Michigan needs to make dramatic, innovative changes to the way it prepares people for careers to address an expanding talent gap in key industries, Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday, unveiling his Marshall Plan for Talent at the Michigan Science Center’s engineering theater in Detroit’s Midtown district.
Surrounded by interactive exhibits that allow youth to experience hands-on how mechanics and engineering move the world, Gov. Snyder explained how investments and partnerships to invest, develop, and attract talent will keep the state’s economy on track. The initiative is designed to help more Michiganders find good-paying jobs in high-demand career fields well into the future.
“Our state’s economic reinvention already has connected more than 540,000 Michiganders with new private-sector jobs, but many more jobs are still going unfilled,” Snyder says. “The demand for talented workers in dynamic fields like computer science and the professional trades is going to continue to grow as Michigan grows and we need to be ready.”
The plan calls for investing $100 million in new funding dedicated to innovative programs, including competency-based certification, assistance for schools to improve curricula and classroom equipment, scholarships and stipends, and support for career navigators and teachers.
The funding will complement more than $225 million in funding dedicated to ongoing talent development efforts in Michigan. Since 2011, the state has increased K-12 education funding by $1.9 billion, including significant investments in resources for career and technical education, middle college programs and equipment, and increased spending in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs (STEM) to get students excited about opportunities in these fields of study.
“The Marshall Plan will transform how we prepare our talent for the careers of tomorrow,” says Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. “By thinking outside the box and investing in the training that will prepare Michiganders for well-paying, in-demand careers, we will not just be competitive, Michigan will be the talent leader.”
Michigan will need to consider talent preparation changes for many fields, but shortages are likely to be most severe in increasingly high-skill, high-tech fields such as in information technology and computer science, manufacturing, healthcare, and other professional trades careers.
Gov. Snyder has worked with Roger Curtis, director of the Department of Talent and Economic Development, and Brian Whiston, the state superintendent, to encourage the business community to connect more closely with educators in K-12 districts, community colleges, and universities. Employers also need to adapt to changes in the supply of talent by changing their requirements for hiring, recognizing many in-demand skills can be acquired through certificate programs and two-year degrees.
Some employers statewide have already committed to working with community college and high-school certification programs to prepare more students to get hired in these fields. Existing job providers with partnerships include Microsoft, Cisco, FANUC, Ford, and GM.
Michigan will have more than 811,000 career openings to fill through 2024 in fields that are facing a talent shortage. To be successful, students need to master skills that lead to lifelong learning.
“The Marshall Plan for Talent is a comprehensive effort that will challenge and inspire government, educators, and employers to work more closely than ever and recognize Michigan’s economic future depends on their collaboration – because none of them can do this alone,” Curtis says. “The world is changing at a pace we could not even imagine. It’s not going to let up, nor will it wait for Michigan to catch up. This is our moment. We must decide Michigan will be the leader in investing, developing, and attracting talent, and then make it happen.”
The Marshall Plan for Talent builds on the work of Snyder’s 21st Century Education Commission, the recommendations of the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance, and the Michigan Department of Education’s Top 10 in 10 initiative.
Curtis, who was a member of the commission and is co-leader of the Career Pathways Alliance, says the state has some school districts and colleges with exceptional programs, and the state has partnerships with tech leaders, including Cisco, Microsoft, and Facebook. But the efforts need to reach all parts of the state so more students are aware of these career pathways and have access to strong programs, allowing employers to attract talent to create more and better jobs.
“The Marshall Plan will accelerate innovation at every level of Michigan’s system of education,” Whiston says. “Our schools will be hubs for career exploration, education, training, and partnerships. I’m excited to see how far and wide this will reach.”
Additional details about the Marshall Plan are available at michigan.gov/marshallplan.