Southwest Michigan talent development and employment successes were among those celebrated by state leaders at the Michigan Works! Association Impact Awards this week.
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, local lawmakers and statewide talent development officials gathered in Lansing on Wednesday, March 4 to recognize St. Joseph resident Nikolay Bagaev, Eagle Technologies, Lake Michigan College and Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren, Powered by Kinexus, for investing in future talent through an apprenticeship program and providing continuing education opportunities for apprentices and employees.
Nikolay Bagaev came to Eagle Technologies in April 2016 hoping to continue a career in the machine tool/industrial technology trade. He had been laid off from his previous employer due to lack of work but he provided a letter of recommendation from the president of the company where he used to work, which ultimately helped get him hired at Eagle.
Bagaev grew up in Russia, graduated high school and then earned a degree in agricultural engineering. After relocating to the United States, he attended Lake Michigan College and earned and Associates Degree in industrial technology, CNC machinist. When he came to Eagle he said he wanted to continue his studies through an apprenticeship and he said he wanted to become a U.S. citizen. On May 3, 2016, he passed his citizenship test in Detroit and soon after was hired and enrolled into Eagle’s apprenticeship program.
Bagaev excelled as an apprentice, earning a 4.0 GPA in his course studies. He proudly graduated from the apprenticeship program in April 2019. He recently purchased his first home and has been one of the most dedicated and hard-working team members Eagle has ever hired.
“We are very proud of Nikolay and all of his accomplishments,” said James Hemphill, machining manager at Eagle. “We are honored to have him as a member of our machining group.”
Michigan Works! helped Eagle secure funding through the Going PRO Talent Fund to purchase tools for all of their first-year apprentices and coverage for college courses at Lake Michigan College for all first- through fourth-year apprentices. Going PRO funding also allowed Eagle to send all first-year apprentices to the six-week pre-apprenticeship academy at Lake Michigan College.
The Impact Awards, hosted by Michigan Works! Association, recognize the economic development success being achieved in communities across Michigan. During the event, local lawmakers present tributes to dozens of honorees from across the state.
“This thriving apprenticeship program, and Nikolay’s success, illustrate that investing in talent development is essential to recruit and attract the best talent in the region,” said state Sen. Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Township). “Congratulations to Nikolay, Eagle Technologies, Lake Michigan College and Berrien, Cass, Van Buren Michigan Works! on the success of this great apprenticeship program!”
Award winners included employers, workers, Michigan Works! organizations, and partners from across the state.
“The success of this program is a testament to how community partners can work together to offer great career opportunities in our region,” said state Rep. Pauline Wendzel (R-Coloma). “Thank you to Kinexus for providing talent solutions to help local companies and congratulations to everyone who worked hard to solve this talent gap.”
Michigan Works! Association is a non-profit membership organization that provides services and support to Michigan’s talent eco-system. For over 30 years, the Association has been the go-to resource for federal, state and local workforce initiatives.
The Association’s work ensures top-quality services and support for Michigan’s talent pipeline. For more information, please visit michiganworks.org. Find the nearest Michigan Works! American Job Center by visiting http://michiganworks.org/agencies/map or by calling (1 800) 285-WORKS (9675).