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Gov Wants To Marshal Up $100M To Fill Talent Gap

February 27, 2018

In the unveiling of his “Marshall Plan for Talent,” Gov. Rick Snyder Thursday kept going back to one key projection: That Michigan will have more than 811,000 career openings to fill through 2024 in fields that are facing a talent shortage.

If those jobs in fields like information technology, manufacturing, health care and other professional trades aren’t filled, Snyder said, “that would be tragic.” The problem is that Snyder believes the current system isn’t working for connecting people to the jobs and careers they need.

The solution? Snyder’s “Marshall Plan” — named after the $13 billion investment the U.S. made into post-WWII Europe in 1948. It would call for a $100 million injection for a “five-year work plan” to go toward a mix of existing and new programs, as well as investments into scholarships, teachers and career exploration for students.

The idea is that the state, according to the Governor’s press release, “Needs to make dramatic, innovative changes to the way it prepares people for careers.” The Governor wants the investment to pay off in the form of 55,000 “success stories” but added he wants to do better than that.

The Governor said he’s been asked what happens if the Marshall Plan doesn’t happen in Michigan. 

“I told them: We would be OK. Does anyone view OK as OK?” he asked. “It’s not.” The Governor said his plan would ensure Michigan would lead in this area, and not be led. 

Snyder Thursday unveiled this Marshall Plan, which he’s been hinting at for some time, during an event at the Michigan Science Center in Detroit. 

The Governor said it might take time for everyone to “appreciate” his program. Snyder spokesperson Ari Adler said the Governor is planning to work with lawmakers on making this a one-time investment in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget, which lawmakers have begun work on this month. 

The Governor acknowledged that at least half of the $100 million would go toward existing programs. Among those listed at the Marshall Plan website include the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance and the Top 10 in 10 initiative headed by state Superintendent Brian Whiston, also in attendance at the press conference. 

Snyder said $25 million would be directed toward students in the form of scholarships inspired by the Detroit Promise and Flint Promise, except these would be going statewide. 

On the investment-in-educators piece, Snyder emphasized that there are good people in the system, and made sure to recognize teachers. But his goal would be to help them to get the credentials and experience they need to teach in some of the career fields that would be facing that talent gap. 

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said that no other state is doing what the Governor was about to propose. 

House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) were also present and given speaking roles at Thursday’s press conference.

Leonard called the Governor’s plans “a huge step” in the right direction and said, “Let’s go get it done.” Meekhof said, “Everybody’s going to want to be in Michigan because that’s where the cool kids are — and even the nerds,” with a gesture back toward the “One Tough Nerd.” 

Also part of the presentation was a video montage of various corporate executives throwing their support behind Snyder’s vision. Among them included Chris Ilitch of the Ilitch Holdings empire, Roger Penske, Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe, DTE Energy Chair and CEO Gerry Anderson and Patrick Doyle of Domino’s Pizza. 

And the Governor did address why he named his talent plan after the U.S.-funded European recovery program named after then-U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall. 

The Governor said that American investment made into Europe on a one-time basis helped transform the continent into one of the leading world economies. In the same vein, Snyder and crew said this Marshall Plan is intended to make Michigan a world leader, as well.

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