Higher Education in Michigan: Connecting Talent and Opportunity

By Alexa Ruestman

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


The mitten is home to renowned universities that excel both inside and outside of the classroom.

And last Wednesday, the leaders from Michigan’s 15 state universities gathered at the 2015 State Universities Summit to discuss current issues, collaborate to find solutions, and establish goals for a brighter future.

The inaugural event, hosted by Governor Rick Snyder, took place at Grand Valley State University and welcomed university Presidents and Trustees from around the state.

In his opening address, Governor Snyder emphasized the importance of working together to find common solutions to the challenges facing higher education in the state.

“You’re independent schools, but that doesn’t mean you have to work independently,” the Governor said Wednesday.  “At all levels, we should be working together for Michigan’s future.”

The summit aimed to initiate a conversation about connecting talent, education, and opportunities around the state. While speaking with Michigan small businesses and companies, Governor Snyder often hears that employers are having trouble finding enough qualified talent to fill all of their available positions.  Today, there are more than 100,000 open jobs on MiTalent.org that aren’t being filled because people do not have the right skills to fill them.

The Summit included several breakout sessions, with topics like enrollment and diversity, as well as a Presidents’ panel, moderated by Grand Valley President Thomas Haas and featuring Ferris State University President David Eisler, Central Michigan University President George Ross, and Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon.

The biggest takeaway from the event was that the conversation started needs to continue. Governor Snyder encouraged the Presidents and Trustees to bring the discussion back to their campuses, and maintain an open dialogue among all of Michigan’s universities.