Points of View

West Michigan Leaders Learn How to Address the Skills Gap

Sam Stebbins

A group of West Michigan stakeholders, including Talent 2025 president Kevin Stotts, recently completed a class from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. An April article in the Grand Rapids Business Journal explains that the Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) Academy curriculum centers on applying supply chain principles to the skills gap.


TPM Training was Unique to West Michigan

This inaugural class represents the first statewide TPM Academy in the nation. The unique program resulted from a partnership between Consumers Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce and was funded by grants from the Consumers Energy Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


Through the course of the program, participants focused on six strategies. They were:

  • Planning and implementing an employer collaborative,
  • Engaging in “demand planning,”
  • Communicating competency and credentialing requirements,
  • Analyzing talent flows,
  • Building talent supply chains, and
  • Continually improving.


Improving West Michigan’s Talent Pipeline

Deb Lyzenga from West Michigan Works! was a participant and saw similarities between TPM Academy and the Business Solutions Professional training that Michigan Works! offers. The Grand Rapids Business Journal quotes her in calling TPM Academy “an enhancement” to the Michigan Works! training, saying “It gives everybody a common language throughout the state on supply chain management of talent.”


Consumers Energy saw the need for the TPM Academy program because the organization recognized that “talent was the largest barrier to growth and economic development.” Most employers in West Michigan, particularly those looking to hire skilled workers, struggle to fill open job positions. Collaborations between business leaders, nonprofit organizations, and educators help to improve the talent pipeline.

What do you think of the TPM Academy? What other ways could business leaders work to improve the talent pipeline? Let us know on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn