Business Leaders publishes ‘Compete to Win’ plan

Economic growth strategy targets government, community, education and business.
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The state’s business roundtable recently released a plan called “Compete to Win: Michigan’s Path to Top 10,” a strategy designed to help Michigan accelerate its economic growth.

“Compete to Win,” which is backed by the state’s top CEOs and university presidents who compose the board of the nonprofit Business Leaders for Michigan, notes that while Michigan has made significant gains since the Great Recession, moving to 29th from 49th, the state still struggles to compete. Important challenges remain to improve Michigan’s standing in the labor force participation rate, poverty, median household income and educational attainment.

Donofrio

“In the decade following the Great Recession, Michigan made great strides, improving the business climate and economic growth of our state,” said Jeff Donofrio, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “Getting from the bottom of the pack to the middle was an accomplishment — getting from the middle to the top will be harder and will take all of us coming together.

“We must be clear-eyed about the challenges ahead and be bold in addressing them. We need long-term strategies aimed at making us more competitive and big investments to improve systems and help people, businesses and communities compete to win.”

“Compete to Win” is a data-driven, research-based plan that makes recommendations in the following four priority areas:

Do better by the kids

  • Enact near-term changes to accelerate improvement to the K-12 system.
  • Transform Michigan’s K-12 system so no student is left behind, and a high school diploma represents a universal high standard.

Invest in people

  • Remove barriers to economic success for Michiganders to enter the workforce and progress in their career.
  • Improve connections between learning and careers to ensure individuals have quality jobs and employers have access to talent.
  • Increase the number of workers with high-demand credentials, skills and degrees to improve income and the quality of life of Michiganders.
  • Attract and retain workers to Michigan to grow its population and talent base.

Accelerate the economy

  • Drive a consistent and competitive state economic development strategy across political terms.
  • Become a leading state for business attraction and retention.

Get the fundamentals right

  • Ensure a competitive cost of doing business and good governance, which will help make Michigan an attractive place to do business.
  • Invest in infrastructure.
  • Make Michigan a destination for people and employers.

“Michigan’s opportunity is clear,” said Howard Ungerleider, president and CFO of Dow and Business Leaders for Michigan chair. “A consistent, long-standing strategy will enable our state to become a leader in world-class education and economic development that drives business growth, a highly skilled workforce and strong quality of life for residents.

“The transformational investments we make today (can) accelerate Michigan to a top 10 state.”

“Compete to Win” uses the Business Leaders for Michigan benchmarks released in January 2022, which were designed to provide a view of how well all Michiganders are succeeding.

The benchmarks, on which the Business Journal previously reported, informed the new recommendations of how Michigan’s people, businesses and communities can better compete against leading states for economic growth. The current top 10 states are Utah, Washington, Colorado, Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, California, Oregon, Florida and Arizona.

Closing equity gaps is threaded throughout the plan’s recommendations with the goal of creating a state with a healthy economy and widely shared prosperity. The plan calls for equity funding in K-12 education; removing barriers to success such as affordable and accessible housing options, child care, transportation and broadband access; and creating attractive communities that are welcoming to all.

“We must focus on what’s important to make this state better tomorrow than it is today. There’s no silver bullet to solve systemic issues,” Donofrio said. “If we want widely shared prosperity and a healthy economy, we must act with urgency and focus our attention on what it will take for every Michigander to be successful.”

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