What is MICareer Quest? In the December edition of the Interplant Connection, we spoke of this amazing event that was taking place in the spring. That time has come and gone, and it was wildly successful. MICareer Quest is an event that has taken place at the Devos Place, downtown Grand Rapids, for 3 years running now. It was created by what is now West Michigan Works, in conjunction with Kent ISD and the Construction Workforce Development Alliance in response to employers’ need for future talent in the four industries. The event engaged over 9200 students from schools in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties. The event brought students and teachers together to look at career opportunities in the four high-demand industries represented in quadrants at the show — Advanced Manufacturing, Construction, Health Sciences and Information Technology, with each of the four industries large areas sectioned off by different colored curtains.

The Gill team, in partnership with Neff engineering and SMF Group, created a very hands-on environment for the kids utilizing Stamping, robotics, laser technology, and lean manufacturing principles. We had high school student Charles Henry, of Comstock Park, assist via wiring and programming a ‘mock’ stamping press which embossed dog tags with the Gill logo and integrated a collaborative robot (robotic interaction with no guarding) to interact with the students grabbing and handing the dog tags to them after they were stamped. The stamping press was equipped with LED’s to show how the air pressure was making the cylinders move throughout the process. After the students stamped their
tag, they could bring it to a laser engraving station that allowed the students to etch their names (or other interesting things) onto the tag. All the technology we displayed allowed an opening for the Gill team to talk to kids about careers in manufacturing, tooling, engineering and maintenance. Amongst the crowds gathered around, we also had SFM demonstrating the ‘Lean Manufacturing’ principles by having the students assemble cars and put them to the test on a course to see how well they followed their work
instructions. Along with the Gill team, over 30 other manufacturers from the industry were present within our quadrant to help make that lasting impact on the show participants. This event is the single largest one day event that Devos Place puts on. The goal of this incredible event is to grow and retain future talent within the West Michigan area as baby boomers retire and the demand for manufacturing talent continues to grow. Below are the results and comments of the participants at the show: