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Partnering to Keep Talent in Michigan

“The company is particularly skilled at getting its information in front of our future engineers and computer scientists and actively competing for that young talent by offering valuable engineering and volunteering experiences.”

To keep Michigan’s engineering and technical talent in the Great Lakes State, key partners need to connect with students. Consumers Energy and the MSU College of Engineering start early and generate the lessons, relationships, and network access it takes to turn freshman year experiences into serious career opportunities. 

In 2014, Consumers Energy hired 54 MSU summer interns, mostly engineering students, for their strong critical-thinking, problem-solving skills, and keen willingness to learn and communicate.

Often the company looks for people like James McCormick, a senior electrical engineering major from Eaton Rapids, Mich. After two years as a cooperative assistant at Consumers Energy, McCormick has created an off-the-grid learning curve for himself. 

“That’s what is really cool,” McCormick explained. “I’m in the field verifying that the engineering designs work by conducting tests and maintenance in electric substations. Sometimes I’m the last double check before they energize.”

McCormick said the internships have benefited him when he returned to campus. “I get to see how it all comes together and make sure it all works as expected. This kind of feet-on-the-ground experience lets me take what I’ve seen in the field and use it in the classroom.” 

“Consumers Energy is committed to attracting Michigan's next generation of talented college graduates to work with us,” said John Butler, senior vice president of Human Resources and Shared Services at Consumers Energy. “We're excited to do even more with MSU and the College of Engineering to build relationships with these students today." 

The vibrant strength of the MSU-Consumers Energy relationship was celebrated on March 20 at a ceremony honoring the company and the Consumers Energy Foundation’s recent $200,000 donation to the Cornerstone & Residential Experience (CoRe) program in the College of Engineering. CoRe is a first-year living-learning community program that works to “build the whole engineer” through integration of a range of academic, career-oriented, and social activities.

Representatives from Consumers Energy and MSU formally dedicated the redesigned second-floor lobby in East Wilson Hall. The updated lobby offers students a gathering space with charging stations and furnishings to encourage studying and socializing. 

Consumers Energy is a remarkable leader in welcoming and supporting our students,” said College of Engineering Dean Leo Kempel. “The company is particularly skilled at getting its information in front of our future engineers and computer scientists and actively competing for that young talent by offering valuable engineering and volunteering experiences.” 

Butler added, “We want engineering students to know they can work for world-class companies like ours when they graduate. This event at Wilson Hall is a symbol of our dedication to providing opportunities for these students now and in the future.”  

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility and the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, provides natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million Michigan residents.

For more information on making a gift to support the College of Engineering, contact Director of Development Stephen Bates at (517) 355-8339 or batesst@msu.edu

Author: Alisa Healy