Connecting skilled trades, talent and education for a brighter future in Michigan

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Friday, March 6, 2015
By Brendan Geraghty

Connecting skilled trades, talent and education for a brighter economic future in Michigan was the number one topic at the Governor's Economic and Education Summit held in Detroit this week.

At the core of our continued reinvention must be a commitment to ensuring that our young people have numerous future career opportunities in Michigan.  When Governor Rick Snyder spoke at the two-day event and met with conference attendees, he emphasized the importance of connecting talent with opportunity.

“Combining these two summits made sense,” Governor Snyder said. “We need to work together to be successful in both business and education.”

A common concern among industry professionals attending the summit was the availability of young, talented individuals to fill their employment pipelines.  That’s why Governor Snyder is committed to increasing the number of skilled trades professionals and better connecting the needs of employers with the education sector.

“Tomorrow’s opportunities cannot be realized with yesterday’s skills,” Governor Snyder said.

In addition to talent development and the skilled trades, the summit also focused on early childhood education and third-grade reading, two other key priorities for Governor Snyder.  Being proficient in reading by the third-grade is an important indicator of future success, and if a child is having trouble reading it’s important to address the issue even before they begin third-grade.

Along with increased funding for K-12 education, the Governor has set aside $25 million to improve reading scores and has created more than 63,000 half-day preschool opportunities for kids from low-income families in his FY 2016 budget.

As the Governor’s Education and Economic Summit ended on Tuesday, he was confident that educators and industry professionals were better connected and better prepared to address challenges moving forward.

“We have a chance to listen and learn from each other,” the Governor said.  “Let’s work together and understand that traditional barriers won’t stop progress and innovation.”