Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), a Detroit-based organization of senior executives from Michigan’s largest employers, today released its goals for improving the state’s business environment, as well as the data it used to make its recommendations.
Michigan’s keys along the road to being a Top 10 state for economic success, according to BLM, are the ability to compete for good jobs, maintain fiscal stability, invest in people, build strong communities, and leverage its strengths.
“We’re doing better, but not best,” says Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of BLM. “We are proposing policy solutions to some of Michigan’s toughest challenges.”
The organization has identified six priorities for 2020 that it believes will have the most immediate, meaningful impact on improvement:
- Partner with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to establish the best business attraction program in the nation by implementing best practices.
- Improve Michigan’s pre-K through 12th grade performance by advocating for adoption of Launch Michigan’s recommendations and directing more existing funding to the classroom.
- Strengthen Michigan’s talent base by developing a strategy to attract more immigrants and out-of-state talent.
- Design recommendations to improve alignment between community college outcomes and current and future workforce needs.
- Advocate for legislation that raises sufficient and sustainable revenue to improve the state’s roads and bridges.
- Partner with state government and key regions to identify actions that will leverage key industries for further economic growth.
“Our strategic plan is shorter than it has been in the past, but the work that remains requires tenacity – something Michigan has had difficulty sustaining,” says Rothwell. “When times are relatively good, which they are now, we don’t feel the same sense of urgency to act. As a result, our progress has slowed relative to other states, which the benchmarking data clearly shows. We should use this data as the fuel needed to act on the policy solutions we suggest will have the greatest impact on creating more good jobs for more people.”
While the state has improved in some areas – such as per capita GDP and surpassed other states in the number of middle-class households – it has not been successful in improving the educational attainment of children to the level that they’re prepared to succeed in the jobs of the future, according to data used by BLM. The entire report can be found here.
“For the first time at BLM, we’ve combined our plan with the independent data it’s based on,” says Rothwell. “Each statistic links to relevant recommendations that will improve our ranking and boost economic measures for all the people who call this state home.”
Overall, the BLM expects the state’s economic growth will continue to lag that of the United States though it is generally more optimistic about both the state and national economies in 2020 than earlier in 2019.
“The business leaders for Michigan’s largest companies continue to believe Michigan’s economy is more likely to grow slower than the nation as a whole – something already well underway,” says Rothwell.