The Marshall Plan for Talent

Jeremy Hendges of the Department of Talent and Economic Development (TED) sat down with OPT Student Assistant Arik Hardin to discuss Governor Snyder’s “Marshall Plan for Talent,” which was announced in late February. The governor’s plan seeks to revitalize the education system in Michigan in order to better prepare the state for projected job growth in the next few years.

The plan is named after the historic Marshall Plan that offered financial bailouts to European  countries following World War II. The plan was instrumental in assisting war-torn European countries in rebuilding and reestablishing their economies. The original Marshall Plan was an inspiration for Gov. Rick Snyder when he began planning his own bailout for Michigan, and he believes that, if implemented, the Marshall Plan for Talent will have a similar effect for education and jobs in Michigan.

But what is the Marshall Plan, exactly?

As Hendges described during his interview, “The Marshall Plan is all about taking a look at our talent gap in the state and looking at our education and training pipeline to see how we’re going to meet the demands. That’s very business-esque. The more human element is ‘How do we make sure that our kids and our adults are prepared to succeed for the careers of today and tomorrow?’”

The Marshall Plan seeks to fill these gaps and prepare students for future job growth by restructuring the education system to favor a new method of learning that encourages certificate-based education. Instead of relying solely on the four-year college model that does not always translate directly to high-paying careers, the Marshall Plan aims to favor more gradual, step-by-step learning that will encourage students to learn throughout their lives. This will allow future workers to build their careers more gradually, rather than being forced to decide their future paths when they are 18-20 years old.

“In the job market these days, the education that is required for a job, you’re not going to get during K-12. You’re not going to go to a post-secondary education and get a four-year degree and be done learning. When you look at the evolving job market that’s out there, people are going to have to continually get re-skilled. The ability to continually upskill and retrain is important.”

Utilizing a restructured education system, the Marshall Plan for Talent aims to help students find opportunities in numerous fields, including IT and computer science, manufacturing, healthcare, professional trades, and business. These fields are all expected to see massive growth within the next few years and, considering the pool of available employees as it is now, the State of Michigan might not have enough skilled workers to fill them.

“There are about 811,000 jobs we anticipate between now and 2024, and we know we’re going to have gaps there. When you do the math, in 2024 that’s $49 billion dollars worth of wages that are out there on the table. The average salary of these jobs is just over $60,000 annually. If we can get Michigan residents the training that they need to take those jobs, that helps out the state as a whole.”

Gov. Snyder’s budget for the Marshall Plan will cost Michigan $100 million, but when weighed against the enormous benefits that the effort could have within Michigan, it seems like an almost simple decision. For further information, visit http://www.michigan.gov/ted/0,5863,7-336-85008---,00.html.