Pure Michigan Talent Connect Career Explorer Resource Helps Local Job Seekers

Michigan Works! Southwest taking appointments to help job seekers develop customized career plans using new tool

Southwest Michigan’s job seekers and students now have access to a new career exploration resource, Pure Michigan Talent Connect’s Career Explorer. Individuals can access the tool on their own at mitalent.org/career-exploration, or Michigan Works! Southwest Career Coaches are taking appointments to guide people through the career exploration feature.

The Career Explorer resource through Pure Michigan Talent Connect, mitalent.org, helps people access better jobs, education and training opportunities. The tool provides recommendations tailored to individuals’ needs, aimed at setting them up for success in the labor market.

Michigan Works! Southwest Career Coaches are available virtually, and face-to-face starting this month, to support job seekers in accessing the tool and help people in implementing their customized career plans to access better jobs, and pursue education and training opportunities. The tool provides recommendations tailored to individual customers’ needs, aimed at setting them up for success in the labor market.

“Training and education helps people obtain better jobs,” said Ben Damerow, director of Michigan Works! Southwest. “Pure Michigan Talent Connect’s Career Explorer customizes this journey for our clients, so we can help them reach their professional goals more quickly.” 

Another benefit of career and educational advancement? Increased earnings. Damerow is quick to point out the correlation between postsecondary education and earnings increases. 

“People don’t have to think of careers as fixed,” said Damerow. “People can always grow within a field, adding certifications and degrees allowing them to advance their careers. And the data supports that the more education you gain, the more opportunity you have to grow your income.”

Case in point: According to Michigan’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, Southwest Michigan jobs that fall into the “high-wage, high-demand occupations requiring a Bachelor’s” category are expected to grow at the fastest rate over the next five years compared to other job opportunities. These same high-wage, high-demand, high-education jobs display higher pay scales than any other occupations — think social workers and health care professionals to financial managers and engineers — with wages ranging from around $42,000 per year to six figures. Across the board when looking at growth in job opportunities and pay, levels of pay are directly correlated with the level of formal education and/or the length of job training or apprenticeship.

Pure Michigan Talent Connect’s Career Explorer leverages data-driven information to help job seekers make better career decisions in a changing economy, particularly those looking to upgrade their skills or find a new career. 

The new tool is a part of the Data for the American Dream (D4AD) project, a national initiative which strives to create an intelligent workforce system to help job seekers make better career decisions in a changing economy through the use of data-driven information.  

“Our goal is to take the guesswork out of how people can prepare for their next — or first — career,” Damerow said. “Our role in rolling out new resources such as these customized career plans is to make preparation even easier, helping people find unique opportunities personalized for each person’s success.”

Do you need more support in accessing Pure Michigan Talent Connect’s Career Explorer, and in connecting your customized career plans to additional Michigan Works! resources and programs? Contact one of our American Job Centers. In Branch County call 517-278-0200, Calhoun County call 269-660-1412, Kalamazoo County call 269-383-2536 or St. Joseph County call 269-273-2717 to make an appointment, or send us a message through our online portal.