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Michigan governor unveils $100 million “Marshall Plan for Talent”

March 01, 2018

Investments in STEM education, apprenticeship programs, and tech-focused tuition assistance are among a handful of proposals included in the “Marshall Plan for Talent” last Thursday. The plan includes $100 million in talent investments and utilizes a three-pronged approach to training by addressing K-12 education, higher education and the state’s existing workforce. The funds would come from savings due to a state bond refinancing, according to the governor.

Of the $100 million proposed in the plan, approximately $50 million would go toward certificate programs and new equipment for schools and universities, $25 million would support student scholarships, $20 million would fund career exploration programs, and $5 million would help address a shortage in teachers in high-demand career fields, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. Announced last week, these funds are on top of the new investments in workforce development announced in the governor’s proposed budget earlier this month.

The plan would support a bevy of new and established initiatives. For K-12 education, the plan proposes to train educators to teach computer science and IT courses. Existing programs as part of the Michigan Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, modeled after a statewide robotics competition, would receive additional grant support.

Competency-based certification and education programs, developed in conjunction with schools and business consortia, would provide skills training for in-demand IT careers. An IT job apprenticeship program that specifically targets veterans, women, racial minorities as well as underemployed workers and structurally unemployed individuals, would also receive funding. A new program to provide scholarships and stipends for last dollar tuition assistance for students enrolled in a computer science or IT credential program would also receive funding.

Colleges and universities would receive curriculum development grants to support talent in IT industries. Additionally, high schools, community colleges, and universities would receive one-time grants to support the capital costs associated with adding more IT programming. A marketing campaign with the intention of convincing university and college students in Michigan and other Midwest markets to come to the state is also proposed.

The Michigan Future Talent council, a group of employers, policymakers, and educators, would convene annually to determine which skills and credentials the state should focus on. The governor also is proposing stipends to help workers overcome obstacles such as transportation or childcare.

In October 2017, the Snyder administration announced its intention to roll out the plan. A few days later, Snyder signed a supplemental education budget bill that invested approximately $12.5 million — an increase of nearly 30 percent — in upgrades to the state’s career and technical education programming and equipment.

In early January 2018, Crain’s Detroit Business acquired information on the plan through an FOIA inquiry and discovered that it was a key part of the city of Detroit’s unsuccessful attempt to lure Amazon’s second headquarters. Michigan pledged to support $120 million in talent-development projects as part of the bid.