In recent months, Michigan’s greatest assets have been full display. While the devastating impacts of COVID-19 have been felt around the globe, Michiganders have met the crisis with determination, grit and resilience. Our hospitals and first responders have answered the call with exceptional care in this time of crisis, and health care companies across the state are innovating improved treatments and working toward a vaccine for the virus.
That’s not all we have going for us. Michigan is home to a set of unique geographic, economic, and intellectual assets that give us an edge when it comes to growing jobs and boosting productivity. In fact, these assets have real power to be game changers for our state.
We have to tap our known strengths to help move Michigan to the next level when it comes to competing for jobs, personal income and economic growth. To get our state back on track, we must double down on our past efforts, and make continuing investments in these important areas of opportunity.
Business Leaders for Michigan has crafted a thoughtful, actionable plan for leveraging each of our state’s most significant assets. Through our research-based Road to Top Ten plan, we are prepared to move forward aggressively on seven key strengths, each of which has the potential to serve as a game-changer for our state’s economy.
These seven strengths are:
- Engineering services— Global demand is increasing for high-tech manufacturing industries such as aerospace, medical devices, and precision instruments. These and other industries rely heavily on quality engineers, who are abundant in Michigan.
- Automotive/mobility sector— Michigan has been a center for automotive innovation for as long as cars have existed. The state has a unique opportunity to continue to expand with the automotive industry, by transforming the existing automotive cluster to a hub of a diverse set of industries that meet the demands of global mobility. Michigan can increase its focus on multi-modal sustainable transportation.
- High-tech manufacturing— Michigan’s manufacturing heritage is being transformed to 21st-century digital production before our very eyes. We are a global leader in fabrication prowess and high-tech intellectual property—what’s needed now is additional investment and space to incubate new ideas.
- Higher education & start-up creation— Economic growth is being driven by gains in productivity, and gains in productivity are driven by talent and talent-generated innovation. As a primary source of both talent and innovation, our research-based higher education system represents a major opportunity to grow Michigan’s economy.
- Medical device engineering & manufacturing— The search for solutions in the life sciences is causing health care expenditure growth to outpace GDP growth in the developed world. Michigan already has a high amount of bio-science degrees awarded, as well as high-end medical research facilities paired with capacity in hospital and healthcare facilities.
- Tourism & agriculture— Today’s demand for natural resources is more pressing than ever. The provision of these commodities, as well as the development of technologies that maximize the production of scarce resources, is crucial for succeeding in natural resources markets. Michigan has competitive advantages in agricultural innovation, and can leverage its natural beauty to increase its tourism industry.
- Logistics— The movement of goods and people is crucial to economic growth and success. Michigan’s geographic location enables it to be accessible by road, rail, sea, or air. Michigan can build on this advantage by advancing as an integrated, multi-modal hub for trade.
To expand and develop each of these areas of opportunity, Michigan must unite behind clear, consistent strategies that help them flourish. Michigan’s Road to Top Ten plan recommends a focus on investment through public-private partnerships, a dedicated revenue source to be coordinated statewide, and the development of essential economic development programs.
The plan also calls for additional support for universities’ research and development capacities, so Michigan can continue to grow its own new ideas and technologies. Doing so will allow us to sustain our intellectual property leadership and keep powering the ideas that move the world forward.
In presence of COVID-19, Michigan must be smart about positioning itself for the future. We have a lot of economic ground to make up, but we’ll also have the assets just described to give us clear strengths to leverage and opportunities to pursue.
What’s needed now is for all of us to combine our shared purpose behind these efforts to move forward.
To learn more about Business Leaders for Michigan and read the Road to Top Ten plan, visit https://businessleadersformichigan.com.