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Register Now For Fall Session Of Michigan Shifting Gears

LANSING (WWJ) -- Michigan Shifting Gears, an intensive career transition initiative sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corp., kicks off a new three-month session on Tuesday, Sept. 24. Registration for the fall 2013 session is open now through Friday, Sept. 13.

"Michigan's economy is growing, with small businesses and entrepreneurs leading the way," said Michael Finney, president and CEO of the MEDC. "At the same time, many talented Michiganders are looking for new career opportunities. Michigan Shifting Gears provides participants with a roadmap to their next great job, and start-up companies with the skilled workers they need to continue to grow."

The program is designed to help experienced professionals, returning veterans, stay-at-home parents and others facing a career crossroads fine-tune their skills to fit the needs of small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups. Launched in 2009 by Ann Arbor Spark and Sensei Change Associates, Michigan Shifting Gears is a unique opportunity for seasoned professionals and other transitioning job seekers to learn how to put their talent and experience to work in an entrepreneurial environment.

Participants in Michigan Shifting Gears receive a professional career assessment and career coaching, attend eight days of workshops, participate in networking events, and take part in a three-day small business simulation. Students are paired with volunteer mentors from the entrepreneurial community who work one-on-one to review their resumes, provide career advice, and help with their career transition.

Each Michigan Shifting Gears participant also must complete an 80-hour pro bono internship with a small business. The internship provides valuable first-hand experience in a small business environment. In turn, Michigan Shifting Gears interns bring valuable skills and business expertise to their host companies.

Prior to registration, interested individuals are required to participate in an informational program overview and Q&A webinar where they will have the opportunity to ask questions about the program. Following completion of the overview, participants will receive a link to register for the program. Anyone interested in attending the fall 2013 session must complete the informational overview and Q&A session, and register no later than Friday, Sept. 13.

The early bird registration deadline, at a rate of $500, is available through midnight Monday, Aug. 19. Discounted registration at $550 is available through midnight Tuesday, Sept. 3. After that, registration through Sept. 13 is $575.

Payment plans are available. MEDC underwrites the balance of the program cost to help the state retain and retool top talent to meet the needs of Michigan's small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Michigan Shifting Gears has an impressive rate of success, with 49 percent of graduates landing new jobs within three months of completing the program. Sixty-one percent of graduates land positions within six months, and 82 percent find work within nine or more months.

For more information, contact a Michigan Shifting Gears program manager at, or visit

"Michigan is blessed with a talented workforce possessing skills and expertise we can't afford to lose," said Amy Cell, senior vice president for talent enhancement at MEDC. "Michigan Shifting Gears is one way we can help these transitioning professionals and at the same time provide employers with the top-notch talent they need to thrive and grow."

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit

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