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Posted on Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:26 a.m.

Why does Michigan have 77,000 unfilled job openings?

By Nathan Bomey

It’s an increasingly common refrain among Michigan business executives and politicians.

It goes like this: Michigan companies have thousands of job openings, but many times they can’t find qualified employees — or qualified employees simply don’t exist.

Carrie Houtman, a senior policy analyst for Midland-based Dow Chemical Co., said in Ann Arbor today that it's a national problem. She said nearly 3 million jobs in the U.S. can’t be filled due to a lack of talent.


University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman speaks at Rackham Auditorium at an event earlier this year.

File photo |

“We try to hire out of a workforce where more than three-quarters of high school grads are not meeting their benchmarks in one or more of their subjects,” Houtman said at the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership regional meeting, held by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Working Group at the University of Michigan.

The meeting — hosted by U-M President Mary Sue Coleman in her role as co-chair of President Barack Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship — drew about 400 business leaders, political officials and educators to discuss the future of the country’s advanced manufacturing base.

Houtman said universities need to design training programs that meet industry needs and public schools need to prioritize “project-based learning.” At the elementary level, that means book reports, science projects and field trips, she said.

“The reality is these experiences get fewer and farther between as the student progresses, and this shouldn’t be the case,” she said.

The conference comes a week and a half after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder issued a “special message” on enhancing Michigan’s workforce development and talent initiatives. Snyder said Michigan has more than 77,000 job openings that aren’t being filled because of a lack of talent.

“Enhancing the quantity and quality of our talent is critical. We are not leveraging our resources efficiently to create a talent supply that meets the demands of Michigan’s 21st century economy,” Snyder said in a 14-page paper delivered to the Legislature. “While the struggle to connect talent with employers is multifaceted, the primary reason employers are struggling to fill jobs is a mismatch between skill attainment and skill demand.”

Stephen Forrest, U-M’s vice president for research, said building an advanced manufacturing workforce “remains one of the biggest challenges facing America today.”

Coleman said Michigan is uniquely situated to capitalize on the economic opportunity, despite the hundreds of thousands of traditional manufacturing jobs Michigan last during the last decade.

“We are losing manufacturing jobs and the talented people who fill them, but we are also better positioned than any other state to be the epicenter of manufacturing innovation and resurgence,” Coleman said.

Houtman suggested that government regulations threaten the the growth of the advanced manufacturing sector. She said government regulations cost the U.S. economy $1.75 trillion a year.

“We have truly become a regulation nation over the last seven decades,” she said.

She also said that some young people don’t consider entering the manufacturing sector because of its poor image.

One of the initiatives the conference plans to discuss is how to launch a marketing initiative to rebrand the manufacturing sector.

“We believe manufacturing doesn’t have the appeal it used to,” Houtman said. “What is considered a strong underpinning of the middle class is frankly viewed as a has-been, dirty job. And those of us in the industry know that is not the case.”

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:58 a.m.

What happened to apprentice programs businesses used to have? You hired someone who might be able to learn the job and then you saw if they could do the job and then moved them up. And Universities and community colleges are not JIT learning institutions. They are not like businesses-as former businessman Gov. Snyder and the others at the forum are used to-able to just order up a new training program and fund the new machines on which to train and fund new computer programs and resources in which to teach students whenever a company needs potential employees to learn a new thing. They are not manufacturing students like the car companies do cars-ordering more of something that sells well and downsizing when it doesn't.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

I agree Jma2Y. The "schools" are the ones profiting and getting us nowhere other than requiring a degree to be a janitor or work at McDonald's. Also, why aren't these 77,000 jobs being offered to older, experienced, mature people? I am one of those and cannot find a job even though I have a great work ethic, experience, etc.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

I forgot to mention that businesses have largely shirked their tax burden at the expense of education in this state. On the one hand they want uneducated citizens and on the other they want cheap, skilled labor.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 5:29 p.m.

A meeting presided over by the President of UM. Is anyone surprised that the solution (whatever the problem) is [public] education? Business is let off the hook much too easily. When I started my career, businesses were willing to hire, train and mentor employees. Over the last 20 years they've changed course and consider technical skills to be a commodity that can be purchased for a low price (or they'll import it on H1-B visas). Businesses are not looking for 3 million educated workers that could perform many jobs even those that are not yet adding value to the company, they're looking for the latest widget person to solve one specific problem at the lowest cost to the company. When the company no longer needs that widget person, they lay them off - with exactly the same skills they had when they were hired. Business investment in people is non-existent they're protestations that people are their most valuable resource being so much pablum.

Hot Sam

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 12:51 p.m.

If you have AV sales, installation, or design and programming skills, I can find you a job tomorrow...and it will be a really good one... Sorry...a degree in social work won't cut it...

Ann English

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 12:27 a.m.

