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The Welsh Wire: Bridging the STEM Talent Gap in Michigan Through College OPT Programs – Part Two

Dr. Steve Butt, Dr. Paulo Zaglo-Malo, and Lee Ryder.
From left: Dr. Steve Butt, Dr. Paulo Zaglo-Melo, and Lee Ryder.

How can your business adapt to the demographic changes rolling across Michigan and get the employees you need to be successful?

Last month, in the first part of a special presentation on The Welsh Wire, Sheri and her guests laid the groundwork for tackling Michigan’s pressing need for well-trained STEM graduates. Don’t miss out – listen to part one on SoundCloud.

This month in part two, Sheri continues her discussion with Dr. Steve Butt, Dean of WMU’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Dr. Paulo Zagalo-Melo, Associate Provost for WMU’s Institute for Global Education; and Lee Ryder, former Senior Director of International Student and Scholar Services at WMU.

Together, they explore an innovative pilot program aimed at screening and vetting STEM job candidates as well as simplifying the paperwork process for hiring international graduates.

Under this program, Welsh & Associates conducts initial screenings with international students interested in local business opportunities. They then provide a detailed summary of each student’s skills, interests, and long-term career goals.

“We’re offering this as a service to forge valuable connections, benefiting the university, students, and local businesses,” Sheri says. “Tell us what you need, and we’ll connect you with as many qualified students as possible. Then, you interview the students with your team. You select and decide who you want to hire.”

Dr. Paulo Zagalo-Melo highlights an additional benefit of hiring international students: expanding your business’s global network.

“These students are from countries where you may not have many connections. As your employee, they can help you establish your business in the markets of the countries they’re from, which is another dimension that is overlooked but is an important one,” Zagalo-Melo explains.

Listen to the full podcast of The Welsh Wire and subscribe on iTunes for additional informative, entertaining interviews with West Michigan business leaders.