One of the assets of vibrant 21st century communities and the League's 21c3 program is development of entrepreneur's. We've become famous for saying that a more sustainable economic development strategy is one that includes growing jobs by "ones and twos". But that doesn't mean we're giving up on manufacturing. We still believe we're going to make things in Michigan and that we need to make things, but that manufacturing itself is evolving under a different model in the 21st century.
To add to that chorus is a new report from Anderson Economic Group. The report, commissioned by Michigan State, the U-M and Wayne State, shows that manufacturing is alive and vital in Michigan today, and that much of the manufacturing done in Michigan today is high-tech, high-productivity advanced manufacturing. Of course such manufacturing calls for a more skilled and educated workforce.
So will we still make things in Michigan... the answer is clearly yes. But the manufacturing jobs of today are far different than the one's of yesterday and at only 10 percent of the total state workforce, there are also less opportunities to enter that field than there were a generation ago. The report once again shows that Michigan's 21st century economy must be more diverse than the one of yesteryear, one that will have to include a new culture and mindset of education and innovation.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.