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Workforce Development and Talent Retention

Talent attraction and retention in today’s scarce job market is the primary challenge many small businesses currently face. SBAM supports policies that promote skill development in the workforce, advance potential talent, and encourage workers to participate in the job market.

SBAM Talent & Workforce Policy Overview

Encourage & Equip Workers

Talent attraction and retention in today’s scarce job market are amongst the most severe dilemmas small businesses currently face. Public policy should help foster skills and talent development in the job market. Remedies should encourage and equip workers to participate in the labor market, including innovative solutions to provide sustainable, high-quality, affordable childcare for working adults with children.

Support Innovative Solutions

In recent years, Michigan’s policymakers have pursued several innovative solutions to increase the talent pipeline for small employers. Programs like Michigan Reconnect and the Going Pro Talent Fund should be continued and responsibly expanded upon to help alleviate the scarcity of qualified employees.

    • Michigan’s Reconnect program provides tuition free community college for adults wishing to return to school to obtain an associate degree or high value certificate. State support is tied to several objective accountability measures on both the individual receiving tuition assistance and the community colleges receiving support.
    • Michigan’s Going Pro Talent Fund, which is a public private partnership that connects Michiganders with in-demand skills and higher wage employment in skilled trades.

High-Quality & Affordable Childcare

Rising costs in childcare have become a major barrier to workforce development. Workers struggle to balance personal budgets while factoring in these exorbitant costs and some have chosen to leave the workforce entirely while they care for their children. Both employers and employees need urgent solutions from Michigan’s lawmakers. SBAM supports a robust childcare system that encourages and aids the creation of sustainable, high-quality, affordable childcare for working adults with children.


Year after year, employers face growing challenges finding qualified employees as Michigan’s workforce not only ages and retires – but shrinks entirely. Michigan’s persisting population loss has only accelerated these difficulties as the state has experienced net migration loss for most of the 21st To address these issues, policymakers must confront population loss head-on and pursue policies that make our state more attractive to residents and capitalize on Michigan’s distinct advantages. Amongst these advantages are the state’s ability to retain immigrant talent, which is one of the few areas where the state’s population has grown in recent years. Common-sense immigration reform must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses while protecting the interests of workers.

Immigration Task Force Report