When it comes to talent, Michigan needs more of everything

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.

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Thu, 12/17/2015 - 7:28am
Can't argue with what is in the article but a variation of this same theme has been run probably 25 times in Bridge over the past year and nothing seems to be changing. The message appparently isn't getting out to those who need to hear it the most.
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 9:19am
I agree with this, but someone's got to figure out how to help the kids pay for the best education without saddling them with debt for the rest of their lives.
David Waymire
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 10:48am
Callie, you should know that state support per student has been slashed dramatically in Michigan over the last 15 years, largely due to tax cuts supported by the Legislature and signed by governors. In 2000, we spent about $1.9 billion on higher education; this year it will be about $1.5 billion. If we had just increased spending by the rate of inflation, it would be close to $3 billion. See the link below. If you want to point a finger at those responsible for rising college debt, point it at your elected officials primarily. http://www.senate.michigan.gov/sfa/Departments/FundHistory/FHhed_web.pdf
Garnet Lewis
Fri, 12/18/2015 - 9:29am
So true. Thanks for sharing the link.
Fri, 12/18/2015 - 11:44am
Dave you ignore the fact that higher ed has done a rotten job controlling costs for the last 3 -4 decades. Whether growth numbers of administrators, programs, faculty, athletic programs, employee pay and benefits, building programs, .... have blown away anything seen or experienced in the non-public sector. This is in the face of all the supposed cuts. Nor have these trends shown much slowing down.http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/education/colleges-increasing-spending...http://necir.org/2014/02/06/new-analysis-shows-problematic-boom-in-highe...
Sun, 12/20/2015 - 10:01am
The problems in Michigan are so deep and complex and a leader has not emerged who can address this complexity. All of the issues addressed thus far in this article and the comments are connected in a very deep way. The solutions that are needed must be balanced with head and heart solutions. It will take a 21st century way of governing to correct the problems of the last century. Michigan and its citizens need to be included in the decision making process instead of letting a partisan legislature bought and paid for by the 1% run this state, because as the state continues to spiral down, those old politicians will leave as well. The immoral decisions that have been made (I.e. Flint water situation and many others) in the last 2 years demonstrate the incompetence of current leadership. The first step is to elect a new generation of leaders.
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 10:03am
I could not agree more with your position, and the importance of "post-secondary" education for all Michigan high school graduates. But just as important is KEEPING our "young professionals" here in Michigan. I have observed many of our "best and brightest" leaving Michigan to find career opportunities in other states. I am not talking about finding a job, but becoming employed by an organization(s) that will provide career opportunities, well into the future. That responsibility rest with the public and private sectors of Michigan. Dr. Mike Shibler, supt. of the Rockford Public Schools.
David Waymire
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 10:52am
Exactly right. At a time when many college grads are leaving the state to find a big city that works to live in, and then search for a job in that city, our Legislature and governors have cut revenue sharing to support our urban communities dramatically. As you can see from the Senate Fiscal Agency document linked below, we have cut revenue sharing from $1.5 billion in 2000 down to $900 million, and now its up to $1.2 billion. If we had just increased revenue sharing by the rate of inflation, it would be in the $2 billion or better range now. If you want to know why cities are failing, look to your state elected officials who have chosen to make them fail. http://www.senate.michigan.gov/sfa/Departments/FundHistory/FHtreRS_web.pdf
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 11:35am
Many of my peers left the state for reasons related so social issues, too. Marriage equality and partner benefits were a big one. I also saw people leave for urban agriculture friendly cities, and for cities moving forward into green economies. I also saw friends specifically looking for bike and pedestrian friendly cities and stated with strong public transportation and rail networks. Strong, valued and supported schools another. Some of these, yes, come down to budget cuts- but under those cuts is an attitude that certain things are only for worthy groups of people. Education, transportation... even access to government itself. And the attitude shift has to happen in order for our budget priorities to change to draw them back.
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 4:21pm
The reality is that we have to start by breaking the culture of recongizing and providng added support based on who someone is and encourage them to be about what they do. When I look around Michigan I see places where all of what you want are happening, and not happening. When I look around other states I see the same things. While people are moving to those states. Have you consider the migration from California to Texas which do feel better meets you reasons for people leaving from and moving to? A couple of considerations, habit leads attitudes, and there needs to be a good habit before we can replace a bad habit. What do you want the attitudes to be? What are the habits that you feel would show such an attitude?
