Afraid New Battery Plants Will Expand the Talent Shortage? Consider African Americans for Tech Positions

BATTLE CREEK, Mich., May 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — “The advancement of Artificial Intelligence in computer training and development of electric vehicle, battery and semi-conductor plants has cleared the path for increased participation of diverse young people within the growing Michigan Information Technology cluster. In fact, a portion of this press release was written by ChatGPT,” states Ida Byrd-Hill, CEO of Automation Workz, a top 10 ranked U.S. cybersecurity bootcamp, known for preparing low-income, women and people of color for tech careers.

The Michigan information technology occupation cluster is overwhelmingly male (65.4%) overwhelmingly white (77.2%) and within the prime working ages of 25+ (88.4%).  Although young people ages 19-24 have been tech savvy consumers in the past decade, they only comprise 6.9% of the information technology workforce. African Americans comprise 7.6% of this workforce.

The most in-demand job in this cluster has been software developers as they have been leading automation, the process of using technology to perform tasks that were previously performed by humans across many industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and retail. However, the Michigan Information Technology Industry Cluster Workforce Analysis 2022 identified 22 jobs that make up this cluster that grew at a rate of 22% from 2011 -2021, a much faster pace than the total statewide employment growth of 7.4%.

Michigan IT Cluster Occupations 2022

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Market Research Analysts

Computer and Office Machine Repairers

Marketing Specialists

Computer Network Architects

Marketing Managers

Computer Network Support Specialists

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Computer Programmers

Project Management Specialists

Computer Systems Analysts

Sales Representatives of Services

Computer Trainers

Sales Representatives, Technical and Scientific Products

Computer User Support Specialists

Software Developers

Data Scientists

Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers

Electrical, Electronic, and Electromechanical Assemblers

Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers

Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers

Information Security Analysts

Web and Digital Interface Designers

Management Analysts

Web Developers

During this same period, the average annual salaries in Information Technology increased by more than 30%, from $75,500 in 2011 to $98,700 in 2021. While this cluster has a projected growth of 8.8%, the growth could be even more exponential as electric vehicle, battery and semi-conductor plants need to fill new jobs.

With the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Ida Byrd-Hill, CEO of Automation Workz is leading the West MI African American Tech Readiness Feasibility Study to answer this question: Do West Michigan African Americans desire inclusion within corporate tech transformations, tech training and/or tech careers?

If your company is not hiring African Americans for these tech jobs, assign an executive to participate within the West MI African American Tech Readiness Feasibility Study for the next 10 months. This Feasibility Study will complete five surveys to determine what the disconnect is in training, hiring and retention. This Feasibility Study is scheduled to launch at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24 at New Level Sports Ministries, located at 400 W. Michigan Ave. in Battle Creek.

As of May 1, these executives have committed to the West Michigan African American Tech Readiness Feasibility Study:

West Michigan African American Tech Readiness Collaborative

Alex Andrews, TalentFirst

Joshua Hilgart, Kalamazoo Defender

Alisha Davis, Grand Valley State University

Kara Beer, Battle Creek Chamber of Commerce

Alvin Hills, Midwest Tech Project

Kara Van Dam, Grand Valley State University

Brian DeRoo, Bronson Healthcare

Kellie Hoffman, Northern Initiatives

Pastor Chris McCoy, New Level Sports Ministries

Dr. Michael Horrigan, Upjohn Institute

Dr. Dennis Baskins, Kellogg Community College

Michael McCullough, Calhoun County Broadband Taskforce

Dr. Dennis Bona, EPIC

Pastor Monique French, Washington Heights United Methodist Church

Erick Stewart, LAGNIAPPE Community

Dr. Nakia S. Baylis, Village Network of Battle Creek

Heather Ignash, Battle Creek Unlimited

Dr. Preston Hicks, Goodwill Industries

Heidi Groulx, Denso

Rob Llanes, The Right Place

Jakki Bungart-Bibbs, Michigan Works Southwest

Dr. Sharon Vriend-Robinette, Corewell Health

Joseph Matthews, Gentex

Bishop Tino Smith, Kingdom Builders

Will you join them?

To find out how, visit

Ida Byrd-Hill is the CEO of Automation Workz, which has been ranked in the Top 10 Cybersecurity Bootcamps in the US training front-liners in cybersecurity, data analytics, network engineering, and software development. 

Ida Byrd-Hill is a graduate of the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor with a BA, Economics and Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University with an MBA. Ida has business experience in HR, Executive Search, Finance, Technology and Wealth Management. She is plowing her expertise into the workforce pipeline, having educated 15,546 persons, in STEM.

Ida is the author of 8 books, including Invisible Talent Market-Solving the Talent Shortage Without Outsourcing and Visas. She serves as a Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Director and is a member of AIAG, ATD, CEO Talent Council, Electric Vehicle Jobs Academy, German American Business Council, NABJ, NMSDC, Society of Automotive Analysts and SHRM. Contact: (313) 483-2126;

Contact: Ida Byrd-Hill

Phone: 313-483-2126

SOURCE Automation Workz