The Lansing State Journal provides extensive coverage of our latest report in their Outlook section today. Worth checking out! Included are columns by me and Doug Stites, who just retired from his long-time position as CEO of Capital Area Michigan Works.
And there is an editorial on what the findings in the report mean for the future of metro Lansing. The Journal’s editors write:
Economic development leaders have spoken eloquently about the need to attract young professionals to the region. They can speak at length about the importance of the knowledge-based service sector — jobs in health care, insurance, professional services — to the region’s prosperity. But in the hearts of many a Michigander beats the proud history of manufacturing. That’s true in mid-Michigan, too, where the region continues to celebrate successes of its two state-of-the-art General Motors Co. plants even as it watches new companies such as Niowave work to develop superconducting linear particle accelerators. Manufacturing, particularly advanced manufacturing, has a role in the region’s future. Yet two decades of data compiled by Michigan Future Inc. strongly suggest that the knowledge economy will support the middle class of the future and that’s where the region and the state must devote more attention and energy.
… The good news is, we have a road map. Greater Lansing needs more educated workers: More high school graduates, more community college graduates, more university graduates. And we need them to stay here, which means protecting the quality of life not only with basic public services but with amenities that set the community apart. Nurture talent and companies with jobs will come. If the region succeeds, prosperity follows. (Emphasis added.)
Metro Lansing has the assets needed to be prosperous in the future. Mainly a big research university in Michigan State as well as a growing cluster of IT and insurance companies. The asset though that is missing most is talent. College educated adults, particularly young talent. Stites has it exactly right when he writes:
The key to creating this economy is by growing places where young talent want to live — that is, dense, walkable and urban communities with excellent public transportation. Lansing cannot be Chicago or Minneapolis, but we can be a successful mid-sized metro region with a major research university almost identical in size to Madison, Wis.. We have 8,000 25- to 34-year-olds with four-year degrees here in the metro Lansing area. Madison has 24,000. Our per capita income is $33,273; Madison’s is $42,456. Young talent matters