Never has that famous line from the movie Field of Dreams been more accurate. States cannot rebound from harsh economic realities, until the largest cities in all states have an educated workforce. Workforce development funding, usually provided by the federal government, state governments, or county governments, has been reduced to the point, that businesses looking to relocate or expand in areas, are choosing states with large inner city populations that have residents who are educated beyond high school.
There is no denying that each of us has experienced difficulties in the last several years, due to the economy. We have learned that addressing the high school dropout levels in major cities of every state, and increasing graduation rates as well as the numbers of students who attend post-secondary education, be it a certificate program, Associate Degree, Bachelor Degree or skilled-trade, will provide a better lifestyle, which improves the overall economical and social wellbeing of not only the larger inner cities, but the surrounding suburbs.
New and established industries are less apt to come to Michigan, or any state with large cities that have an undereducated population due to the lack of workforce development funding and the low percentage of residents having successfully completed a post-secondary program or degree. Detroit has one of the lowest. We are going to change that, right? We better!!!
It’s mostly about workforce development. State departments of economic development do not have funds to attract business as they did in the past, and state, county and federalworkforce development funding is not near the levels needed to bring businesses, large and small, into areas with low numbers of residents with any post-secondary experience.
TPE hopes to identify industries, and recruit them to Michigan by building the workforce they need. This is a strong incentive. The formula is already working in Utah.
Although this is my welcome blog, it won’t be sitting here for long. Immediately we will begin raising questions to the many crisis situations facing higher education and k-12. It won’t be confined to Michigan either.
Another component of TPE is to bring the community together to understand the true issues that impact education. So often, I have seen educators fighting issues that don’t exist and are misunderstood. This might not seem important, but it takes all of the energy being used to dispute nonfactual issues off the table ,and allows those involved to work together to resolve real issues.
Education is one area our government cannot afford to cut whether it’s at the state or federal level. It is the only way to turn our economy around, and sustain and grow the middle-class.
This plan will not be successful, if it is not embraced by a large section of our communities. That means not only educators, but legislators, parents, students, businesses of all sizes, the media and other leaders within religious groups, and other community organizations. Everyone is welcome to have a seat at the table to rebuild America through education.
By mid-summer, we hope to name many well-known people not necessarily from Michigan or with ties to the state, who will be supporting this effort in hopes to see this model used in other states and cities throughout the country.
Immediately, we will address the “community college crisis” , the k-12 funding crisis and issues like bullying and use of ADHD meds and psychiatric meds on kids younger than 18. On issues regarding funding, we will issue opinions in two ways: one will be through guest blogs, so-called experts, everyday people, and those affiliated with TPE.
Second, we will issue “policies” for k-12 and higher education through the use of panels that will meet and be representative of a cross-section of those affected by the topic.
We are excited about this effort, and hope that it can bring about the kind of change that will build a better America for all.
“The fate of our country won’t be decided on the battlefield, it will be determined in a classroom:” From the movie.Waiting for Superman which we do not endorse one way or the other.