News for NMU Employees

BLM: Higher Ed Critical to Growing Michigan’s Economy

Michigan’s higher education institutions must play a more central role if the state is to achieve an economic transformation and become a “Top 10” state, according to a report released by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM).

“As our overall economy becomes more knowledge-based, we’re seeing a growing demand for both more skilled and highly-educated workers and a greater reliance on higher education to drive innovation,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM president and CEO, in a press release. “Higher education is one of the state’s most critical assets for moving Michigan forward. We need to ensure affordability and access, strengthen outcomes and employment transitions and grow overall economic impact.”

BLM’s report was developed in collaboration with higher education experts from across Michigan and the nation, as well as business, economic, and public policy leaders. It shows a correlation between educational attainment and per capita income.

“Seventy percent of Michigan jobs in 2020 will require some level of education beyond high school,” Rothwell said. “Today, only 37 percent of Michigan’s working age population has an education beyond high school.”

Rothwell said the salaries of Michiganders significantly improve for those that obtain more than a high school education. With some college or an associate’s degree, salaries are on average 22 percent higher than those with a high school degree. For those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, salaries are on average twice those with only a high school degree.

The report recommends four targeted strategies for strengthening and leveraging the state’s higher education sector:

  • Bring higher education access and affordability to Top 10 levels by boosting higher education funding, strengthening performance-based funding for community colleges, exploring new instructional and administrative efficiencies and marketing to grow enrollment.
  • Become a Top 10 state for higher education outcomes by fully embracing performance-based funding, developing alternative delivery and certification methods and strengthening partnerships and collaboration.
  • Strengthen the transition from education to employment by developing structures for matching talent demand with supply, expanding supports for internships and career counseling and tracking placement and other non-degree outcomes.
  • Grow economic impact by encouraging higher education to play a greater role in economic development and sharing best practices.
BLM, the state’s business roundtable, is dedicated to making Michigan a Top 10 state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. The organization is composed exclusively of the chairpersons, chief executive officers or most senior executives of Michigan's largest companies and universities.