Gov. Rick Snyder and the State of Michigan announced the Michigan Career Pathway Alliance this week. It creates a framework that builds and strengthens opportunities for students pursuing career and technical education. I’m impressed and enthusiastically endorse the alliance, which will benefit from partnerships and collaboration with business, education and industry organizations.
Snyder said that we all have an important role in making sure every student has the opportunity to explore multiple pathways to find a career that matches their interests and goals. And, I couldn’t agree more.
Why? Because Michigan, like much of the nation, is at a crossroads: manufacturing is increasingly healthy even as good, meaningful jobs are going unfilled because there are not enough skilled, qualified candidates. It’s a challenge for industry, education, and certainly for a state once a global center of manufacturing.
Knowing these challenges, 90 groups from labor, business and education met for months to consider needs – and potential solutions. Michigan students need work and mentoring opportunities, along with courses and training that lead to recognized credentials and job opportunity. Schools need qualified, experienced instructors. Industry needs the skill, ability and passion required by today’s advanced manufacturing.
The new Alliance addresses all of those challenges, offering a comprehensive, meaningful path to resolution.
I’ve concluded that it’s Michigan’s young people who will benefit the most. American manufacturing has always offered workers an opportunity for well-paid jobs and solid futures – and it’s more true now than ever. In 2015, the average annual compensation for manufacturing employees was $81,289 including benefits. Teachers, parents, counselors and students need to know about and share the opportunities available for those bright, creative young people who don’t always want to pursue a college program.
Michigan has seen a resurgence in manufacturing, and the future is bright for industry, enterprise and our energetic employees going forward. Manufacturing workers are an integral part of Michigan’s economy – and indeed the nation’s economy. They always have been, and initiatives like the Michigan Career Pathway Alliance ensure that same strength and solid future.
I’d encourage other states to take a closer look at this initiative!
Jeff Krause is the CEO and executive director of SME, a nonprofit manufacturing association. He is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organization, while leading day-to-day operations and working closely with customers and stakeholders to enable growth.