of which 696 were from the target population of un-and-underemployed individuals, 498 completed the training and earned a credential, and 342 received unsubsidized employment. WIN is regarded as a grantee with several best practices developed under this project, and many of our staff and partners have participated in national webinars. This project is led by the WIN Director of Data and Workforce Projects Melissa Sheldon. Based on the employer demand for the program, WIN submitted an application against the recent USDOL Employment and Training Administration (ETA) H-1B One Workforce federal opportunity announcement which would commit WIN Board partners to deliver four more years of robotics and automation training in the region, as well as the first coordinated regional deployment of education and training in cybersecurity and transportation occupations. Awards are expected at the end of the year or the early part of January 2021. The Building an Industry Infinity Supply Chain $10 million grant application, with SEMCA as the lead fiscal agent, included 47 support letters from education, workforce, government, non-profit, and business community partners with approximately a $4 million leveraged fund contribution.


The WIN data and research team in 2020 released several studies designed to provide various stakeholders with local intel related to emerging technology in cybersecurity and connected automated vehicles, a series of labor market articles during the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, and more. Melissa Sheldon, Michelle Wein, Sarah Gregory and Deja Torrence consistently produce high-quality results that directly support the foundation of the WIN mission. Highlights from the team accomplishments in 2020 are as follows:

Custom Data Requests: In 2020, the team completed nearly over 150 data requests by responding to questions and providing valuable analysis for our partners.

Labor Market Reports: These WIN reports reflect employment, labor force, employer demand, wages, skills, credentials, and educational attainment requirements for jobs and occupational groups trending in southeast Michigan region counties and the City of Detroit.

Cybersecurity Emerging Technology Skills Gap Analysis 2020: Understanding the complexity of the talent supply for cybersecurity and other consideration for upcoming technologies will aid continued economic growth in the region. New occupations will be created to sell, maintain, service, and grow these technologies and their integration into teaching and service occupations. Tracking emerging technologies and their impact on the workforce is key to preparing secondary, post-secondary, and other educational markets for changing workforce demands from employers. For a full copy of this report, click here.

Connected Automated Vehicle Emerging Technology Skills Gap Analysis 2020: As major automotive manufacturers and technology companies around the world design and test new automated vehicle technology, current employees are learning new skills and future workers will be asked to apply a specific skillset to CAV projects as the product cycle for this disruptive technology continues to mature. In order to better understand future workforce demands in the CAV space, WIN partnered with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to analyze job postings for a broad set of occupations involved in the design, manufacture, and infrastructure development necessary to catalyze the CAV product cycle. Access a full copy of this report.

WIN would like to extend special thanks to the Henry Ford College, William Davidson Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Detroit Employment Solutions, GST Michigan Works!, Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, Oakland County Michigan Works!, Michigan Works! Southeast, SEMCA Michigan Works!, and many more for supporting these 2020 studies.


The State of Michigan award a Michigan Industry Cluster Initiative (MICA 2.0) grant to support the MAGMA Governing Board and Advisory Council work which is building momentum consistent with the mobility movement. This regional initiative is led by Michelle Wein and Imad Mourad. In 2020, MAGMA Governing Board sought presentations and supported bringing the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) and the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program to Michigan. The AMT program is a collaborative or employer-driven talent pipeline program that Toyota uses at other facilities across the country that MAGMA employers have expressed interest in and working towards bringing to Michigan.


Virtual Advisory Council Meetings were held in August and December which included speakers Tim Weisenberger and Stacey Stevens from SAE International who spoke about ISO Cybersecurity standards. Karley Thurston from WIN and Sarah Crane from UM EGI spoke about respective CAV reports and an education and training panel was convened to discuss the reports. Speakers on the panel included Carly Bohrer, Vice President Human Resources, Electronics and ADAS Division, ZF Group; Christine Rogers, Sr Global Human Resources Manager, Electronics and ADAS Division, ZF Group; Robert Bayer, Test Engineering & Laboratory Services Manager, BorgWarner; Benigno (Ben) Cruz, Director of the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT), Macomb Community College and Dr. Patricia Walker Chatman, Dean School of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Professional Development, Henry Ford College. The final Advisory Council meeting for the year was on the topic of apprenticeship with the following speaker lineup: the WIN Director of Research and Regional Initiatives Michelle Wein on the WIN Apprenticeship Return on Investment (ROI) Calculator, the WIN AMCAI Regional Apprenticeship Administrator Janene Erne on Registered Apprenticeship (RA); Dina Igoe, the Director of Communications and Outreach from the National Institute of Metal Working Skills (NIMS) on Industry Recognized Apprenticeship (IRAP); Lori Spicer, SEMCA, Talent Development Coordinator on funding sources; a panel discussion with Kavita Phadke, Bosch, Director, COE Organization Associate Development; Sophie Stepke, ZF, Training Manager; Victoria Vargas – BorgWarner, Manager, Human Resources; a FAME Training Model with speakers Bill Rayl, Jackson Area Manufacturers Association (JAMA), President; and Apprenti: IT Registered Apprenticeship with speakers Valerie Fulton-Robinson, Apprenti, Michigan Director; John Sullivan, WIN/Apprenti, Michigan Program Manager.

In November 2020, with Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) as the lead applicant, the WIN’s Michelle Wein worked in partnership with Wayne State University to submit the $300,000 Strengthening the Mobility Talent Pipeline in Southeast Michigan grant application which would support the forward movement of the employer collaborative to: 1) offer online professional short courses on mobility to deepen the interest of students in cutting-edge technology; 2) conduct quarterly advisory council meetings attracting over 300 participants annually to hear from thought leaders on talent centered topics, with a focus on cybersecurity, embedded vehicle systems, technician skills, engineering demand, importance of post-secondary education; and other topics as proposed by board members; 3) work with Apprenti to develop the tech talent pool; and 4) research a program to connect K-12 CTEs with MAGMA employers for externship opportunities. Award notification is expected in December 2020.

WIN wishes you a healthy and happy holiday season and New Year.