Why the Marshall Plan Is Important for Our Kids

Posted in Blog on July 31, 2018

Lakeshore Advantage president Jennifer Owens was asked by Governor Snyder's office to be present at the Marshall Plan bill signing at Muskegon Community College on June 26, 2018. These are the remarks she shared, a reflection on the imporance of supporting our future workforce from an economic development professional's, and a mother's perspective.

I am a mom of three boys under the age of 14. Each of them still thinks that they are “Going Pro”-pro basketball, pro soccer and pro baseball. They are great athletes, but let’s just say they need a backup plan.
 
As their mom, it is my job to look out for them and their futures. That is why I chose to enroll my 12-year old in the Career Camp offered by the Ottawa Intermediate School District where he was exposed to different in-demand careers each day. In the course of a week, he learned how to build a wall, a website, and was able to take apart and repair a computer. These are all things that my husband and I could not have taught him as we have limited technical and mechanical abilities. Suddenly, “Going Pro” was not his only dream anymore.
 
The unfortunate part of the Career Camp is that it is only offered in the summer and has a limited number of spots available. More so, many programs like this aren’t offered in the majority of school districts, at least not yet.
 
With the implementation of the Marshall Plan, great programs like the Career Camp will be extended throughout the state to help ensure that all students have in-demand career exposure. As a mom, I know this can make a significant impact. As an economic development professional, I know this plan is critical.
 
Data shows that the Lakeshore region has the lowest unemployment rate in the state. However, 49% of lakeshore employers identify “access to talent” as their number one barrier to growth. If this barrier is not eliminated, 75% of our employers who say they will expand in the next three years may look elsewhere for growth.
 
The Marshall Plan is a statewide call-to-action that will make a significant impact for our kids, schools and our employers. I commend Governor Snyder, the legislature, and the Department of Talent and Economic Growth for this bold and impactful initiative that will help to ensure our state’s economic health for many years to come.