We would do better if we were as free as we were in the 1920s. People lusting for power over others report "news" that makes it sound like government is the answer for every problem. The private sector made America great, not a government that thinks it can spend our money better than we ourselves can. The unions are socialist constructs that are more interested in wielding power over their members than helping them reach their full potential, thus making efficient businesses inefficient. So the auto companies thrive in the South, where no one's forced to join a union. The teacher unions lust for power over what following generations believe about American and free enterprise, personal irresponsibility and evolution. "Global warming" is based on belief in evolution, a ruse for tricking us into voluntarily lowering our standard of living. Environmentalist beliefs among African politicians caused those nations to become and remain poor, leaving minerals and elements in the ground instead of mining them. But yes, government regulations today chase jobs away, and no politician traveling overseas to request politicians there to do business with us (like Jennifer Granholm and Barack Obama have done) can take the place of a free marketplace in creating opportunities for jobs. Free people believe in equal job opportunity, not equal employment results. Equality of result is based on totalitarian governmental beliefs.

Monica R-W

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 8:53 a.m.

So Ann, you think its better that Gov. Snyder travels to China, begging for China's citizens to move to Michigan and take our jobs, when we have 500,000+ unemployed job seekers? <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> And you fault Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm and President Obama for trying to BRING JOBS back to Michigan and Nationwide. Sorry but your spin-mastering Ann, makes no sense. Are you sure you're not posing as a concerned citizen and actually are a 'reporter' for maybe, a internet based resource?


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 6:19 p.m.

This article begs for a follow-up. What are the jobs? What do they pay? Who are the employers? What are the typical qualifications? Does this include engineering/science/medical jobs? Government jobs? Are there any stats or studies that demonstrate there is a &quot;lack of talent&quot;? This is a huge issue in the state and in our area, I'd like to see more research. Is able to put some time into an investigation like that?

Monica R-W

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 8:46 a.m.

Let's see if this 'reporter' will do so. You know, follow up this article with logical answers to the questions you pose above. I would be SHOCKED if the 'reporter' did but, never say never. As long as the second article fits Snyder's spin agenda, you betcha...(insert Sarah Palin here) it will be a follow-up.

Theresa Saunders

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

Talk about what to do for the future is not what is needed if indeed the jobs are available today. People need to know where these jobs are located, i.e., name of company and position requirements, so they can be trained and apply for these NOW OPEN positions. Since this information is never provided and I have counted the number of available jobs on the MI gov. listing...I think the following: This number may be on paper in someone's HR division and is bring held as open positions with salary and benefits attached. However, the companies that have these jobs have no intention of really hiring people to fill these jobs. The jobs are place holders for the money attached to them. By having them open on paper companies can use the resources attached to do whatever they deem important. Thus, they report open jobs, and there are on paper, but not in actuality. Therefore, they can discuss why they are open, what needs to be done to fill them, etc., all without ever really planning to do anything about them. If the jobs were really available as full or part-time positions and the minimal salary was $10,000.00 per job, inclusive of salary and benefits, there would be $770M available reources in the state for jobs...Only the most uncaring persons could live with themselves and not do whatever is necessary NOW to help people in Michigan given its current status. In a few words...someone is not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Monica R-W

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 8:44 a.m.

Yeap Theresa. Good analyst of the current situation.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 11:44 a.m.

Maybe manufacturing jobs &quot;don't have the appeal the used to&quot;; however, it is a job and much better than sitting on one's tush. And, these types of employment are very necessary and are appreciated greatly. Also, whatever happened to jobs such as plumbers, electricians, heating and cooling, Wielding -- not all individuals wish to go to college or can't afford it, these types of jobs will always be needed. Hopefully, WCC still offers courses in these avenues.

Michael Hartwell

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:46 a.m.

In 2007 the Big Three cut around 1 million jobs in Michigan. When outsourcing became a big deal American companies pressured the government with the same argument not enough qualified Americans for the jobs thus they pressured the government for additional ability to hire non Americans (read cheaper). It is not that the prospective hires are unqualified or unwilling it is that as Americans they are not cheaper than Asian applicants. Also, American companies got rid of a bunch of experienced/qualified (read expensive) workers to reduce payroll size. The easiest way for an American executive to protect his/her bonus is to reduce expenses. The easiest expense to reduce is direct labor costs. If Michigan workers know there is good, living wage, work and employers wanted it. The workers would be ready. Mary Sue Coleman does not know what she is talking about. This isn't about Innovation and Entrepeneurship. It is about working for someone you can trust not to dump you for next quarter's bonus target.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:48 a.m.

