War for Talent: Companies Compete for Talented Engineers: MTEC SmartZone and Michigan Technological University offer a great student insourcing model that can help companies win the war.

HOUGHTON, Michigan (February 21, 2012) – The term ‘War for Talent’ was first popular in the late 1990s, and it has resurfaced again because our new knowledge-based economy has created an urgency for talent in technology fields. Companies are desperate for engineers and are looking to research universities for the most innovative minds and freshest talent.


For example, this year over 800 Michigan Technological University engineers will graduate who are uniquely attractive to companies because they have already acquired significant hands-on lab and “real-world” project experience. Nearly all Michigan Tech College of Engineering students land employment within six months of graduation. Talented students are discovered while working on real corporate projects and during the University’s two Career Fairs, where nearly 300 of the country’s top employers come to visit them. Companies are hiring at very competitive wages. Michigan Tech engineering graduates receive average starting salaries of $56,000 and some receive a staggering 14 job offers.


Jim Turnquist, Director of Career Services at Michigan Tech, confirms the dire need companies face. “Companies are looking for people with a technical background and strong people skills – that is the ultimate employee. This demand is especially typical during a recession and post-recession; the first professionals hired back are engineers and IT professionals. Here at Michigan Tech, we cannot keep up with the number of companies calling, e-mailing and begging for student talent. Ultimately, their salaries prove their value.”


While companies traditionally hire college graduates to full-time positions, MTEC SmartZone and Michigan Tech have partnered to offer another solution called the “Fortune 500 Formula.” The partnership was designed for companies to access student talent while utilizing professional high-tech business space to get high-value, high-quality engineering work done. This insourcing model has been successful for companies like GE Aviation, who opened a remote office in Houghton, close to Michigan Tech’s campus, and now has three other university development centers across the nation. GE hires students in co-op and part-time temporary positions while they attend school. Because these student-employees possess significant required hands-on lab experience already, with a minimum amount of additional training they are able to jump in and start working on projects right away.


Rather than outsourcing entry level jobs, GE has discovered a new business model to produce real work. “We get to pick the best of the best [Tech students], and when they graduate, we can place them within our company throughout the country,” says Jason Mack, Site Manager for GE Aviation.


The Fortune 500 Formula has been a real win-win-win, says MTEC SmartZone CEO, Marilyn Clark. Companies obtain great work and discover new talent, students gain excellent career experience, and the local economy is strengthened because students earn and spend money in Houghton.


For more information about MTEC SmartZone, please visit www.mtecsz.com and call (906) 487-7000.


To learn more about MTEC SmartZone’s 2020 Vision, please call: (906) 487-7000.