Governor Unveils Marshall Plan for Talent—What’s Next?

Jennifer Smith

By Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, Feb. 28, 2018

On Feb. 22, 2018, Gov. Rick Snyder held a large press event in Detroit at the Michigan Science Center to announce his Marshall Plan for Talent. He describes the plan as “a revolutionary partnership between educators, employers and other stakeholders to transform Michigan’s talent pipeline.” The plan includes about $100 million in funding for new programs to be added to current budget items.  It is unclear at this time how the programs will be funded.

The programs that will be either expanded or created including:

  • New “World-Class Curricula” grants for districts to collaborate with businesses to create, develop or expand programs and classes for high-demand careers in Michigan.
  • Creating Competency-Based Certification Programs to allow students to progress at their own pace and get real-world experience that leads to obtaining credentials toward high-demand jobs.
  • Establishing professional equipment grants for schools that partner with employers that match the funds to purchase necessary equipment.
  • Support for competency-based education and schools that adopt it early in the plan’s progress.
  • Collaboration with Michigan’s universities to create programs, develop curricula and provide ongoing evaluation of the Marshall Plan programs.
  • Creation of a new Michigan Future Talent Council.

Under the plan, the Governor lists high-demand jobs as those in information technology and computer science, health care, manufacturing, and other professional trades and business careers. These jobs could be reached through a variety of educational paths from certificates to college degrees.

There is also a section of the plan that calls for investing in students and teachers. Under this part, a program would be created to provide scholarships and stipends for low-income students to use toward certifications in high-demand fields. It will also provide incentives for teachers to move into critical shortage areas “such as high school physics and career technical education” in order to help alleviate teacher shortages. There will also be a process to identify “pioneering” teachers and give them ways to share their programs statewide, engage with policymakers and mentor new teachers.

A lot of the details of this plan remain unknown. We’ll be asking questions and trying to discern how this would be implemented in school districts, impact already existing quality programs and what resources would truly be available to assist districts. Finally, we’ll be asking for a clear picture for funding.

At this time, no specific legislation has been introduced. It may be that some of the ideas could be implemented through current state programs in the Department of Education or the Department of Talent & Economic Development. This is an ambitious plan from the Governor and we do expect him to push for as much of it as possible before his term ends this year.

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