Having been reviewing resumes and interviewing lately to fill a local tech job (with a very reasonable wage), I can tell you that part of the problem is APPALLING resumes. If you don't put useful information on the resume, am I just supposed to assume or guess? Seriously. Resumes with no name, just an email address. Or a couple of job titles, no dates, no details. Text that makes no sense whatsoever. Rampant mis-spellings and typos. A big part of this job is communication. If you can't tell me about yourself and what you can do, I'm not going to waste my time. Or, better yet... the awesome resume, but nothing to back it up in the interview. So you really didn't do the things you wrote in the resume? You just put them in there to make yourself sound good? Not a good plan, because now we've both wasted our time. I know there are good people out there with great skills, but finding them is no picnic.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

&quot;Having been reviewing resumes and interviewing lately to fill a local tech job (with a very reasonable wage)&quot; I'll gladly send my resume and gaurantee I can back it up. Post a link.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 11:13 a.m.

Monica R-W: Interesting. I never said it was impossible, nor was I complaining. My point was that it might be easier to fill some of these available jobs if applicants were better able to present their credentials. We could easily be overlooking people that would be a great fit, but because they were lacking in this one area (marketing themselves), we overlooked them completely.

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 8:25 a.m.

The Hawk, Here's a suggestion. Look above in this comment section and you have Carl. Carl, states that he has a Master Degree in Human Resources Management and been seeking a employment opportunity for quite some time. You claim to have a employment opening, that's impossible to fill. You can hire Carl, on a contractual basis. With his Master Degree in H.R., he can form a unique job description for your technical based employment opening and perform initial interviews. Using this method, Carl could correctly filtering the talent pool, before they ever reach your office space. Advantage for you....less time wasted interviewing talent that can't meet your expectations. Advantage for Carl, he can gain a possible resource of future income/revenue working with your company to fill job openings. What's occurring instead, you're coming on Ann complaining that its' IMPOSSIBLE to fill a entry-level employment opening, in a county were over 50% of its population have a higher education degree of some sort. Confused, baffled or just plain making things up, I don't know. Just sounds like as a employer, you're not thinking 'outside the box' but, I bet you expect your employees to do so. Just a thought!

Michael Hartwell

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:48 a.m.

What proof do you want?

Fat Bill

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:43 a.m.

I think an earlier poster brought up the fact that the bachelor's degree has become the high-school diploma of the previous generation. Now to stand out, one needs a graduate degree, and this degree needs to be in a &quot;hard&quot; subject. It is fun to study art or music, but what drives the economy is engineering, science, math. We can't all sell each other insurance and mow each other's grass, somebody actually has to contribute value...

Michael Hartwell

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:49 a.m.

Oh please you mean you need Master's degrees in you entry level position?


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:13 a.m.

I don't have time to read all the comments so I don't know if these sentiments have already been shared but... I certainly understand the importance of improving education. That said, almost every job that I qualify for insists on 3-5 years of experience and/or completely open schedule. What's the problem with that? Well first of all, how can anybody get started in the business world if they are required to already have experience? I wish more businesses would provide a small amount of training and then give people like a 2-4 week test to see how they do. How else is anybody going to generate experience? Well, you say, what's wrong with requiring an open schedule? After all if a person really wants the job they should be willing to do whatever right? WRONG! What about people who have families? I've tried all the tips for interviewing, resumes, cover letters, etc and no matter what, it's those two things that always keep me from getting the job. And it's not like I have a demanding schedule, I just can't work 24/7 but apparently that's not good enough.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:33 a.m.

perfectly said.. &quot; be here when ever we want you to be&quot; . the hell if you have to get kids to school( busing is an issue since many have been re routed) and god forbid, you get your family food and cook it.. blah blah blah.. thats all i hear from the people who have good jobs . imagine a person cleaning 3 nights a week being asked to have 5 years exp. stupid


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:33 a.m.

Mary Sue Coleman need to look no further than the UM college of LSA to see where this garbage starts. There, the kids are encouraged to find themselves, to take any class at all that they might have an interest in. Eventually, they will find their calling and if they follow their dream, they can't help but succeed. What a pile of garbage. You need to go to school to get trained to enter the workforce and Mary Sue should spend a little time listening to the drizzle the "leaders and best" spout at orientation.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5:02 p.m.

I disagree. A university is not a job training school. Look, what job are you talking about? Get a good college education...learn to think and be creative and figure out what the problems are and how to solve them, etc., etc., etc., and you can learn in a hurry how to do the job much more quickly. One big problem with what you want a university to do is that the jobs and technology of today will be obsolete by graduation day, if not this week, and now you are where you were when you got there, but without the thinking education that could help you learn the next level. I think it's better to understand that the Great Recession is still now, and things are rough all over, and changing the university system is no solution. We need demand for things, and we need jobs that will fill that demand. Until then, good luck.

Michael Hartwell

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:51 a.m.

While I agree in theory. I would say that Mary Sue Coleman should look at the internal hiring practices of the UM.

Huron 74

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

I agree with A2anon about the &quot;testing for facts&quot; policy for grading schools. I come from a family of teachers. I would like to draw a parallel between learning and the old adage about giving a man a fish or teaching him to fish. Learning is a lot the same. If you teach facts, they will be forgotten if they're not used. If you teach someone how to learn and especially the desire to do so, they will continue learning their entire life (&quot;from womb to tomb&quot;, as my mother says). It's really all about creating the desire to learn and showing the benefits of it, which is a cultural thing. That means everyone, not just the teachers or the schools or whoever else you want to blame.

