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Registration Now Open for Summer Session of Michigan Shifting Gears

LANSING -- Michigan Shifting Gears, an intensive career transition program to help experienced professionals fine-tune their skills to fit the needs of small businesses and start-ups, kicks off a new three-month training session on June 26.

Registration for the summer 2012 session is open now through close of business Monday, June 11.

Launched in 2009 by Ann Arbor Spark and Sensei Change Associates and now supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Michigan Shifting Gears provides a unique opportunity for seasoned professionals to learn how to put their significant talents and experience to work in an entrepreneurial environment.

"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 highly educated professionals are looking for new career opportunities.  Michigan Shifting Gears provides these professionals with a roadmap to their next great job, and helps us keep top talent right here in Michigan."

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.  Each student is paired with a volunteer mentor from the entrepreneurial community who works one-on-one to help them improve their communication skills, review their resume and provide career advice.

Each participant also completes an 80-hour pro bono internship with a small Michigan business. The internship allows participants to gain first-hand experience working 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 view an informational Webinar and participate in a Q&A session during which they will have the opportunity to ask questions about the program. Following completion of the Q&A session, participants will receive a link to register for the upcoming cohort. Those interested in participating in the summer 2012 session must complete the Webinar, the Q&A session, and register by 5 p.m. on Monday, June 11.

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-nine percent of graduates land positions within six months, and 80 percent find work within nine or more months.   The participation fee for the 12-week program is $500. The balance of the program cost is underwritten by MEDC to foster talent enhancement. Visit the Michigan Shifting Gears Web page for links to the summer session schedule, to learn more about the pre-requisites for enrolling, and to view the informational Webinar.

"These exceptionally talented people have skills Michigan cannot afford to lose," said Amy Cell, senior vice president for talent enhancement at MEDC. "Michigan Shifting Gears helps ensure that Michigan employers will have access to top talent now and well in to the future."

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