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Tuesday, 24 January 2012 10:05

Business Leaders’ ‘New Michigan’ strategy seeks to build off state’s strengths

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MICHIGAN — Now that Michigan appears on the right track economically, Business Leaders for Michigan plans to begin pushing a new initiative that seeks to build on what is already done well to drive new job creation and economic growth.

Doug_RothwellBuilding on Michigan’s engineering and logistics acumen, growing the life sciences sector further, boosting agricultural processing and exports and tourism, strengthening higher education, and leveraging the auto industry’s legacy to develop new forms of transportation and improve safety are the key elements of a “New Michigan” strategy rolled out today by the group of corporate CEOs and university presidents.

Business Leaders for Michigan added the ideas to its three-year-old Michigan Turnaround Plan that seeks to return Michigan as a top 10 state nationally in economic and job growth. The ideas seek to build on key assets in place in Michigan.

“These are already in Michigan with a lot of work going on,” said Business Leaders for Michigan CEO Doug Rothwell (pictured). “If we did a better job focusing on them, we could go faster.

“For Business Leaders, it’s kind of a double-down in Michigan. It’s building on our existing strengths.”

Business Leaders for Michigan offers the new goals three years after first producing the five-step Turnaround Plan that largely focused on state government reforms.
After achieving about half of its initial goals, including repeal of the Michigan Business Tax, Business Leaders for Michigan sees now as the right time to broaden its agenda with ideas that are more private-sector driven and require a private-public partnership approach.

“This is an agenda for all of Michigan,” Rothwell said. “This is a strategy more for Michigan than for government.”

The group will continue to promote the remaining reforms in the Turnaround Plan while pushing the new goals, he said.

Highlights of the new initiative are:

  • Make Michigan a “global engineering village” that makes Michigan an engineering destination by branding the sector, growing engineering education and the number of engineering firms in the state.
  • Make Michigan a “gateway to the Midwest” through a larger logistics base, the Aerotropolis initiative in Detroit and investing in key trade-related infrastructure such as bridges and rail.
  • Strengthen the quality, affordability, productivity and economic impact of higher education; growing university enrollment; grow and commercialize research and development that occurs at universities.
  • Grow agricultural processing and exports, grow tourism and lead the nation in alternative energy technologies.
  • Make Michigan a “global center of mobility” – an idea advocated by Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford – that leads the nation in sustainable mobility, multi-modal transportation systems and technology to improve road safety.
  • Create a larger life sciences hub in Michigan.

Business Leaders for Michigan estimate that if Michigan can achieve those new goals, the economic impact will result in 200,000 to 500,000 new jobs for the state over a decade on top of the normal growth rate, Rothwell said.

Read 3317 times Last modified on Monday, 13 August 2012 12:45
Mark Sanchez

Senior Writer

msanchez@mibiz.com

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