Carl Ebach

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:40 a.m.

UofM had a 100 job openings a few months ago they had over 500 people applied and only where able to hire 10.

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 8:07 a.m.

Michael, They probably never really existed. That is a game certain employers play called....let's see how many individuals are looking for work....then, let's not hire them. Meanwhile, we can take our $1.8 BILLION dollar tax break that Gov. Snyder gave us, and increase the CEO and Upper Management performance bonuses. In the U of M's case, they didn't (at least we THINK) receive a kick-back from Gov. Snyder's give-away to corporations....but remember....kick-backs can take many forms. Like the secret 'Governor's Fund'. Wonder when this 'reporter' will do some investigative reporting on that? Probably never. Anyway, hope that answers your question.

Michael Hartwell

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:52 a.m.

If UM had 100 openings they had 500 applicants and were able to hire 10. What happened to the other 90 openings?


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:39 a.m.

Let's be honest about these so-called 77,000 jobs. IF the companies were willing to pay somebody to do them what the market would bear they could find people to fill the jobs. The real scandal is the companies want to hire college grads at what a high school educated person makes. I see no benefit in taking a job that would pay me what a McDonald's manager makes while having a 4 year degree or more. Republicans always talk about supply and demand. They are claiming the supply for these jobs is high and the demand fro them is low. Meaning they need to PAY MORE. I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen. It's so much easier to whine about &quot;lack of talent&quot; in the state.

Basic Bob

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 3:51 a.m.

@BBS, One should consider where the auto companies buy their machinery, parts, and service, and recruit for management jobs. It the answer is in Japan and Korea, our economy is dragged down by the profits generated here and multiplied in the overseas economy. If the answer is in the United States, we benefit three times over as the money is spent and re-spent.

Get over it

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

BBS are we talking about good paying jobs in Mi. or north America if you want a Toyota move to a state that builds Toyota

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:52 p.m.

Get over it, Get Over It! The big news is this: there is no such thing as an American made automobile. Google it. There are Toyotas being produced that have a higher percentage of parts made in North America than some Chevrolets. There are Honda that have a higher percentage of US assembly than some so-called American made cars. When Chrysler was pretty much a German owned and operated car, people continued to call it American made. I much prefer to call what you are talking about &quot;American NAMED cars.&quot; I much prefer to look at the lists and buy a car whose parts are mostly produced at least in North America and that is assembled mostly in the USA. If that's a Toyota, so be it. At least I am helping Americans get work. Oh, by the way, who has the money to buy a new car anyway? Not me.

Get over it

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:41 a.m.

We could pay more if you by Ford or GM not Honda and Toyota

Carl Ebach

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:44 a.m.

The teapartiers/GOBPers are only happy lowering the American standard of living. I have a conservative friend and he claims America would be better if we lowered the wages of all real working people and make them pay for their own healthcare and pension and retirement.

Carl Ebach

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:31 a.m.

When I graduated with my Masters in Human Resource / Organizational Development I filled out over 1,500 job application in over a year. I got one job interview and it paid only 1/2 as much as what a person with a MS should be paid and I had to pay for my own moving expenses. Most job required 3 to 5 years on the job experience. This kind of statement reminds me of when President Regean held up the news paper and said &quot;Look there are all kind of job openings!&quot; Most job postings are not real jobs but resume generators they are looking that 1 in 10 employee, or even 1 in a 100 depending on the job. My Masters is in HR after all and it teaches us such things. THat is why I know why I can't and will not get hired, 58 disabled and I have a 7 year gap in my employment history.

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 8:02 a.m.

Carl, That's called plain and simple, age discrimination. Wonder what is Rick Snyder doing to address this pull on finding available talent for Michigan based job openings? How about....nothing? Instead, in Rick's World....let's blame the problem on Michiganders finding decent paying with benefits, on Michiganders....then ask for workers from China to cross the ocean waters to fill our Michigan jobs. Oh....and give C &amp; S corporations a $1.8 BILLION dollar tax break to do so. That's Rick. What a great guy. Not!

Michael Hartwell

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:54 a.m.

Amen. Certified PM, APM, 27 years experience 2174 applications 12 interviews.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:10 a.m.

What many don't want to admit is that the unemployed and underemployed are not just a cesspool of stagnant personalities sitting around avoiding work. I came across this article today and wanted to share it. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Ron Granger

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 11:01 p.m.

Anyone who can flee Michigan has fled Michigan. Nobody wants to come to Michigan. Wages are low. Employers are looking to take advantage of low wages. Snyder advertists Michigan as a place to get people to work for cheap. Michigan has been the butt of TV jokes for years. Individual taxes in Michigan are high, and Snyder is making them higher. It is a great challenge to attract talent to Michigan.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:47 p.m.

