Can Snyder’s ‘Marshall Plan’ fill the Michigan talent gap?

May 14, 2018 by

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Dakota Carter was 4 years old when he found his calling inside his grandfather’s garage.

He often hung around there to watch his grandfather doctor up the never-ending crawl of ailing cars in his makeshift auto repair shop. One day, Carter began helping and discovered he had a knack for fixing things, too.

“It seems easy because I can take it apart and put it back together until it works,” Carter, now 19, said. “It’s just the way my brain works. The more hands on, the better.”

Carter recently handed in his last exam as a student at Charlotte High School and began working full-time as a mechanic at DuroTech Automotive in Potterville. He credits much of his success to his school’s “Early Middle College,” a program that allowed him to take technical classes at Lansing Community College and stay on a fifth year as a co-op student at DuroTech in lieu of traditional coursework.

Career pathways like Carter’s might soon become more popular in Michigan. The term-limited Gov. Rick Snyder is making talent development his final priority through a proposal titled the “Marshall Plan for Talent.”

The strategy, which Snyder has been circling the state to promote, aims to fund $100 million in scholarships, career counseling, teacher grants and career-oriented programs within high schools. Its end goal is to sustain collaboration between the education and business sectors — namely for jobs in professional trade, information technology and other high-demand fields.

“Employers and educators need to keep talking to each other,” Snyder said during a visit to Big Rapids last month. “Let’s revolutionize education so learning is a lifelong achievement of knowledge and success.”

Simmering beneath this push for talent is the recent sting from Amazon passing over Detroit in the company’s ongoing search for a second headquarters. The Seattle-based corporate giant in January snubbed Michigan’s low corporate tax rate as well as the swaths of empty land in the Motor City and Grand Rapids in favor of 20 other cities.

Many believed the decision was anchored to Michigan’s steadily deflating talent pool after the Great Recession — a lesson learned for the future, said Roger Curtis, director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development.

Source: Can Snyder’s ‘Marshall Plan’ fill the Michigan talent gap?

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