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More Marshall Plan bills move out of the Senate/Gov top legislative priority moves to House floor

June 12, 2018

Article courtesy of MIRS News

The Senate passed a few more pieces of Gov. Rick Snyder’s Marshall Plan to create talent in Michigan Thursday, but the sailing was less than smooth as a couple of the bills in question faced opposition.

SB 0684, sponsored by Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth) and SB 0685, sponsored by Sen. Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) would amend the Revised School Code to modify the requirements of an educational development plan and a school improvement plan, respectively, to include additional information on careers, learning activities and other opportunities. 

In addition, the bills would also require schools to ensure that each pupil reviewed and revised his or her educational development plan as appropriate during each year of high school.

On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Snyder’s $100 million Marshall Plan For Talent — a collection of grants, scholarships and assorted administrative tools designed to link students and the unemployed with the training needed to fill in-demand jobs — moved through the House Appropriations Committee.

At least 85 percent of the Governor’s plan includes new programs that are being paid for through the state’s Higher Education Loan Authority, which apparently isn’t kicking out loans anymore and its assets outweigh its liabilities. 

Under the program, school districts and intermediate school districts can apply for state money to create classes in “high-demand” fields and the technical equipment needed to teach the class. There’s a pot of money for teacher training. Another pot for “career counselors.” And yet another pot for $500 bonuses to students and school districts for completing an “in-demand” workforce certificate in 2019 and 2020. 

A $20 million scholarship was also created to help the low-income candidates complete a community course or training in a “high-demand field,” defined in the bill as “professional trades, manufacturing, engineering, information technology, machine learning and artificial intelligence, mobility, health care and business.” 

SB 0941 and SB 0942 have already cleared the Senate and are expected to pass through the full House before the summer recess begins next week. 

“If Michigan is to become the world leader in developing top-notch talent with the in-demand skills employers are so desperately seeking, we must revolutionize our education and talent development systems. The Marshall Plan for Talent does that,” said Roger Curtis, director of the state’s Talent and Economic Development Department. 

The bill represents Snyder’s top legislation priority going into the spring recess. It moved to the House floor with only Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) voting no. Reps. Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit), Tom Cochran (D-Mason), Dave LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids) and Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) passed on the vote. 

“If we’re going to talk about really investing in our economy, we need to talk about the full picture,” said Rahbi, noting that the original “Marshall Plan” was about rebuilding war-torn Europe. “Look at our roads. Look at our schools. Look at our water infrastructure. There’s a lot of parallels and a lot of investment that needs to happen . . . there is nothing in this plan to address that.” 

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