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Six things Michigan could do to build better-paying jobs

6-thingsWhat’s on our Christmas list? Six things experts say would help turn around Michigan’s dismal jobs forecast.

Improve early reading

Reading proficiency in early grades has a huge impact on academic success. Invest in intensive intervention as needed in schools, and encourage parents to read to their children.

Decrease college dropouts

Michigan is above average at getting kids into college, but is below average at keeping them there. Offer tax incentives to keep students in school, and mandate intensive counseling for at-risk students at public universities.

Fix the roads

Michigan’s roads and bridges are key to attracting business, and they’re badly in need of repair. Investing in infrastructure may be boring, but it’s vital.

Become a diploma magnet

Michigan has a net loss of college grads, with more moving out than moving in. Michigan could offer student loan forgiveness for Michigan college grads who stay here, and tax incentives to lure college grads from other states.

Push post-high school training

Just a little education past high school – whether a training certificate program or an associate’s degree – can make a huge difference in pay. More money for community colleges, and more coordination between businesses and training programs.

Match degrees to jobs

Michigan universities produce more teachers, lawyers and journalists than are needed, and not enough grads trained in computer technology and personal finance. Universities need to beef up career counseling early in students’ college years to raise the odds they can find work after they graduate.

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