Michigan’s Governor-elect, Gretchen Whitmer, made improving the state’s economy and creating high-paying jobs a central issue of her administration, as evidenced by her plan, Get it Done: Better Skills, Better Jobs for Michigan. While the state had rebounded on several key indicators since the recession, economic gains had not been felt by all residents. The change of administrations offered an opportunity to re-examine the state’s existing approach.
To help guide planning for the incoming administration, TIP Strategies was engaged to identify state-level best practices in workforce and economic development and to document the organizational structure and programmatic focus of the identified systems. Benchmark states were selected based on several considerations, including media rankings for economic competitiveness, similar population and industry makeup, geographic location (with priority given to Midwestern states), and the experience and expertise of the consulting team. TIP conducted interviews with state-level representatives of either economic development or workforce agencies in seven states: Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Findings from the research and best practice interviews, coupled with the experience of the consulting team, were used to prepare high-level recommendations for the transition team. These recommendations focused on near-term strategies to reposition Michigan’s workforce and economic development system over the administration’s first 100 days and lay the groundwork for facilitating greater coordination among these two critical sectors over the long term.