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Education Leaders Push for STEM and Increasing Michigan’s Global Economic Competitiveness

The most successful states and nations will be those that educate their children today for meaningful work tomorrow. That was the message delivered by Joe Harlan, executive vice president of chemicals, energy and performance materials at The Dow Chemical Company.

In the session, “Mission Critical: STEM Education and Michigan’s Economic Future,” sponsored by Pure Michigan, Harlan cited the need for improved educational standards and focus on STEM subjects in Michigan schools. He emphasized that Michigan doesn’t suffer from a worker shortage, but rather a skills shortage.

A panel discussion immediately followed Harlan’s remarks, as leading employers weighed in on how the skills gap is impacting their organizations and what is needed to maintain a globally competitive workforce in Michigan. The panel included Walter Maisel, Ph.D., president and CEO of Kostal North America; Virinder Moudgil, Ph.D., president and CEO of Lawrence Technological University; and Marilyn Schlack, Ed.D., president of Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

The panel discussed the importance of developing outside-the-box skills, focusing on practical core competencies and strengthening the relationship between business and industry.