DETROIT (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder said Monday that one of the keys to boosting job growth in Michigan is preventing young people from leaving, and he made his point by highlighting 10 college students and recent graduates looking to stay close to home.
The first-term Republican governor was kicking off a two-day meeting in Detroit with business, academic and government leaders that is designed to help connect Michigan residents to employers. He argued that the state needs to do a better job matching a strong supply of students with marketplace demand.
To help bolster that argument, Snyder invited the students and recent grads to join him on stage at the Cobo Center and allowed each to pitch themselves to the roughly 700 people in attendance.
“We should all have a passion to have them stay here,” Snyder told the crowd.
Among the professional hopefuls was Traverse City native Laurie Asava, a senior at Michigan State University studying hospitality who is seeking a career in event planning. The intern at Michigan Economic Development Corp. said she originally thought she would join legions of other Michigan 20-somethings in Chicago but now wants to build her future in her home state.
“I just love Michigan,” she said. “Chicago is not Michigan.”
Snyder said the problem with aligning supply with demand can be seen in the state’s MITalent.org website, which lists about 60,000 open jobs. He said filling them would decrease the state’s jobless rate of 8.9 percent by 1.5 percentage points.
The governor recommended improving collaborations between academia and business. He said this week’s conference aims to find out what “the demand side” needs from prospective workers, and he hopes to bring that information to an education summit next month.
About 100 protesters gathered outside before Snyder spoke. They say he’s put corporate interests above those of ordinary residents by appointing an emergency financial manager for Detroit and shepherding through right-to-work legislation limiting unions’ power. Snyder made no mention of Detroit’s financial problems during the conference.