As noted, Michigan has put place and is fine-tuning a number of policies and practices that are high-yield in terms of their contributions to meeting our credential attainment goal. These include significant policy changes to enhance early childhood education, more rigorous college and career ready secondary standards, robust community support structures for increasing postsecondary access, increased attention to performance in the financing of higher education, improvement in postsecondary completion rates at institutions, and better matching labor market supply and demand in STEM and other technical occupations.
Based on the Michigan performance on the metrics above, and their implications for policy priorities moving forward, it is time for Michigan to make some major moves to further enhance and improve our talent development system.
The priorities for a new round of policy change and innovation start with setting a clear State goal for postsecondary credential attainment. Then we have to define the path to get there—the set of actions required to meet this goal and meet the challenge recently made by Business Leaders for Michigan to become a top ten state for educated and skilled talent production.
Steps that can help many more of our citizens, young and old, connect to postsecondary education, and move through to completion of valuable postsecondary credentials must be taken in three areas:
- Increase Postsecondary Participation by Michigan youth and adults.
- Ensure Postsecondary Completion and Success: Make the system work to ensure success in credential-earning in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
- Put in Place Strategic Success Enablers that provide needed performance and decision-support information, financing, and a collaborative policy-making infrastructure to support, guide, and continuously adapt Michigan’s efforts for success.
The recommendations that follow summarize these high-yield policy changes and how we can implement them to help Michigan take giant steps towards our goal of 60% of Michigan citizens with postsecondary degrees and certificates in the next ten years.