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Business leaders and educators are joining forces to solve Michigan's education problems

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Some of Michigan’s most influential business and education leaders say they plan to work together to improve the state’s education system.

The coalition officially unveiled Launch Michigan in Lansing today.

Doug Rothwell, the president and CEO of Business Leaders of Michigan, calls this a “transformational moment.”

“The reality is today Michigan faces a talent shortage.  We’re creating jobs faster than we’re able to develop the talent to fill them,” says Rothwell. “And this problem is only going to grow worse because too many of our kids are graduating without the skills they need to be successful.”

Coalition members say they will start by working on policies and strategies they already agree on and work from there.

But coalition members admit they’ve often been on opposite sides of many education issues.And divisions remain.

Wanda Cook-Robinson is the Oakland Schools Superintendent and a representative of the School Finance Collaborative. She says, despite their differences, the different leaders promise to work together.

“There’s a commitment to see this through. We’ve already had several meetings. We started with where we agree. And believe it or not, it was a little bigger than this,” Cook-Robinson says as she holds her fingers slightly apart. “But we’re going to build on that.”

Organizers say their goal is to develop education policies that will extend well beyond the election cycle.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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