Press Release

MichiganLabs joins GVSU and local employers to accelerate talent creation in Michigan

February 7, 2023
MichiganLabs joins GVSU and local employers to accelerate talent creation in Michigan

Grand Valley State University is launching a work-and-learning program with five inaugural West Michigan-based partners designed to accelerate the connection between talent and employers. The partners invest in GVSU students who become employees during college and after graduation.

The program, the Laker Accelerated Talent Link, will pair Grand Valley students with partner companies that will provide an enhanced co-op experience for students. Five employers have joined the partnership: Michigan Software Labs, Acrisure, Amway, Cascade Engineering, and Corewell Health. GVSU will also serve as an employer partner.

An initial cohort of 25 students, primarily from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work with the partners for one year and commit to one additional year of employment after graduating. The students will also earn a certificate in an area related to business or technology that best matches the employers’ needs. The program will launch in August.

Besides providing critical workplace experience for Grand Valley students, the employers are also supporting the development and implementation of the program.

“We at Michigan Software Labs are thrilled to be a part of this innovative program that connects top talent with leading employers in the region,” said Josh Hulst, managing partner, Michigan Software Labs. “As an employer of high-tech software careers, we are eager to create more pipelines of talent like this. Through the Laker Accelerated Talent Link program, we are addressing the industry’s labor shortage concerns and creating a positive impact on the business community. We are proud to be part of a program that not only helps our business but also provides a path for students to have a bright future in software. This program will help to provide our company with well-prepared team members through our Associate program. We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Grand Valley State University and other partners to equip the next generation of professionals for the workforce."

This unique program integrates a career-ready certificate with a paid internship and results in a bachelor’s degree designed to meet high-demand competencies like digital analytic, systems thinking while recognizing the importance of a broad based, liberal arts education.

Grand Valley President Philomena V. Mantella said this program enhances Grand Valley’s role as a key talent producer in the region. The university has more than 100,000 alumni in Michigan, 90 percent of whom have stayed in West Michigan.

“We are grateful to these leading employers in the region for taking this initial step with us to equip dynamic and diverse professionals for the workforce,” Mantella said. “We are addressing labor-shortage concerns and creating a positive impact on the business community. This program will highlight Grand Valley students’ human-centered skills and deep knowledge of their disciplines, and the companies will benefit from well-prepared employees.”

Representatives for the employers said they value the opportunity to work with Grand Valley on this effort to invest in local students and help hone their high-demand skills.

These inaugural partners will help Grand Valley shape the Talent Link, but Mantella said Grand Valley intends to scale the program and is actively seeking other corporate partners. To learn more, visit the site for the Laker Accelerated Talent Link.

Joshua Hulst
Joshua Hulst
Co-founder & Managing Partner

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