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The Council assembled workgroups to collect data, conduct research and collaborate to generate ideas that could grow Michigan’s population

LANSING, Mich., Oct. 12, 2023—Today the Growing Michigan Together Council (GMTC) assembled for a public meeting to receive findings and ideas from its workgroups and public engagement activities since the Council’s inception over the summer. The ideas generated by the workgroups outline ways the state could attract and retain talent, improve education outcomes and build a sustainable and equitable infrastructure. The Council will take these ideas into consideration when sending their report to the governor and legislature in December.

“To make Michigan a place where everyone can thrive, we must invest in our people and our communities. That means strengthening our schools, creating good-paying jobs, helping families afford their first homes, protecting our natural resources, and continuing to fix the damn roads,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I’m grateful for the co-chairs and members of the council for their ongoing efforts to develop a comprehensive strategy to help anyone make it in Michigan. Together, we will grow our economy, build our population, and write the next chapter in Michigan’s story.”

The four workgroup categories include jobs, talent and people; infrastructure and places; preK-12 education and higher education. An overview of the ideas presented by each workgroup is included below.


  • Align governance and accountability to system vision and goals, while clarifying roles, eliminating inefficiencies and bolstering capacity.
  • Commit to the Michigan Education Guarantee, that students graduate with the competencies they need to thrive now and throughout their lifetimes.
  • Reimagine the job of teaching, enabling educators to innovate so students can learn for life.
  • Fund the system fully, equitably, efficiently, and transparently so every student and every school has the resources needed to meet the system’s goals, including that of the Michigan Education Guarantee.

Higher Education

  • Increase high school graduate enrollment rates (Michigan and out of state) in higher education to increase volume of skilled talent.
  • Increase two-year success rates across populations to enable higher wage opportunities.
  • Retain and attract postgraduate talent (out-of-state, international, and Michigan expats) to directly influence reversal of “brain-drain” (including university placemaking and innovation activities).
  • Support higher education–employer partnerships that pull students through talent pathways and increase student awareness and adoption of learning journeys that lead to high-demand jobs/internships.
  • Consider equity implications across proposed ideas, and work to close (versus widen) these gaps.

Jobs, Talent and People

  • Implement a robust talent retention and attraction program including novel incentives, workforce development program expansion, community placemaking investments that support shared cultural experiences and targeted marketing.
  • Implement the state’s economic development strategic plan with a focus on aligning Michigan’s workforce development programs, talent attraction and retention efforts, and growth-sector strategies to collectively drive regional priorities in a coordinated way.
  • Prioritize programs, policies, and regional supports to develop a stronger pipeline of international talent that is retained long term through a welcoming environment for international immigrants and diverse communities in Michigan.
  • Embrace Michigan’s entrepreneurial and innovation roots and create a culture that supports entrepreneurship and innovation for all.
  • Increase access to and affordability of culturally appropriate family support resources, including training and certifying a workforce to support the need.

Infrastructure and Places

  • Provide the tools and incentives for local governments to create vibrant places and work together across jurisdictional boundaries to provide more efficient and cost-effective public services.
  • Develop and revitalize housing stock to align with our housing needs and focus new development on infill to create vibrant, dense communities.
  • Update Michigan’s transportation funding model to sufficiently fund and maintain the road network and support the development of a more robust statewide transit system.
  • Incentivize entities responsible for developing, operating, and maintaining infrastructure to coordinate their efforts through integrated asset management.
  • Reorient investments and planning around water infrastructure to focus on protection of public health and climate readiness and ensure water rates are designed to sufficiently support community funding needs.
  • Shift our economic development strategy from reactive to proactive by investing in site-readiness programming.

The 70 workgroup members were selected among hundreds of extremely qualified candidates to broadly represent diversity among Michiganders and to encourage a bipartisan voice to propose ideas that boost the future of the state.

“The proposed ideas presented by the workgroups is the first major step in the charge given to us by the governor,” said Growing Michigan Together Council Chair and Wayne State University Governor Shirley Stancato. “The Council looks forward to diving into the workgroup’s ideas and using this information to assemble our report that will be presented to the governor in December.”

In tandem with the workgroups, the Council’s public engagement team is traveling the state gathering feedback from residents, attending events and spreading word about the Council’s mission. To date, the Council has traveled to nearly every corner of the state, hosting over 28 community events and engaging with thousands of Michiganders.

“I am incredibly proud of the dedication and diligence demonstrated by the Council and its workgroup members,” said Chief Growth Officer Hilary Doe. “Their commitment to capturing valuable feedback from Michiganders across the state and meticulously reviewing data is the driving force behind the proposed ideas presented today.”

“Since starting this process, one thing is clear. Michigan is engaged and ready to take on the challenge of growing our population,” said Growing Michigan Together Council Chair Ambassador John Rakolta, Jr. “We must think outside the box to drive results. The findings and ideas presented today is a great first step in positioning Michigan as the most competitive state in the nation to retain and attract talent.”

The meeting recording and presentation materials can be found on the Growing Michigan Together Council’s website:

Brittany Hill