The last year and a half for many of us has felt like running a never-ending marathon through unfamiliar territory. Many of us have lost friends and family, entrepreneurs have struggled to keep their life’s work going, and all of us have experienced some level of trauma. Thankfully, the last few weeks have brought some welcome news. Offices are beginning to reopen for in-person work, masks are starting to come off for those who are vaccinated, and Michigan has seen big drops in COVID spread and hospitalizations. Vaccinations of our most vulnerable residents this year have saved thousands of lives in our state.
With this progress, warmer weather, and a rollback of COVID restrictions, there’s definitely hope that we’re in the final few miles of this race. What we do in the coming months, however, will shape Michigan’s future for decades to come.
More than 260,000 Michiganders still have not returned to the workforce and many employers struggle to find qualified talent to fully re-open and take advantage of what looks to be a red-hot economy in the coming years. Talent shortages aren’t new, but with thousands waiting for schools to re-open, struggling to find childcare, and looking for new or better career pathways, it’s up to us to find ways to turn these challenges into opportunities for all Michiganders. We’re also going to be challenged in the coming years as technology disruptions threaten our dominance in mobility and as we continue to see the knowledge economy expand. What’s clear though, is that states with the best talent are winning the best jobs.
Michigan has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take on these challenges and “bend our curve” upwards with the more than $15 billion in flexible federal stimulus dollars coming to the state. But we aren’t the only ones with an unexpected windfall. States that invest in transforming education, economic development, and communities will be the winners. We can make sure Michigan is among them if we work together.
Let’s collaborate to move Michigan forward by making progress on vaccinations and not just recovering from the pandemic, but truly transforming our state.
President & CEO
Business Leaders for Michigan