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Middle class lifestyle requires more education than ever before

Flickr user Newman University/Flickr

The Next Idea

Hundreds of leaders have descended upon Mackinac Island for the Mackinac Policy Conferencethis week. Their aim is to explore solutions to Michigan’s problems, and education across the state has been a big talking point.

One of those leaders is Doug Rothwell, CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan.

In a columnfor Bridge Magazine, Rothwell wrote, “When it comes to building a brighter future in Michigan, no factor is more important than providing our state’s residents the education and training they need to be successful.”

Hear his rationale for that statement here:

Rothwell said education helps maintain high-quality careers in today's world. That wasn’t always the case. He said in the past, you didn’t need an advanced education to have a good job in Michigan.

“We, in many ways, built the middle class, but we did it with, you know, kind of our physical strength, not necessarily always using our mental attributes to be able to do well,” Rothwell said. “And that’s something that I think is hard for people to realize today – that that change has happened awfully quickly, that now we all really have to be in this knowledge economy, even when you’re in the manufacturing sector.”

He said one way to maneuver the "knowledge economy" is ongoing training.

For example, in the past people would enter one career and stay there for life. Today, however, Rothwell said people tend to take on several different jobs in a lifetime. And with each new job, comes the need for new skills.

To hear more from Rothwell at the Mackinac Policy Conference, listen below.

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