Detroit, Mich.—Michigan’s Chief Growth Officer Hilary Doe, State Senator Darrin Camilleri and State Representative Jaime Churches visited Riverview High School (left) and Trenton High School (right) located in the Downriver area on Friday to hear growth-oriented ideas that could boost the state’s population. Students, educators and local leaders gathered to discuss topics most pressing for high school students and what would attract them to stay in Michigan after graduation.
“Michigan’s future is intrinsically intertwined with the aspirations, dreams and visions of our young residents. They are not just our future; they are the architects of it,” said Doe. “To build a Michigan they can be proud of, succeed in and continue to call home after graduation, we must actively engage them in conversations about our state’s future. Their voices, fresh perspectives and innovative ideas are part of the compass guiding our path forward.”
More than 20 students from both high schools shared their feedback and ideas on ways the state can retain young residents. Some of the topics discussed include creating accessible pathways to college, obtaining an education that aligns with the job market, career exposure and shadowing experiences. Placemaking was also mentioned as a high priority including redeveloping former industrial sites into usable community spaces.
“What I feel is often missing from conversations around how to grow as a state is asking kids “What would make you want to stay in Michigan?” and really listening to their answers,” said Senator Camilleri. “That’s what the day was all about, and I think we had some really illuminating conversations to help inform our work on the Council so we can figure out not only how to get more young people moving to our state but also how to get more Michigan students to stay and build their lives here.”
“As a former teacher for over ten years, I know that our students — from pre-K through 12 — are the key to Michigan’s future,” said Representative Churches. “We can always learn so much from their ideas, experiences, and thoughtfulness. Giving our students a seat at the table when it comes to the decision-making process on policy is an essential part of moving Michigan forward.”
This event was hosted by the Growing Michigan Together Council (Council) as part of its public engagement efforts to gather feedback and ideas from residents of all ages and backgrounds to find out what would make Michigan an even better place to call home.
Feedback from the public engagement efforts so far have informed the Council that Michiganders love the state’s natural beauty and outdoor recreation options. Input provided also indicates that economic incentives, specific employment training and diverse job opportunities are critical factors to attraction and retention. Housing, real progress on roads, transit and multimodal transportation in cities are also considerations when deciding where to call home.
To date, the Council has hosted nearly 50 community events and engaged with thousands of residents.
Governor Whitmer established the bipartisan Council in June 2023 to develop an inclusive population growth strategy that attracts talent, improves education, modernizes infrastructure and continues Michigan’s economic momentum. The Council is tasked with preparing and submitting a report with their final recommendations to the governor in December.
To learn more about the Growing Michigan Together initiative or to fill out the survey, visit growingmichigan.org.