MARQUETTE — Business owners, educators, students and more made their way to NMU today for the Upper Great Lakes Economic Talent Summit.

The theme at this year’s conference was Collaborate, Create and Connect.

Eric Chester, author of the book Reviving Work Ethic, served as the summit’s keynote speaker. He addressed both employers and potential employees about what it will take to succeed in the new workplace climate.

“My forte is helping people really understand the new emerging workforce,” Chester said. “As a former teacher and coach turned motivational speaker, I really understand millenials, the emerging generation, and I can help companies and organizations figure out what it is that they need to be doing to create a more dynamic workplace.”

He said it’s not just about training new employees but working with employers to better understand the new generation.

Given the driving sources of employment in the U.P., emphasis was placed on reaching out to students at younger ages, as opposed to showing up at end-of-education career fairs.

“I think reaching the students at a younger age is paramount,” Tony Retaskie of the Upper Peninsula Construction Council said. “We have to let them know what kind of career opportunities are out there, especially in our industry, which is the construction business with apprenticeship programs.”

The summit kicked off at 8:30 this morning. Aside from opportunities to network, converse, and question, attendees had the opportunity to attend breakout sessions in the afternoon.