I'm getting kind of tired of seeing that picture of Ms Coleman with her dear friend in the background. They make a lovely couple, but could we have a different picture of them, please?

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 7:57 a.m.

Thanks for pointing this out. Now that I think about it....if this 'reporter' attended this conference, why the heck would it be so hard to take pictures at the event. You know, the kind of pictures a reporter would place into a story to show they attended the event....that day. Makes the mind wonder how exactly were these 'quotes' citing that there's 'lack of available talent pool' here in Michigan, was gained, and when exactly.... Inquiring minds would like to know....


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:35 p.m.

A lot of people can be trained for a specific job, but companies aren't willing to train people anymore. It happened all the time in the old days, whether they were straight-up apprenticeships all the way to on-the-job training. Companies now seem to think that the perfect candidate will magically appear one day, rather than hiring moderately intelligent people and showing them what to do. There are so many specializations that the school system can't possibly train everybody to do every job.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

This is INSANE! Well Gov of Mich --- what will YOU do to help bridge this about a FEW SOLUTIONS FOR YOU 1- Universities need to partner with business to design the training POI/curriculum to match the type of economy THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND LEGISLATURE SHOULD BE DEVELOPING IN THE STATE!!! 2- Provide temp tax creditis for businesses who seek to bridge the gap in the &quot;lack of talent&quot; arena who provide the training to bring workers up to snuff 3- Leverage the two year institutions as a training bridge platform I can go on an on.....instead of focusing of raising taxes on the middle class, how about alittle action from Lansing! Start leading....get moving.....


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

If Michigan has 77,000 job openings that can't be filled because the applicants, if any, don't have the skills and knowledge base needed, why is Governor Synder gutting the funds for education? It appears education is more important than bringing new jobs into Michigan because we can't fill the jobs that are already here. Is anyone else puzzled by this quandry?

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 7:52 a.m.

Umm...because its' fits Rick Snyder's agenda of replacing Michiganders who want to work, with foreign imports (people) from China who will come here and do the same work on the cheap. Kind of like what he did with Gateway....except he just moved Michigan jobs over to China, in the case. In a 'zebra never changes his stripes' kind of way. :)


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:40 a.m.

I would suggest he is speaking out of both sides of a different body part.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:40 p.m.

AMEN! He's speaking out of both sides of his mouoth.....


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:13 p.m.

@silodog. I would like to make a point, where you say it's an &quot;employer's&quot; market. It often seems that the employers (U-M) hire employees (managers) who hire (supervisors) who get to make those decisions. Especially now because there are so many applicants it is overwhelming and the supervisors hire based on word of mouth because they don't want to go through the process of going through all of those applications. I had a job interview, as I was trying to get my foot back in the door. I was told by the hiring supervisor that she was torn because it was between myself and another candidate. I was put off and put off, and told the delay was the doctors were to come in and review the resumes and do an interview to get a feel for that person. I was then called and told that the doctor &quot;didn't want to come in&quot; and to take the person with the most administrative experience. I was so angry. They didn't even follow their OWN hiring procedures. That MD just didn't want to come in. He had &quot;more important&quot; things to do.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

One problem is that not every high school graduate needs to go to a traditional college. Some countries (such as Germany) have trade colleges, and if a student is more inclined toward blue-collar work, then that's where they would go. Also, as someone previously mentioned, manufacturing is a highly specialized industry nowadays. If the companies aren't willing to train the employees, then they have no right to demonize a &quot;lack of skilled workers&quot;.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:28 a.m.

Grye- Yes, community colleges do have trades classes/programs available (the ones at WCC are really good, and usually waitlisted). My point was that dedicated trades colleges (as opposed to colleges that offer and concentrate on traditional majors) are more prevalent elsewhere, and kids there are steered toward that route at earlier ages, recognizing that need for employers and potential employees


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10 p.m.

Our community colleges have trades training programs available.

Gene Alloway

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:11 p.m.

Many problems with the logic of the folks being quoted here: &quot;Stephen Forrest, U-M's vice president for research, said building an advanced manufacturing workforce "remains one of the biggest challenges facing America today."&quot; Yet advanced manufacturing has moved and continues to move overseas. Creating an advanced workforce here, like software engineers, has certainly not stopped even those jobs from being farmed out to cheaper labor. So, creating an advanced manufacturing workforce means keeping more advanced manufacturing here. Otherwise, you'll have the best trained unemployment line in US history. &quot;Houtman suggested that government regulations threaten the the growth of the advanced manufacturing sector. She said government regulations cost the U.S. economy $1.75 trillion a year.&quot; There are reasons for regulations, and whole books why we need them, so to trot out this broad swipe at regulations is pointless. Regulations help industry as well. Child car seat industry? Oil and gas exploration? Safe aircraft and cars so our transportation doesn't blow up, which would cost industry hundreds of millions as people stopped using their products? Health regulations that keep workers productive instead of filling hospitals with injured workers? Lastly, the implication of the piece was that school is to make workers. Wrong. Schools are to prepare people to be functioning, useful citizens of the country and the world, with the fundamental intellectual tools to make decent decisions and identify better opportunities for themselves and others. That means perhaps we should be teaching folks how to start their own business early, as well as how to work for others, instead of ONLY being concerned about how we can turn 9th graders into good clerks.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:33 p.m.

