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Spotlight On Talent: Rick Snyder

By Gov. Rick Snyder

As we continue to maximize Michigan’s momentum, a critical focus on talent development is key. We’ve achieved remarkable growth, but sustaining that growth depends on our ability to build an education and talent system that creates long-term, high-paying careers for Michiganders, breaks down barriers to employment, and shows employers that Michigan is the place to grow and invest in.

There’s a talent crisis facing our nation, and in Michigan, we’re doing something about it. We recognize the rapidly changing workplace and growing demand for talent, which is why we’re leading the charge in preparing residents for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Through the Marshall Plan for Talent, we’re breaking down silos and forging revolutionary partnerships between educators, employers and others to transform our talent pipeline and fill the more than 811,000 job openings in fields facing a critical talent shortage.

In many ways, there are antiquated perceptions about learning and how best to deliver a quality education and skills training. Sometimes, this prevents us from helping our young people find the learning and career paths that best suit them. That’s why we’ve dedicated $100 million through the Marshall Plan 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.

Since the launch of the Marshall Plan just seven months ago, we’ve seen tremendous support among employers and educators from across the state. Efforts by schools and businesses that were already partnering to accomplish great things are quickly accelerating, and new partnerships continue to form. In September, the application process began for education and business leaders to apply for more than $59 million in Marshall Plan grants to pioneer solutions to close the state’s talent gap.

Just as educators should look at how they can transform the learning process, employers should change their requirements for hiring, recognizing that many in-demand skills can be acquired through certificate programs and lifelong learning – and that includes breaking down barriers to employment. At the state level, we recently removed the checkbox reading, “Were you convicted of a felony?” that precedes occupational and construction code licensing applications, as well as instructed all state departments to remove the felony question box on the state’s website for state employment. I strongly encourage private employers to follow suit to give second chances to those who are ready to work and already trained for the jobs that employers desperately need to fill.

In addition, we need to do a better job of promoting Michigan as the place to locate and grow your business. Michigan is the home for innovation, career opportunities and economic expansion, and we need to be louder and prouder about that. We have an incredibly talented workforce, and plenty more residents with great potential. By continuing to break down silos, we can help Michiganders find success while powering our economic future.