The future of Michigan’s college students was the focus of several important events last week, including one here at the Bank of Michigan headquarters on Friday night. As the president and CEO of a company headquartered in Michigan, and the father of three children, this is an important issue for my business and for my family.
The first event was Governor Snyder’s Economic Summit, where the theme was “Connecting Talent and Opportunity.” He challenged business leaders to focus on meaningful job opportunities, and find ways to better match the available talent here with the jobs that are in our state. The Governor said our greatest asset is our talent, but we don’t do a good job of talent management.
Governor Snyder kicked off the summit by asking 10 college students who are looking for jobs to tell their stories to the business people in the audience. All of the students want to stay here in Michigan. One said: “I’m a native Detroiter. I’m watching Detroit reinvent itself while I’m reinventing myself. It’s my home. I’m not going anywhere.”
The second event was a “career exposure trip” to Detroit for students at my alma mater, James Madison College at Michigan State University. Over two days, the students met with various James Madison alumni working in Detroit at companies like Quicken Loans, General Motors, OnStar, Transportation Riders United, and Sandler and Travis Trade Advisory Services.
The trip was designed to highlight the flexibility of a James Madison degree and the variety of career paths that are open to Madison students.
Here at Bank of Michigan, we hosted a student-alumni mixer to offer the students a chance to spend time with Madison alumni from all over the Detroit area. The students were thrilled, and I’m glad we were able to give them that opportunity.
The governor is fond of saying that Michigan is the comeback state, and points to signs of an improving future. Businesses have a responsibility to identify opportunities for our college students to work and live in our state after graduation, using their talents to help our state on that upward trajectory.