Must admit that it gives me a chill to hear a representative from Dow complaining about government regulations. Should it come to that, any money saved in reduced regulations should just go directly into bolstering the Superfund.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:08 p.m.

1) I agree with Vivienne Armentrout about Universities vs. vocational schools, and the role industry has in training. I was required to be an intern by my profession... AND 2) Believe it or not, people *are* leaving MI to move to places where their Partners (same sex or not) and their children can have benefits too.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:57 p.m.

How about tax breaks for companies that will train to real qualifications? Where did the apprentice system go?


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:40 p.m.

First off, 77,000 jobs? Can we see the listings? I'm not saying I think that number is right or wrong, I'd just like to see them. Second, it's funny that for years we said we were all going to be using computers to work, and they cancelled wood shop and metal shop in the schools, and downplayed &quot;industrial arts&quot;. Now it sounds like they're saying it would be great if people were prepared for a career in manufacturing. I agree, but I don't think the teachers' unions can be blamed for that one. Third, I think claiming &quot;lack of talent&quot; needs to be challenged. If that means &quot;companies want people who are willing to take pay cuts to work for them&quot; then I would suggest that &quot;lack of talent&quot; isn't the right way to phrase it.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

Over 74k jobs listed on the michigan talent bank website.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.

Certainly part of this problem is that college graduates today are not entering the workforce with the required skill set and work ethic that is necessary for many careers. We have a generation of phone texting, entitled brats who think they should be able to start a job with a 6 figure income, and 6 weeks of paid vacation the first year.

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 7:48 a.m.

Carl, Inongril got these 'comments' from Rick Snyder's talking points on why Michigan's unemployment rates are in the double digits and its' not my fault' press release. :)

Carl Ebach

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:46 a.m.

Please post where you get these &quot;facts&quot; please.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

OMG! Are you serious?? You castigate an entire generation as &quot;phone texting, entitled brats who think they should be able to start a job with a 6 figure income, and 6 weeks of paid vacation the first year&quot;? It would be too ridiculous to ask how you came up with this &quot;fact&quot;. I think that this comment is an excellent example of the importance of schools emphasizing thought processes and such as opposed as serving as a training school. A whole generation you are calling this? That is pathetic.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

In your considered opinion, of course.

Gene Alloway

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:13 p.m.

I think you are confusing Michigan youth with NY banker's children.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.

I find job opening announcements from Ford, Dow and others in Texas and Arizona, but not on their websites, not in the local papers. I then hear they can't fill the jobs. On the other hand GE is hiring hand over fist in Michigan. I think that a lot of &quot;we can't fill this job&quot; is a desire to hire cheaper resources from overseas.

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 7:40 a.m.

Grammar correction: &quot; They are finding talent in our state Universities ...&quot;

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 7:39 a.m.

Lighting MUST be striking twice today because Don Bee, we agree too. As for G.E., you're correct, they are managing to hire skilled and trained Michiganders with no problem. They are finding talent our of our state Universities and in some cases community colleges to fill the technical based positions in their company. I have a problem with a Gov. with this head so far up.... (beep) that he can go around the World (with the help of a 'reporter' at Ann claiming that there is not a good talent pool in this state. If Snyder's believes this to be so...why is he still here (i.e.-move to China then) and better yet, why the heck is he our Governor? Say what you will about former Governor Jennifer Granholm but she NEVER uncut the talent pool available in Michigan on either the national or international stage. Rick Snyder believes some (not I) Michiganders hired him to do this. Thus, why his job performance rating in the 'excellent' or 'good' categories in Michigan State University 'State of the State' survey last week was a whopping 19.3%. If we're to judge his performance on the 'performance based scale' I'm sure he loudly can Michiganders say, 'you're fired'. Food for thought!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

Rob: Look at the GE career website and search on Michigan. GE has a huge presence at the old Visteon HQ in Van Buren Township.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:55 p.m.

And where is GE hiring hand over fist in Michigan? I'm sure the tens of thousands of unemployed would love to know. Facts please.

