New State of Education Report Details Education and Talent Needs of the Region

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s inaugural State of Education report serves as a call to action that change is needed to improve outcomes for education and talent to guarantee economic prosperity for the region. Chamber Chief Operating Officer Tammy Carnrike presented the report to more than 150 attendees at the new State of the Region session “Detroit 2030: From Education Crisis to Talent Hub.” Here are the key takeaways:

Though disparities in postsecondary outcomes exist between the city and the region, the region as a whole lags behind the nation in key measures

The leaks in the regional talent pipeline, where students are dropping off before earning a degree, exist not at just one stage but are prevalent throughout the pipeline.

With only 47% of regional students who enroll in college persisting to graduate after six years, there is a need to not just enroll students in postsecondary education but to ensure they earn a degree or credential, according to the Michigan Education Data Center.

The Detroit region, more than any of its national peers, must make education attainment a top priority to compete in today’s increasingly complex economy.

According to the U.S. Census American Community Survey One-Year Estimates, there are 694,995 regional adults who have postsecondary experience, but “stopped out” before earning a credential. Reengaging these adult students provides a significant opportunity for increasing education attainment.

In 2017, 36% of college graduates left the state within 12 months of graduating, according to Michigan State University Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. Keeping the educated talent in our state post-graduation will contribute to increasing the population of adults with degrees.

State of Education: Detroit’s Turnaround

Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District, discussed the city’s challenges in improving its schools, naming poor infrastructure and need for support from the business community as some of its challenges. Carnrike discussed with Vitti the district’s achievements in recent years, and its areas for opportunity.

Detroit students lag behind students in surrounding school districts because of economic inequality, said Vitti. Public schools in wealthier districts receive considerably more funding per student, giving them the advantage over Detroit students.

“To educate the average Detroiter takes more funding than educating the average Birmingham student,” Vitti said.

Students also face non-academic relation issues, Vitti explained. He notes that social-economic factors should not be discounted, including food and housing, and that Michigan has been stagnant from a systems policy perspective.

“We have to think about strategies and investments to change that.”

Carnrike asked Vitti on what he considers to be the district’s two-year priority challenges. Vitti named investing in teachers, career opportunities for students, and infrastructure.

“Facilities do matter – our schools are deteriorating,” said Vitti. “By 2023, our buildings would need 1.5 billion dollars. The state does not mark one cent for capital improvement.”

While the district struggles in many areas, it has made strides in recent years. Enrollment has increased for the first time in over a decade, said Vitti. And most students showed improvement individually.

“Our level of improvement outpaced the rest of the state,” said Vitti.

Detroit 2030: From Education Crisis to Talent Hub

Education and Talent’s Crucial Impact on Detroit’s Economic Growth

Last week, during State of the Region’s “Detroit 2030: From Education Crisis to Talent Hub,”  experts discussed the importance of education along with talent attraction and retention in relation to Detroit’s continual progress, and the necessity to train today’s talent for jobs of the future to ensure steady economic growth.

The War for Talent: A Global View with Kelly Services’ George Corona

Over the last decade, the shifting global talent landscape has proven a challenge for businesses as they struggle to keep up with digital disruption, aging workforces, and widening skill gaps.

“The biggest challenge to global growth is having access to talent,” said keynote speaker George Corona, retired president and CEO of Kelly Services, Inc. “If you hope to survive, you’re going to have to change.”

The war for talent is a product of companies, regions, and countries competing for the same talent pool. Businesses must find different ways to approach the workforce, changing social norms, and technology’s influence on the workforce.

Technology’s significant and disruptive impact is changing the skills required to compete in the workforce due to innovations like Artificial Intelligence. By 2022, 133 million new jobs will emerge meaning the global workforce will have to be reskilled to meet those new needs.

“The number one thing Detroit has to do to avoid a slow-growth future is to retain and redeploy workers at scale to meet talent needs of the companies of the future,” Corona said. “Together we have a responsibility to change the course of our future and invest in the talent we have.”

Detroit’s Talent Market: Now vs. the Future

At the local level, starting talent development in K-12 by investing in programs and mentorships dedicated to learning tech skills will help Detroit’s students qualify for jobs of the future, creating opportunities and benefiting the economy.

“Five years from now, ten years from now, those students will be prime candidates to work for us,” said KimArie Yowell, vice president of talent development for Quicken Loans. “We’re competing with Ford, we’re competing with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, so we have to think differently about how we’re doing that.”

Post-secondary attainment is also vital for the future of the region. Companies must tell their legislators how critical investing in talent is for companies in the present and future, said Brandy Johnson, advisor of post-secondary education and workforce development for the State of Michigan.

“We need, as business leaders, to say we’re going to do this,” said Frank Venegas Jr., chairman and CEO of Ideal Group. “We’re creating these opportunities; we’re creating successes all over.”