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Marshall Plan Signed Into Law

The state is funneling $100 million this fall into Michigan's public high schools to train students for high-demand jobs over the next five years.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed his workforce development Marshall Plan for Talent into law at Muskegon Community College June 26th.

The plan, which was first introduced in February, aims to fill the state’s talent gap and better prepare students for high-paying, in-demand careers, by investing millions in innovative job training, workforce development and education programs. This includes $30 million to create and expand competency-based programs that result in competencies or credentials in high-demand fields.

According to Snyder, Michigan will have more than 811,000 career openings to fill through 2024 in fields that are facing a critical talent shortage. This includes nearly $50 billion in earnings on the table for Michiganders.

Much of the plan is focused on restructuring the state’s public education system to better provide students and teachers with the tools they need to adapt to the ever-changing job market. This includes establishing more competency-based certification programs, new curriculum and classroom equipment, scholarships and stipends, and support for career navigators and teachers.

“We need to provide a better pathway for students in helping them to develop a talent in the skilled trades and other career fields,” said Snyder. “We also need to get parents to be more open-minded about these opportunities that exist for their children.”

Snyder said one of the motivating factors behind the creation of the plan were the results of the 21st Century Michigan Education Commission’s report, which was released in May 2017. It identified areas in which the state’s education system fell short in equipping students with the skills needed to prepare them for college and a career.

He added that the plan is about creating a lifelong learning concept where people have access to more career learning opportunities to either be re-trained in their current line or work or receive training in a new area of expertise in order to keep up with the changing workforce needs.

“Many people enroll in one or two major retraining sessions during their career,” said Snyder. “We don’t have a lot of systems to do that for people here in the state. Part of this plan is to break down those silos and provide a better working environment so our education and business communities can better communicate, allowing them to work closer together, help to train people and develop in-demand talent.”

The fund will bolster career-oriented school programs to maintain a pipeline for students from graduation to jobs in professional trade, information technology or other top career fields.

Supporters say training students in technical and trade skills in lieu of only promoting a traditional K-12 education path is the key to filling the talent gap in Michigan.