Invest in People

While it is critical for the state to focus on fostering an environment that will support economic growth and encourage business investment in the high-quality, rewarding jobs of the future, it is equally important for Michigan to invest in its greatest resource: the people that call this state home.

Michigan has made small improvements in fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math proficiency, and yet we remain near the bottom when compared to other states. Many students graduate without being college- and career-ready. If we cannot ensure that our children are able to read, write, do math, and graduate prepared to succeed after high school, not only will the next generation be unprepared to compete in a global economy, but businesses will continue to struggle to fill positions and the state’s economic growth will be limited. Michigan must harness the power of its people by investing in strategies that will ensure that every student in our state has access to a best-in-class education, is connected to career opportunities, and can enter the workforce ready to compete.

In addition to promoting education policies that ensure every child is ready to learn and advance, the state should implement strategies for supporting talent attraction by ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and supporting individuals facing barriers to employment.



  • Ensure every child is ready to learn and advance:
    • Maximize support for teachers, including: (i) promoting the profession, and (ii) providing robust training opportunities, up to date classroom technologies, and relevant student data.
    • Develop high standards for initially certifying teachers and establish ongoing evaluations of teachers for competency and effectiveness based on student progress and performance.
    • Maximize support for principals, including providing robust training opportunities to ensure effective leadership.
    • Maintain high student standards, with a focus on math, literacy and science to prepare each student for their path of choice after the 12th grade, including college, technical training or immediate career.
    • Improve literacy outcomes for K–3 students.
    • Maintain and strengthen the M-STEP assessment, and then maintain year-over-year test administration to obtain relevant data to assist teachers.
    • Explore a competency-based learning model to prepare students for 21st-century careers.
    • Support and maintain a uniform set of performance and accountability standards for all schools, school management and leadership that accounts for student growth relative to level of proficiency.
    • Adopt improvement strategies and provide the necessary support to remediate results where necessary.
    • Allocate any significant new funding based on relative school progress, performance, and equity.
    • Build better and more aligned support from educators, business, parents, government, and philanthropy.
    • Hold every level of the K–12 education system accountable for the role it plays in student outcomes. This includes school leadership and management, the Michigan Department of Education, the Governor and the Legislature.
    • Support Launch Michigan, a diverse partnership of education, labor, business and philanthropic organizations committed to establishing a shared agenda to ensure all Michigan students receive a best-in-class education.
    • Support a state constitutional amendment requiring the Department of Education report to the Governor to improve accountability.
  • Become a “Top Ten” state for dollars going to the classroom by determining the true cost to educate all students equitably and the effectiveness of Michigan’s current spending model:
    • Increase integration of reporting requirements.
    • Establish detailed funding and non-instructional spending and staffing benchmarks.
    • Encourage local education agency utilization of intermediate school district shared services.
    • Establish a state-wide pre-approved list of IT systems.
    • Centralize specific non-instructional activities into intermediate school district support centers.
    • Create a state-wide capital cost fund to support capital projects.
    • Centralize all non-instructional activities into intermediate school district support centers.
    • Consolidate the administration and back-office operations of small local education agencies.
    • Balance the number of local education agencies and public school academies.
  • Improve the connections between education, training and careers:
    • Provide parents and students with the information they need to make good career choices and select the best education and training pathways by increasing career counseling services and starting them upon high school enrollment.
    • Increase opportunities for high school and college students to participate in school-to-work transition experiences.
    • Increase employer participation in identifying workforce needs and developing workforce development strategies.
    • Require training providers, community colleges and universities to track graduate placement results, job provider satisfaction and non-degree outcomes.
    • Encourage the utilization of apprenticeships for high-demand jobs.
  • Increase the number of workers with an education and training beyond high school:
    • Increase in- and out-of-state college enrollment and completion rates without reducing in-state access:
      • Support a marketing program to recruit out-of-state students and increase in-state enrollment.
      • Increase the availability/use of high-value sub-degree certificates, transferability of credits, dual credits, and career guidance services.
      • Continue to increase at-risk student enrollment and graduation rates.
      • Structure financial aid as an incentive to degree or certificate completion while encouraging public service and/or working in Michigan.
    • Achieve “Top Ten” community college and university affordability:
      • Provide per student funding for public universities and community colleges comparable to “Top Ten” levels if universities or colleges meet or exceed the performance of top quintile peers on specific outcome-based metrics.
      • Increase the available amount of state student aid.
      • Expand the use of new course delivery methods and increase administrative efficiency through greater cross-institutional collaboration of back-office and support operations.
    • Improve the competitiveness of Michigan’s community college governance system, finances and outcomes.
  • Grow Michigan’s population and increase labor force participation:
    • Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, like we do for race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, height, weight, familial status, marital status, or disability.
    • Attract skilled immigrants and facilitate their relocation transitions:
      • Increase the number of H-1B visas.
      • Issue H-1B training grants to train American workers for which companies now rely on foreign nationals.
      • Exempt from the annual cap H-1B workers who have degrees in needed fields by U.S. universities.
      • Allow individuals with advanced STEM degrees from U.S. universities to qualify immediately for a green card to work and live in the U.S.
      • Establish a manageable legal system for workers who may not have higher education but are needed for specific sectors, including agriculture, hospitality and construction.
      • Adopt innovative strategies to attract immigrants to cities experiencing significant population loss, shortages of trained and capable talent and lack of economic growth sufficient to engage the chronic un- and underemployed.
    • Increase hiring of populations facing barriers to employment, including persons with disabilities, who may require additional accommodations, as well as veterans, returning citizens, and people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who may require additional training and support.


In per capita income


In 4th grade reading


In 8th grade math


In career and technical education enrollment