When it comes to building a brighter future for Michigan, no factor is more important than providing our state’s residents the education and training they need to be successful. Children and adults become poised for success when they have the knowledge and skills they need to grow, thrive and contribute to Michigan’s overall prosperity.
But as we were just reminded with last week’s Michigan Postsecondary Credential Attainment Workgroup report, we still are falling short of our goals. Too many in our state haven’t obtained an education beyond high school or lack the technical skills necessary in today’s economy.
In an economy where 70 percent of all jobs are going to require more than a high school diploma, just 46 percent of state residents currently have the degrees and certificates they need to ensure strong prospects of economic and social mobility. Thousands of jobs are unfilled because we don’t have workers with the right skills to fill them.
We simply must do better. When it comes to talent, Michigan needs more of everything – virtually every type of postsecondary degree or credential will create value for individuals and the state collectively.
That is why each of our organizations has opted to join forces and create a dynamic campaign to encourage state residents to keep learning. The Michigan Higher Education Partnership Council, of which we are members, begins this week to share its “Keep Learning, Michigan. For All It’s Worth.” campaign. Through social media, online resources, and other public outreach, we hope to promote the value of an education beyond high school.
The campaign’s message is simple. It doesn’t matter what type of learning a person pursues – a certificate, a two-year or four-year degree or more – just as long as they continue to be educated and prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The jobs that pay the most and are growing the fastest require more education and training.
Here’s what we hope to accomplish:
- More Michiganders working. There were more than 180,000 online advertised job openings in Michigan in the second quarter of 2015, and half of them required vocational training or a degree. Between now and 2022, we know jobs requiring more education and training – long-term on the job training, apprenticeships, associate degrees and higher – are growing 25% faster than jobs requiring no college experience.
- More Michiganders earning more. The more education and training a person has, the more they get paid – period. Average hourly wages for jobs requiring more training or education (high school diploma plus long-term training or an apprenticeship, an associate degree, or higher) are nearly 50 percent higher than the average hourly wage for all jobs in the state.
- More Michiganders with greater opportunities. The more educated a person is, the more they are exposed to professional and career pathways that help them achieve their personal aspirations, all the while contributing to the dynamism of their local communities.
Last week’s higher education report recommended an impressive statewide goal – 60 percent of our state’s population achieving postsecondary degrees or credentials of value by 2025. That’s almost 15 percent higher than where we are now.
To achieve these goals, we need to help Michiganders see the value of learning beyond high school, and ensure they are getting the tools and training they need to be successful and fulfilled.
You will start seeing “Keep Learning, Michigan” messaging through our shared outreach and online presence this week and in the months to follow. We encourage you to like it, share it, and help make learning a hallmark of what our state has to offer.