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Addressing talent

April 1, 2019

Letter from the President

By Brian Calley

Lack of available talent to accommodate business growth is one of the top challenges we hear from small business owners. And it is not limited to any industry or region. Nearly every business sector in every area of our state is saying the same thing: We need more qualified people!

Several weeks ago, Governor Whitmer called and asked if I would convene business groups to discuss the principles we would like to see included in her MI Opportunity Scholarship and Reconnect proposals. I was very happy to accept. Her stated goal is for 60% of the Michigan workforce to attain a post-high school degree or high value trade/professional credential by the year 2030. This is essential to our long term economic health and SBAM shares this goal with her.

One thing is clear: Michigan will not reach this goal with graduating high school seniors alone. We must also connect more adults with degrees and high value trade and professional credentials to get there. The MI Opportunity Scholarship provides students with the immediate chance to continue their education past high school and Reconnect gives adults the opportunity to do the same.

The Small Business Association of Michigan, Business Leaders for Michigan, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce established a thoughtful and researched set of principles we believe must be included in these proposals for them to be successful and to warrant additional public investment.

Broadly speaking, the principles include Accountability Measures, Student Support, Student Responsibility/Ownership, Economic Alignment, Tuition Cost Controls and Fiscal Responsibility. Check out a more in-depth description of these principles here.

This is a big and important goal, but it is also the most important thing we can do to provide opportunity for our people and economic growth for our future. Over the coming months, we will work with the Governor and the Legislature to shape and pass the MI Opportunity Scholarship and Reconnect.

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