The Business Journal review of 2014 business and economic activity is distinctive in the publication’s 32-year history for the diverse business sectors represented and the depth or strength of growth. Those facts became evident during several editorial board meetings to review categories and accomplishments for the 2014 Newsmaker of the Year. The number of categories and Newsmaker candidates in each swelled from 10 categories in 2013 to 16 for 2014.
Such observations also were made repeatedly as West Michigan Economic Outlook, Talent 2025, Colliers International and The Right Place Manufacturers Council all found notable evidence of growth in multiple business sectors throughout the region.
The success of those trends is dependent upon an educated and trained workforce able to apply their experience and training to workplace realities. The reports provide additional emphasis on Gov. Rick Snyder’s announcement this month, creating the Department of Talent and Economic Development and the new Michigan Talent Investment Agency. Snyder intends to have the agency running and responsive within 60 days of the New Year.
Just two weeks ago, Talent 2025 released its report, “West Michigan Talent Assessment and Outlook: Supply and Demand Analysis and Insights,” for the 13-county West Michigan region. It found occupational job growth in the next five years is expected to be 10.1 percent, ahead of the projected state growth of 8.5 percent. The region is expected to account for one in six new jobs for the state, with at least 61,400 opportunities created in the region.
Even while Snyder plans an almost immediate startup for the agency, regional businesses are feeling pinched between new job creation for business expansion and available skilled workers.
Snyder said the talent agency will “coordinate all programs across the executive branch of government involving job preparedness, career-based education, skilled trades training, incumbent worker training, employment assistance, STEM training programs and programs targeted at the structurally unemployed.” The governor is unifying coordination of the services as part of one organization sharing the “same vision and goals.”
The trajectory of current business growth plans lends urgency to Snyder’s emphasis on talent, community and business development as the three pillars of the program.
The Michigan Manufacturing Association was prompt with its citation of the announcement. MMA President and CEO Chuck Hadden said, “Efficiency and coordination are very important to developing and executing a long-term talent solution. Gov. Snyder is taking a business approach to the issue and streamlining Michigan’s many economic development-focused agencies and we appreciate his vision and leadership in this critical area.”
Snyder’s effort and its immediacy are critical, particularly in the West Michigan region.