by Linda Daichendt, Executive Director, Mobile Technology Assn of Michigan, Co-founder, Mobile Monday Michigan
Recently I read an article that discussed a skills program that had quickly been ramped up by a local community college to meet a training demand defined by a local non-profit group whose focus is on the fashion industry. The jobs in demand were for Industrial Sewing where Salary.com indicates the median annual salary is $24,674 and those on the high-end still make less than $35,000 per year. See the article HERE. I also recently read an article about a fashion incubator that launched in Lansing which also discussed the fashion training programs that currently exist at: Michigan State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, and Lansing Community College. Frankly, I was a bit dumbfounded by both articles – but let me explain why.
First, let me be clear, I certainly don’t want to be perceived as saying that there is no need for these training programs or the incubator, nothing could be further from the truth. Fashion talent can come from anywhere and I know we have firms here in Michigan that are gaining well-deserved recognition in this area. HOWEVER, I would be very interested to see the statistics on the number of jobs this industry can conceivably create in Michigan, the income those employed in it will earn, and what the actual economic impact can possibly be on the state. Let’s face it, this isn’t New York or Paris! Unless I’m greatly mistaken, fashion is never going to be a major economic driver in this state and I am perplexed about why so much effort and resources are being put into an industry which will likely yield minimal impact in jobs creation, business start-ups or economic development.
On the other hand, if our education, government and economic development communities are REALLY interested in providing training for jobs that are already driving substantial job creation, new business start-ups and economic growth for the state, and where study after study indicates that job growth and business development opportunities will continue to grow – perhaps they should look at mobile/wireless technologies that are impacting literally EVERY industry in our state.
For years now MTAM and its members have been valiantly spreading the word throughout Michigan, nationally, and internationally about the work being done in Michigan IN EVERY INDUSTRY with mobile/wireless technologies. The sad fact though is that our efforts are substantially more effective with the national and international audiences than they are with the ‘powers that be’ within our own state. But let’s set that aside for the moment and take a look at the impact these technologies are already having on Michigan:
- Every mobile/wireless technology-related position created in Michigan also creates 3.9 additional non-mobile/wireless-related jobs in the state (MTAM/MEDC)
- There are currently over 47,000 Michigan residents employed in mobile/wireless-related positions in over 2300 companies in the state (MTAM/MEDC)
- The average compensation for a mobile/wireless-related position in Michigan is over $63,000 annually (MTAM/MEDC)
And let’s also take a look at the future of mobile/wireless technologies and the opportunity they provide for Michigan’s economy, its businesses and its residents:
- Today there are 10 Billion+ connected objects; by 2020, there will be over 50 Billion, some studies think it will be as high as 70 Billion
- Mobile/wireless technologies will cause the need for 220,000 new engineers every year between 2014 and 2022
- Mobile/wireless technologies will create 600,000 more manufacturing jobs in the US
- 300,000 new data analysts will be needed to bring intelligent decisions to ‘big data’
- Mobile/wireless technologies (connected or autonomous) will drive $202 Billion in increased automotive revenue
- Mobile/wireless technologies will drive $69 Billion in increased healthcare revenue
- Mobile/wireless technologies will drive $445 Billion in increased consumer products revenue
- Wireless broadband investment will create as many as 205,000 US jobs by 2015
- Wireless jobs will continue to pay greater than 50% more than the average pay of other production workers
- U.S. 4G wireless network investments will be up by as much as $53 Billion by 2016; resulting in up to $151 Billion in GDP growth and up to 771,000 jobs being created
Wouldn’t you want these opportunities to be in Michigan?
Suffice it to say that the opportunity for Michigan is unparalleled, but our government, civic, economic development and education leaders can’t seem to see the forest for the trees. For some reason when we talk about the economic opportunities to be gained from these technologies, they assume we are talking ONLY about mobile app development – even though we clearly say otherwise – and that is pretty much the ONLY area of mobile/wireless technology that anyone is even attempting to provide training in. And yet even the available mobile app development training is only a drop in the bucket compared to the need in that particular segment of the industry – even here in Michigan. We’re not coming close to meeting an already critical need for employees to fill mobile/wireless-related jobs, but yet we’re investing resources instead into an industry which will have minimal impact.
Think about it; for the last year it seems like everyone in Michigan is talking about ‘the connected vehicle’. But, did it ever occur to you that ‘connected’ means mobile/wireless technologies, and that the type of jobs involved might include: manufacturing, software development, quality control, equipment maintenance, installation, research, marketing/advertising, training, customer service, tech support, sales, and much more? Within just the automotive industry can you begin to conceive how many jobs in this State will be impacted by these technologies?
Now add the following industries to your thought process:
- general manufacturing
- real estate
- transportation management
- financial services/banking
- data security
- consumer services
- business services
- many, many more!
All of these industries are being substantially impacted by mobile/wireless technologies now – and will be impacted even more so as we move forward. In fact, it is becoming increasingly evident that the next few years will show in history that mobile/wireless technologies are similarly impactful to the global economy as was the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century.
Again, as I said earlier, I’m not against investing in Michigan’s fashion industry, or other’s like it that have some potential. What I am against is the complete lack of attention that is being paid to a group of technologies that are already contributing to this state’s economy via every industry in this state in a significant way. We collectively need to open our eyes before this incredible opportunity passes by the State of Michigan and instead goes to a state that is more open to understanding how imperative it is to act immediately and jointly, not as separate industries or as separate geographic areas in the state. Our unique strength which will drive our leadership position nationally and globally will be our ability to work together – cross-industry and statewide, and to ensure we have the education infrastructure in place to enable us to fulfill the employment pipelines in every segment of every industry where these technologies are being utilized.
To facilitate this, our Education, Government and Economic Development communities need to understand that mobile/wireless technologies require training other than Mobile App Development. Every Career Major at every community college or university should be including training on the use of mobile/wireless technologies within that industry as part of the curriculum.
We at the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM) are dedicated to putting Michigan in a position to be the national and global leader in many areas of the mobile/wireless technologies field. We have many initiatives we are working on with partners who understand the opportunity – but MANY more partners are needed; from government, non-profits, education, economic development, foundations and business. If you would like to be involved or you would like more information, please feel free to reach out to us at info@GoMobileMichigan.org.
Linda Daichendt is the Executive Director of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan, a Co-founder of Mobile Monday Michigan, a Co-host/Co-producer of the international mobile marketing podcast series, ‘The Mobile Marketing Review’ and a Co-host of the ‘This Week in Small Business Technology’ podcast series on the Michigan Business Network. She is also a Board Member for the Michigan STEM Partnership.
Linda is an accomplished marketer and award-winning blogger, and one of Michigan’s leading proponents of the use of mobile technologies for businesses of all sizes – and in all verticals. She is a recognized business expert with 20+ years of corporate, small business and franchising experience.
A 14-year resident of her adopted home state of Michigan, Linda’s daily focus is on educating Michigan business, government and education stakeholders about the opportunities that mobile/wireless technologies provide to substantially grow Michigan’s economy, as well as insuring the ability for all Michigan residents to benefit from the jobs and businesses created by mobile/wireless technologies.