State Group Launches Effort to Boost Economic Impact of Michigan Colleges


A voluntary panel comprised of state business, government, and university leaders have launched an effort designed to boost the economic contributions of Michigan's higher education sector.

"Our state's future economic growth depends on having skilled, educated workers," says Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, the group organizing the panel. "The council will help Michigan more effectively and consistently address talent needs by forging a public-private partnership that works through election cycles and leverages the strengths and assets of our higher education institutions."

Rothwell says the seven-member Michigan Higher Education Partnership Council will work to build public understanding of the economic impact of higher education, launch a marketing program to boost state college and university enrollment, and provide a common data portal that allows the public to see institutional performance.

"Michigan needs a lot more educated and skilled talent — and we believe the establishment of this council will accelerate efforts to address it," Rothwell says.

Rothwell says a Business Leaders for Michigan report from February says 70 percent of Michigan jobs in 2020 will require some level of education beyond high school. He says currently, 37 percent of the state's working population has more than a high school diploma.​

The panel is made up of members including J. Patrick Doyle, president and CEO of Domino's; Mike Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association; Daniel Hurley, CEO of the President's Council of State Universities of Michigan; Miles Jones, co-chairman of the board of Dawn Food Products Inc.; Blake Krueger, chairman of the board, CEO, and president of Wolverine World Wide Inc.; Robert LeFevre, president of Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities; Timothy Meyer, chancellor of Oakland Community College; Glenn Mroz, president of Michigan Technological University; Richard Pappas, president of Davenport University; and John Walsh, director of strategy for the Office of the Governor.