Fri, 12/18/2015 - 12:36pm
I question your narrative. My experience and I suspect what Mr. Roswell refers to, is that kids graduate and move the place with the best job they can find with climate, avocations, cost of living and family factors tipping the scale. I seriously doubt that public transportation and city services really rate that high on the list, unless they majored in Gender studies and aspire to be a barista at Starbucks or put that Drama degree to work at a community theater. As to the revenue sharing cuts you point at, I invite anyone to look at the directory of any major city at all the ancillary services, offices and positions and then tell me about that city's desperate straits.
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 11:44am
Dr. Shibler, As one of Michigan's "best and brightest", only family has kept us here. Our desire to move has had nothing to do with jobs; my degree and expertise means jobs in Michigan are plentiful for me. It has to do with gifted education. My three daughters are far ahead of their school grade levels, but our district provides almost no support for gifted learners. We have been blessed with several teachers who are gifted-friendly and well-intentioned, but lack the training to really meet the needs of gifted students. There are few districts in Michigan that provide gifted education and the state provides no support at all. Some other states mandate and fund gifted education. Some districts have committed to provide what gifted education they can given the funding they have. If we move to one of the states that supports gifted education, our children have a far better chance of receiving the education they need to meet them at their level and teach the invaluable skills of working hard, overcoming obstacles, and recovering from failure. I personally know several families who have left the state for this very reason. I responded to your comment instead of the main post as you are someone who can make a difference in your district and, by example and school of choice, through districts near you. I am very glad that Rockford has a gifted program and hope that you will continue to explore what opportunities can be created to meet the needs of these students and keep these families in Michigan. Thanks! Joshua
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 4:00pm
You seem to be like a horse with blinders, you are focused on giving to the student/employee, you never seem to consider the value the employer needs. You don't see that the individual/employee having in any of this. Why don’t people see employment situation as a sharing or exchanging value? I even wonder why people only see things with monetary value as important to student/employee and never consider the other facets of work, like the simply self-worth of doing a job, of working, of fulfilling a need for others. I wonder how many of those that want to provide other people’s money to others ever consider themselves in a similar situation to that of an employer. I wonder if they strive to get value for their money, if they pay more for perceived greater value. It seem the students and employees that seek jobs elsewhere are doing that. By all appearances the desire for helping students, for bring more jobs to Michigan, to getting higher paying jobs has not changed for decades, neither has the approach to getting such results. I learned from a former employer that when weren’t getting the results we wanted that we needed to change how we were approaching the results/problem. Effectively we had to decide which was more important the results or how we did things. How much do you want different results? How willing are you to look at the issue/results from a different perspective? The choice will determine the future of most of those you want to help. The toughest barrier we each have to overcome is the micro-culture we choose to be part of.
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 10:58am
Well then, surely it must be time for another round of business tax cuts as clearly the last ones were simply not LARGE enough. Let's go job creators, pedal faster!
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 11:00am
Oh, and Mister Rothwell, you say, "70 percent of all jobs are going to require more than a high school diploma" --- could you spend some time proving that please?
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 4:35pm
My starting point for approaching your question is what is the desired situation you want the current students to have when they start their adult lives; is it work statisfaction, high compensation, healthy communities? The next step is to accept that the means by which that was provide 50 years ago was based on leveraging physical capacity, today it is provided by leveraging intellectual capacity. To gain the most from that new focus of leveraging the individual [students of today] will need to develop their intellectual capacity [knowledge and skills]. That turns us to our K-12 education system, is it providing sufficeint knowledge and skills to the students to be at a level that allows for the leveraging? If not then they will need post secondary education. I think the 70% number is dependent on the level of compensation that is deemed necessary for a desired lifestyle. Whether it is a welder or an engineer, it is a chef or a physician, whether it is the homemaker or the professor their success will be driven by their post secondary knowledge and skills. Don't think that isn't being proven today in our state and society.
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 9:16pm
I don't believe the numbers. It looks like hype to me in an effort to make things look better than what they are. All Mr. Rothwell and his constituents have to do is create a work study program where the employer pays for the education (whether on the job or at a community college) Its that simple.
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 11:38am
Diplomas aren't important per se. They're a surrogate for skills. Unfortunately, higher ed isn't as good at teaching as it should be. Profs aren't trained in teaching. Most are rewarded for publishing; teaching is a distraction from their "real" job. Few profs take a disciplined approach to teaching. They don't read learning research, design courses appropriately, or measure effectively. The vast majority of profs are amateur teachers, not professionals. (This doesn't imply that profs are slackers. Judged by their actions, universities don't care whether profs teach well.) The bottom line: Michigan families are going into debt to pay for poor service. The stakes are too high to let this continue. There are no easy answers. Still, we should at least be talking about the issue at the state level. By the way, I've been a prof for almost 30 years. The teaching situation hasn't changed in that time, but the price of education surely has.