Vivienne Armentrout

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

&quot;Houtman said universities need to design training programs that meet industry needs&quot; - wait a minute. Universities are not intended as vocational training institutions. What universities do best is to teach the substance and the thought processes needed for graduates to be self-actuating contributors to a field. Industry seems to have surrendered responsibility for worker training. They would like to order high-functioning workers off a shelf. If their needs are for employees to do specific tasks, they should shoulder some of that expense. One danger of overly programmed training is that it may produce workers who are relatively narrowly trained and inflexible in being able to adapt skills to new tasks or careers. I noted in Gov. Snyder's message that he wants to produce large numbers of programmers to produce code quickly and efficiently. But haven't we had several waves of new job-seekers enter computer careers only to become obsolete and watch their jobs sent to India? A good university education should give an individual the breadth that will allow them to deal with changes in need. I agree in general with the idea of vocational training for lower-level technical careers, but that is done at community colleges. I also agree that public education in general should prepare students with basic skills and good intellectual habits such as inquiry and learning techniques. But let's not assume that the entire academic enterprise is there only to &quot;make&quot; sets of workers with the specific skills needed this year.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:51 a.m.

Exactly-whatever happened to apprentice programs?


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

This issue is mult-faceted, but there is one principle I have an issue with.... the schools are failing to educated kids. There is a combination of blame that can be shared with the teacher's unions obstinate refusal to change and poor parenting. I can't change how people parent their kids so the only other change is the way our public schools are managed. It's not working in many areas so why keep doing the same thing? My anecdote I had some family members who wanted to &quot;be happy&quot; and &quot;do what they wanted&quot; without being chained to a desk or job. They majored in &quot;American Studies&quot; and &quot;Art history&quot;.... surprise surprise nobody wanted to hire them. they are unemployed and complaining about how life isn't fair and that they have a right to other people's money. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and tough it out for the good of yourself and your family. Studying 6 years of graduate level math/engineering/physics and an additional 4 years of graduate education is not as much fun as looking at paintings but at least you will get a job.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:42 p.m.

I think Mary Sue Coleman needs to look at some of her own employees, i.e., University of Michigan Hospitals. Having been a past employee (and leaving on my own), I still have an &quot;in&quot; on what goes on there, and it's often who you know, not what you know.

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 7:29 a.m.

Say that again Lisam!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:24 p.m.

&quot;There is actually a website where you can verify salaries for almost any position at the hospital. You'll be amazed. &quot; Oh yeah, seen it ( or something like that. I am amazed. Especially when i get curious and happen to look up some of the individuals I've dealt with that can't fix a sandwich much less a simple computer problem. I'm disgusted with it. Anyway, its so nice to talk to someone who has seen it first hand. Thanks much for you input, you don't know how helpful you've been even if it has been pretty much confirming my suspicions.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:23 p.m.

Had to correct a few sentences. They should be embarrassed because that was their job and their mistakes, and yet I was &quot;getting&quot; zero compensation .... In other words, someone who started say in 1978 making $8 per hour, plus their yearly increases, at this &quot;time&quot; could be......


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

Something to consider: manyof the UM employees who are eventually hired instead of you have been &quot;Term&quot; or &quot;temporary&quot; for years - some without benefits - and are just now being placed in permanent positions this way. But they don't always get the job either. I've been on all four sides of this one: beng the UM temp getting / NOT getting the job; being the UM interviewer selecting / NOT selecting the UM temp as the best person. The fact is there are SO MANY people applying for each and every opening... It is an Employer's Market.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

Me too djacks24. I worked at a job affiliated with the U-M and had supposed &quot;proofread&quot; documents that came to my office with many typographical errors from one of their departments. They should be embarrassed because that was their job and their mistakes, and yet I was zero compensation to correct them at my end. Complaining did no good. The same errors happened time and time again. There is actually a website where you can verify salaries for almost any position at the hospital. You'll be amazed. Also, if you hire in now???? You could expect to come in at equal pay as to someone who has been doing the job for YEARS. That's how they work -your starting salary plus across the board pay raises. In other words, someone who started say in 1978 making $8 per hour, plus their yearly increases, at this could be making $16. The starting wage for that same job may be $16 dollars an hour in the current job market...and from there, that person also gets yearly merit increases. Not fair.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:52 p.m.

Yeah, I figured you referred to UM as a whole. Ive applied to mostly positions for just about every department in the university including several openings at the hospital. Same result always. For five years now I've dealt with many UM support employees from many departments fixing (I.T related) problems they are either not trained or certified to support, yet constantly I'm never contacted for interviews. Having dealt with many problems they should have never had to contact me for, I wonder how some of these individuals got in or have managed to keep their jobs.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

It's not only there, but elsewhere, and it is extremely frustrating. Some places even go through the hiring process....because they have to, and yet know who they are going to hire, often family or friend. Yep. Seen it.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

Thanks for confirming my suspicions. Having applied for nearly 1,000 openings over the past few years for which I was very qualified for and being selected for a handful of interviews and receiving zero offers, I kind of assumed that was the case.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:25 p.m.

