Why is Talent Important?

In recent decades, our economy has changed in fundamental ways. Economic prosperity is no longer based on mass-scale manufacturing. Success in today’s increasingly globalized economy is a function of one essential factor: access to talent. Today, the strongest driver of a state’s economic prosperity is the education level and skill set of its citizenry.

Highly educated and skilled workers aren’t just in high demand, they’re highly mobile as well. With telecommuting and frequent air travel becoming cheaper and more accepted in the business world, talent can be choosy about where to live. Increasingly, these workers are choosing to locate in vibrant metropolitan areas with robust amenities, infrastructure, resources, and personal and professional networks.

The data on our performance is pretty damning:  Michigan currently ranks 34th among the states in percentage of residents with a 4-year degree and 36th in per capita income. Put simply, we’re losing the global war for talent.

This means that Michigan must focus on policies designed to (1) develop more talent in Michigan by improving K-12 and making higher education more accessible and affordable; (2) retaining that talent in Michigan after it graduates; and 3) attracting more talent from outside of Michigan by building a strong major metropolitan area and vibrant urban cores around the state.

Focusing on improving the education level and skill sets of our citizenry goes hand in hand with supporting individuals' access to opportunity to create jobs and amenities in their own communities.

The Michigan Talent Agenda is not a partisan effort. The facts are clear: promoting the MTA benefits all of us regardless of political affiliation. Supporters of the MTA come from a variety of places across the political spectrum, and the MTA welcomes the support of all.

Paid for by Inspire Michigan, 2030 Hill Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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