PRIORITIES

Growing Economic Opportunity in Michigan

Growing economic opportunity begins by investing in talent in our communities. We must train the next generation to take on roles in Michigan’s 21st century economy by connecting our workforce to the training that will prepare them for the trades, advanced manufacturing, technical, and cyber jobs of the future.

Michigan has always been a place where things are designed and built. Our state has an amazing history of innovation, from the creation of the modern automobile to the invention of penicillin. But the economy is evolving in our state and we need to face forward and change with it. For our communities to thrive, we must be serious and strategic about growing economic opportunity here in Michigan. That starts with investing in education, connecting our talented young people with opportunities in our businesses, and ensuring that our entrepreneurs and small business owners are able to grow by hiring talent directly from our communities.

Across our district, I hear from businesses big and small that they have trouble finding the local talent they need to compete. Instead, our companies are turning to out-of-state talent to fill their critical openings, particularly in IT, cyber-security, coding, and health care. At the same time, I am constantly meeting people who are unsure of the educational path they should pursue to prepare them for well-paid careers, and fear taking on too much student debt with the promise of a job in their field. I believe we need to get employers and educators together in one room, on an annual basis, to conduct a Michigan workforce planning summit that matches our business’s demands for talent with our great young people. If we have vacancies in fields like IT, we must stand-up sustainable job training programs at our community colleges that teach part time and train part time to fill vacancies in that in-demand field. Instead of our businesses spending money to hire out of state or out of the country, they should have the option to partner with the community high schools and colleges to train their own pipeline of talent.

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