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Michigan officials, union leaders push public employment amid shortage

Michigan officials and union leaders are raising awareness of staffing shortages in public sector jobs.

State of Michigan Employment

The state’s job search portal showed 640 openings as of Friday afternoon.

Jacob Brown works in the state Department of Natural Resources. He estimates only around a third of recruit academy classes make it three years on the job, and that means worse outcomes for Michigan and its communities.

“So, it puts a burden on the longtime people who have been there, puts a burden on us to train people for making the job a little bit easier for the public, and then we don’t get a really good chance to get out and get fully deep into these projects that probably could’ve been done a lot better,” Brown said.

Brown said changes like boosting the public pension system could help boost retention.

Meanwhile, state officials say legislative changes like rolling back taxes on retirement income are already making public sector jobs more desirable.

“I think that the work that we’ve done to restore worker’s protections and the work that we’re in the Legislature have been working through in terms of the bargaining rights, etc., show that you should have the ability to sit at the table with the people who you work with everyday to come out with an arrangement that works for everyone in the party. That is respect on both sides of that table,” said Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist.

Friday’s event was part of a nationwide listening tour from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

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