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      Career program offers jobless execs new skills

      Executives and top dogs out of work are encouraged to sign up for a 12-week career program offered by the state.

      Michigan Shifting Gears offers participants professional career assessment, one-on-one career coaching, access to networking events and workshops.

      They'll also be paired with a mentor for resume critiques and help with interview skills, and be placed in an 80-hour internship with a Michigan small business.

      Christopher Barker, a recent graduate of the Shifting Gears program, says the networking skills were the most valuable part of the program.

      "When you network you make a contact, a warm contact,?? said Barker, who gave an overview of the program at Kettering University Wednesday.

      ??So when you network you can maybe send the resume to that person who can maybe give you a reference, a recommendation, and people want to hire people that they know."

      The fall session of Shifting Gears begins September 18.

      The program costs $500, but is valued at $5,000.

      Visit http://www.mitalent.org/MICHIGAN-SHIFTING-GEARS-PROGRAM/ if you??re interested in applying for the program.