John Q. Public
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 8:28pm
I still haven't been able to identify a single job the requires a college degree. Only people do that. To wit: where I am working now, there are many people doing accounting work. Some are CPAs; others are people whose highest education credential is a high-school diploma. There are vacancies that occur for certain positions, the work for which many of the "only a HS grad(s)" are completely capable of not just performing, but performing well. Their applications are summarily dismissed with the explanation, "That job requires a degree." Employers value HOW you got your knowledge more than they value the knowledge itself. I'll bet more than a few would be amazed at how their alleged labor shortage would abate by half if they freed themselves from the "college degree required" psychic prisons of their own creation. That they find themselves at a competitive disadvantage because they deliberately discount enormous pools of talent already working within their own walls is not something we can fix by churning out more college grads. In the event that the BLM members disagree, maybe for, say, the next six years they could take all the money they spend on lobbying and direct it instead toward college scholarships for students majoring in the fields in which they find themselves with labor shortages.
Fri, 12/18/2015 - 10:53am
With regard to whehter a degree is necessary, that is the judgement of the employer. As best I can tell the purpose of a degree is to certify that a certain level of knowledge has been demonstrated. Just as for any job employers establish what level of knowledge they feel is appropriate for the job expectations they are seeking to fill. I expect rather then recreate all the kowledge validation efforts college employ for awarding a degree the employers deem it more efficeint and effective to use a degree in the screening process for candidate selection. There are certainly examples of those who develop the necessary knowledge and skills without earning a degree, Bill Gates is an example. However, for those of us who were not aggressive and recognizing opportunites, and wanting to work in a particular field found that without the discplined delivery of the necessary knowledge and the associated degree we were not able to find employment. The easy examples are in the sciences/engineering/education fields. Based on the level application the expected degree can be an associates all the way to a doctorial degree. Having had the opportunity of working with a wide range of people with and without degrees, there is no doubt that a degree does not assure an individuals success, neither does years of practical experience without a degree assume the necessary knowledge that a degree certifies. Employer may under use the knowledge of those with a degree, but it is the employer's choice based on what they find provides them with the best opportunity for success. As they the final answer is; what the market will pay for is what will be provided.
John Q. Public
Sat, 12/19/2015 - 12:10am
"With regard to whehter a degree is necessary, that is the judgement of the employer." Absolutely. The point I tried to make is that far too often, far too many of them demonstrate p--- - poor judgment, then act as if it's beyond their control or ability to find competent help when it's already on the payroll being underused.
Sat, 12/19/2015 - 3:09pm
I agree that there is talent in house that is overlooked by those making the placement decisions. However, the other part can be that those with the talent don't put them into the postion to be recognize. Whether it is a lack of confidence [by not having a degree and hearing that is what is expected, by not working at taking more activities to learn and demonstrate knwoledge and skills, by not being visible and taking on activites that may not work in spite of all the do, etc.] The reality is that it is easier to ask for a degree [in addition to the validate knowledge and skills, it also shows an ability to learn, it suggests persistance, a self discipline, a time management (espcially if they have worked while in school), etc.] and it may validate the the business if they are part of surveys that ask about employment of degreed people. It isn't a oneside problem [just the employer], it can be something the current employees need to address in their own behave. Consider that a college degree takes 4 years of full time attention plus part time work, why shouldn't a full time employee invest part time into expanding their knowledge and skills with focus courses or training part time [especially if the employer will pay for it]? Even for a degreed person they have to make an effort to present the employer with their potential, why shouldn't an employee be willing to make a similar presentation on their potential in that same job? Consider that a degree is one element of a person's visibility, why should the employee make an effort to make themselves visible outside their current job?
Fri, 12/18/2015 - 12:56pm
One of the now retired managers where I work never had a college degree and everyone else that had a similar job did have the degree, it didn't really make any difference as she knew the work inside and out better than anyone else and was promoted over the years for her abilities.
Fri, 01/01/2016 - 12:28pm
The end result of a sound education is the benefit to business. If business wants/needs educated people, let the business pay for education. The looming tragedy on the horizon is the fact that most college graduates are saddled with immense debt right out of the gate, leaving no room in their budget to purchase products that keeps business in business. I think the author of this piece missed the point completely. Add to this our single party government legislating from the stone ages, legislating only for the benefit of business.