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Growing Michigan Together Council Final Report High Points

December 14, 2023

On December 14, 2023 the Growing Michigan Together Council released its final report. SBAM President & CEO Brian Calley is a member of the Council. Here are the high points. You can also watch SBAM’s Small Business Briefing for a recap.

Establish Michigan as the Innovation Hub of the Midwest and America’s Scale-up State 

    Michigan needs a roadmap to transform our economy to a robust innovation ecosystem that will create, scale, and grow high-wage jobs; ensure we have the talented workforce to fill them; and create opportunities for all Michiganders to have a high quality of life. Aligned with other recommendations in this report, Michigan must embrace its entrepreneurial and innovation roots along with our proven capacity to scale businesses in order to create the high-wage, knowledge-based, professional, and creative jobs that will attract and retain talent. 

    For Michigan to compete and grow, we must develop a bold, coordinated economic growth plan that establishes Michigan as the Innovation Hub of the Midwest and America’s Scale-up State with a customer service approach that removes barriers and creates an environment where entrepreneurs and companies of any size and stage can flourish. A strategic growth plan provides stability and predictability, encouraging businesses to make long-term investments and enabling greater alignment among ecosystem partners (e.g., research institutions, industry leaders, startups, government entities). 

    Build a lifelong learning system focused on future-ready skills and competencies. 

      If Michigan is to become the Innovation Hub of the Midwest and America’s Scale-up State, we must have an education system designed to equip our students with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in this economy. 

      Less than one-third of Michigan students are proficient in either reading or math at either fourth or eighth grade levels. Results are worse for Black, Hispanic, and low-income students. 

      • Commit to the Michigan Education Guarantee that all students will develop future-ready skills and competencies to thrive in work and life and guarantee up to a 13th year of schooling if needed to ensure that all students achieve this standard  
      • Reimagine the job of teaching and the structure of the school day, enabling educators to innovate so students can learn for life 
      • Make postsecondary education attainment more accessible and affordable providing all students with up to two years of free postsecondary education and creating a seamless lifelong learning system 
      • Align governance and accountability across an equitably and efficiently funded lifelong learning system while clarifying roles, eliminating inefficiencies, and bolstering capacity 

      Create thriving, resilient communities that are magnets for young talent. 

        Our premise is that by focusing on getting the fundamentals right—housing; transit; and climate-resilient, durable infrastructure—we can establish the foundation for which businesses and talent will seek to locate and drive further investment in thriving communities. 

        For Michigan to compete for jobs and talent, we need a robust public transit system that functions well within communities and seamlessly connects people to their jobs, their region, and to connection points around the world. 

        Michigan’s relatively low cost of living in comparison to other states is a competitive advantage as we compete in a global economy for talent and jobs. We must maximize this advantage through the implementation of a housing development strategy that increases the supply of housing stock to support employees’ growth and economic mobility and addresses the lack of desirable housing and housing availability that has negatively impacted businesses’ ability to recruit and retain staff. 

        Future-proof our physical infrastructure to ensure that as we invest in communities, we do so in a way that responds to a changing climate. 

        These strategies align with key metrics that help drive population growth, including achieving: 

        • Top ten in household median income. By raising the median household income, we will have created more higher-paying jobs and provided the right education and training for our people to fill them. Growing median income is essential to ensuring a prosperous future for all Michiganders, including those who are currently underserved. 
        • Top ten in postsecondary education attainment. To increase household median income, we must also increase our postsecondary education attainment, which is directly correlated with higher-paying jobs and the ability to recruit the next generation of employers.  
        • Top ten in net talent migration. Retaining and attracting talent, especially young talent that is increasingly mobile, is necessary for population growth. Successful talent migration includes developing the jobs and places people are seeking.  

        The report does not recommend any tax increases.   

        Instead, it outlines a series of steps to consider to fund its proposals. First, determine whether additional state spending is even needed through optimization of current spending and establishing priorities within the existing state budget. Second, leverage opportunities for federal funding. Third, catalyze private sector collaboration and philanthropy, recognizing that government is not always the best or most efficient option to do the work. Only then, after all those steps and options are exhausted should taxes be considered. 

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