Mid Michigan economic leaders discuss job talent in regional forum

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LAPEER COUNTY (WJRT) (01/24/18) -- Governor Rick Snyder made job talent one of his main talking points in his last State of the State address Tuesday night.

Many Mid Michigan economic development leaders also did the same Wednesday afternoon at the Thumb Region Talent Forum in Lapeer County.

Several leaders ABC12 spoke with say a lot of companies have expanded or are looking to expand in Mid Michigan, but because those expansions are so diversified, it makes matching the right talent up a bit more challenging.

"Manufacturing, it's logistics, its agri-business, its healthcare, it's information technology; so the key is we have to become more responsive to those business needs, we have to move quicker, not only at the K-12 level, but also at the college level and with workforce training programs," said Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership's Justin Horvath.

Economic leaders ABC12 spoke with say a big key to all of this is collaboration between employers, schools and other programs to address the needs of employers in getting the right talent.

Now talent wasn't the only thing they were addressing-- things like unemployment, transportation, retirement trends and underemployment.

"We have a lot of people with some college, Associates degrees, even Bachelors degrees for $10/hour or less and so those people have education backgrounds and experience that may qualify them for a better paying job but in many cases, they may feel discouraged or feel like they're stuck," said Janice Karcher with the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.

Economic leaders are looking forward to hearing about Governor Snyder's Marshall Plan he unveiled Tuesday night at his last State of the State address.

The plan is expected to help bridge the gap between schools and employers and help students find good paying jobs after they graduate.

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