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Group calls for more investment in post-secondary education in Michigan

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A coalition of education, business and other groups is calling for more investment in college and career training in Michigan.

Tuesday, the Michigan Higher Education Attainment Roundtable released the report Total Talent: Equipping All Michiganders with the Education and Skills Needed for Success in the Economy of Today and Tomorrow.

The report says Michigan needs to greatly expand the percentage of the state’s workforce with college degrees and technical certification by 2025.

“We know to achieve this 60% goal, we are going to have to make education affordable and accessible beyond high school,” says Greg Handel, with the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We’re going to have to be able to reach populations that we really aren’t reaching right now.”

Among the report’s recommendations:

  • Significantly increase need-based state financial aid to make education past high school accessible and affordable
  • More aggressive state outreach and financial support for 20% of Michigan workers already in the labor market with some college but no degree
  • Improve career/college awareness, counseling and advising at high school and college levels
  • Enhance collaboration between K-12 and higher education institutions to improve alignment and acceptance of credit in rigorous academic areas
  • Improve transfer and credit acceptance between various higher education institutions for seamless learning and credential earning
  • Increase high school student participation in all forms of powerful and cost-saving early post-secondary credit-earning programs (dual enrollment, early/middle colleges, Career Technical Education (CTE) and AP/IB course taking)

“However you slice it and dice it, there’s huge demand for college degreed individuals,” says Dan Hurley, with the Michigan Association of State Universities. “Which is certainly critical to their own individual prosperity and the state’s prosperity.”
The coalition concedes the state would need to spend tens of millions more dollars on student financial aid and school counselors.

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.