For the past 40+ years, Michigan's fate has been one where talented Michiganders have moved away to pursue lives and dreams elsewhere. Other states have attracted talent from Michigan through scholarships, sign on bonuses and programs to cover relocation expenses. Currently Michigan is languishing through talent shortages in several professional careers, that support the public and provide crucial services. This is our opportunity in Michigan to rise to the challenge and work to solve the state talent drain, revitalize training and retention programs, improve public professional salaries, boost funding to public universities, repeal the state pension tax and repeal taxes on retirement income.
In order to solve the talent drain and reverse the shortage on various professions, we must first create an environment where those proficient and willing, want to fully dedicate themselves to these professions. Then, we must reduce the barrier to entry into these professions to a level that is both sensible and attainable for those desiring to enter the professions. Lastly, we must create an environment where the freshly trained and certified professionals will want to remain a part of our communities. In several stories that will proceed this introduction, it will become evident that there are shortages across the professions of policing, nursing, child welfare work, social work, and teaching. Each of these professions have their own challenges in meeting societal goals and maintaining services, however, there are many common challenges that exist between all of them that we can solve through bold comprehensive policy reforms.
Mark Bignell is an alumni of Montcalm Community College and Grand Valley State University. He is a former Democratic Nominee for Michigan State Senate and current candidate.