A new report released today by the Business Leaders for Michigan shows that while 70 percent of Michigan jobs in 2020 will require some level of education beyond high school, only 37 percent of the state’s current working-age population has pursued higher education.
“As our overall economy becomes more knowledge-based, we’re seeing a growing demand for both more skilled and highly educated workers, and a greater reliance on higher education to drive innovation,” says Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the Business Leaders for Michigan. “Higher education is one of the state’s most critical assets for moving Michigan forward. We need to ensure affordability and access, strengthen outcomes and employment transitions, and grow overall economic impact.”
The report clearly shows a correlation between educational attainment and per capita income, Rothwell says. With some college or an associate’s degree, salaries are on average 22 percent higher than those with a high school degree. For those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, salaries are on average twice those with only a high school degree.
“If we fail to produce this kind of talent, good jobs will get filled elsewhere and we won’t raise personal income levels here at home,” Rothwell says.
To strengthen the state’s higher education sector, the report recommends increasing access and affordability by boosting funding for schools; strengthening partnerships and collaborations; improving the transition for graduating students into employment; and encouraging higher education institutions to play a greater role in economic development.
According to Rothwell, the Business Leaders for Michigan are calling on business, higher education, and state leaders to form a voluntary council that aims to improve collaboration among higher education institutions and interaction with the business community.
“By taking these actions — which will be a shared responsibility of the state, the private sector, and higher education community alike — we have the potential to change Michigan in profound and exciting ways,” Rothwell says. “We look forward to what the next few years can bring.”
To read the full report, click here.