Skilled Labor, Marshall Plan, Going PRO

Posted in Blog on July 27, 2018

Skilled Labor, Marshall Plan, Going PRO
By Colleen Jones, economics student at University of Michigan and guest blogger
As talked about in our blog post “Skilled Workers Needed to Sustain Local Manufacturing,” 49% of lakeshore employers identify access to talent as their number one barrier to growth in the 2017 Business Intelligence Report. Therefore, the 75% of employers who say they plan to expand in the next three years may look elsewhere for growth due to the talent shortage. With 650+ new jobs created through private investment in West Michigan in 2017, there is no shortage of work to be done in this region.
This year, Governor Rick Snyder announced the “Marshall Plan for Talent”—a framework for revitalizing the education system in Michigan to better prepare students for viable careers. As explained by Jeremy Hendges from the Department of Talent and Economic Development, the Marshall Plan aims to close the “talent gap” by looking at education and the talent training pipeline. This includes encouraging certificate-based education that allows for workers to continue learning and adapting in the ever-changing job market. Some emerging fields that the Marshall Plan for Talent will target are:
  • IT and Computer Science
  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Professional Trades
  • Business
According to Hendges, ““There are about 811,000 jobs we anticipate between now and 2024… that’s $49 billion dollars worth of wages…The average salary of these jobs is just over $60,000 annually…that helps out the state as a whole.[1]
Part of the Marshall Plan includes adopting the Talent Pipeline Management model, a structure for recruiting and developing skilled workers so that businesses have enough talent. This model teaches employers to operate proactively instead of reactively, working to provide members of the community with employable skills and trades[2]. The Talent Management Pipeline Model is used by The Going PRO Apprenticeship Readiness Program, Michigan Career Pathways Alliance, Top 10 in 10, MiSTEM Network, Career and Technical Education per-pupil payment, Dual Enrollment, Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates and FIRST Robotics, among others[3]. These programs are working to feed the West Michigan talent pipeline and keep future employers and employees engaged in the local economy.
The Going PRO Talent Fund draws on the Marshall Plan by providing competitive grants for businesses to use towards training new workers or upskilling current employees. The Going PRO Talent Fund has numerous upcoming information sessions detailed in the flyer below, giving plenty of opportunity for local businesses to learn more about applying for and receiving grants for development. Recently, Zeeland Lumber and Supply received the largest grant with $149,927 to go towards creating apprenticeship programs to expand and upskill their business. These grants are an easy and accessible way for local businesses to invest in themselves and their futures.

Colleen Jones is a sophomore studying economics in the Honors Program at the University of Michigan. For as long as she can remember, she has been passionate about social justice and understanding human interactions. Throughout college, Colleen has been able to learn more about what motivates decision-making and how an individual’s decisions can have global repercussions. Studying economics provides her with a logical explanation for human rational on both a micro and macro scale while simultaneously exploring decisions that defy logic. Colleen is pursuing a career that combines economics and law, so that she can one day support the development of local communities, economies, and the people that compose them.
[1] Hardin , Arik. “The Marshall Plan for Talent.” Office of Performance and Transformation , State of Michigan , 2018,,5880,7-338-71552-468155--,00.html.
[2] “Talent Pipeline Management: A New Approach to Closing the Skills Gap.” U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 6 Oct. 2017,
[3] “Marshall Plan Programs.” The Department of Talent and Economic Development, State of Michigan , 2018,,5863,7-336-85008-460819--,00.html.