Lack of talent?.. Have you looked at the job listings ?. unless you have 5 years experience and are an engineer already they are 20 hour a week jobs. I'm in my 50's trying to go to school and work also, just so i can get a better job. My kids are grown now, but how do people with kids support them and school and work?. pay everything to child care. you can't get food stamps to help unless you work 20 hours. It's a circle that never stops . The state needs to stop using the MEAP testing to decide how much funding the schools get. The teachers are going to leave our schools with all the requirements coming up in the next 5 years. Computerized national MEAP testing. The bachelor degree of yesterday = high school diploma today. Blah... the same story over and over.. making people feel that we are all lazy, just because there are all these &quot; unnamed&quot; jobs available.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:42 p.m.

Maybe if the UM trained Americans instead of the 3,000 Chinese students and post-docs there would be more people to fill these jobs. We might also have more jobs if the UM did not put a Chinese professor and all his Chinese graduate students in charge of the $500 million Advanced Manufacturing Partnerhips initiative. Read more at <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

Agreed. It is pretty ironic that Mary Sue Coleman is pictured with this article when UM will accept 10 Chinese applicants for every one Michigan applicant.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.

If all 77,000 jobs were filled today, that would reduce the state unemployment rate from 10.6% to about 10%. Then what?

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 7:28 a.m.

Gyre, Get ready to be shocked here! We agree. That is why I'm a firm believer of the slow money movement at <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. Instead of supporting entrepreneurs starting of localized small businesses that can support communities; Gov. Snyder would rather funnel money to the USELESS Spark. Must be nice to find a so-called business incubator, become Governor and then be able to funnel unlimited tax payers funds to it. Must be VERY nice.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:56 a.m.

Brian Kuehn, The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the Michigan work force in October was 4,675,418 and the number of unemployed persons is 496,310 so 77,000 jobs would put the state unemployment rate at about 9%. Even so, that's still nearly 420,000 people out of work. 77,000 jobs would employ about 15% of the state's unemployed workforce. What happens to the other 85%?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:24 p.m.

Well, how many of those jobs would one person have to have in order to earn a decent living? You know, buy a house and car, get clothes and food and furniture and feed and clothe kids and get them the things they need, and heat the home and pay for electricity and other such minor items? If you think &quot;minimum wage job,&quot; then you must think in multiples. Two such jobs for him, two for her, and cut back to the bone. Let's be real here. If I had a $75,000 a year job, and it was &quot;downsized,&quot; and I got a minimum wage job, what do I lose? The house, for sure. Probably the car. Maybe a whole lot more. So now what. I move in with mom, who is 75 years old, and my kids and wife and I live in a cellar and I ride a borrowed bike to McDonald's to work my big job, and isn't that just swell? I'm not in that situation, but I think that's what the governor and his friends think should happen. The fertilizer lies deep on the back forty, don't it.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

How about some entrepreneurs start up some businesses here in the state. I don't think that it's the govt's job to start jobs. They try to create an atmosphere for jobs to come here and for new startups.

Brian Kuehn

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

A Free Press article in November stated that the Michigan workforce is 3,900,000 so the 77,000 jobs would lower the unemployment rate from 10.6 to about 8.7 percent. That is still an unacceptably high number but if it occurred it would be a small step in the right direction. The payroll taxes from those jobs would also give a boost to the state government budget and possibly allow some additional spending on social welfare programs.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:27 p.m.

Keep demonizing teachers and cutting education, Republicans. Soon enough the best jobs in the country will be filled by foreigners. Middle-class jobs going overseas and high paying jobs going to foreigners... great policy choices from those on the right.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:17 p.m.

I think our companies and organizations need to realize that quality employees come from work ethic and aptitude, and less on experience and credentials. In many organizations, you are looking for a long term employee (in today's world that is a 5-7 year employee) that can add value over the long haul. An investment in getting a teachable employee who can add value over the long haul will be more profitable than a superstar that is a flash in the pan or comes with baggage. Now - that is to say, this is not always the case. Sometimes you need the superstar to get things rolling or to be a hero to save the day. This however should not the the norm for most mid to large size organizations. Remember managers, the goal is to find what makes a given person valuable, and accentuate that quality, while mitigating any development areas that person may have.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

Ah, yes. There it is again. Like clockwork. The common refrain that &quot;schools are failing our children,&quot; that those horrible standardized tests are to blame, that the primary role of schools is job training. A couple questions: - Is it schools that are failing our children or laughable public expectation that places schools in an untenable situation? - Is the primary role of school to produce ready-made workers for the &quot;new economy&quot;? What is killing education is the faulty notion that the school's task is to prepare a ready-made specialist to the workforce. That's a notion we must swiftly disabuse ourselves of. The proper role of school is instilling in students skill sets and habits of mind that lead to thoughtful examination of ideas, instilling curiosity about the world and environment in which they live, instilling a sense of socialization to the thoughts and opinions of others, instilling a sense of discipline in accomplishing worthy tasks, etc. This generalist mission is the proper role of the Pre-Kindergarten through undergraduate college. Its end goal should be preparing students with the critical thinking skills in order that they can live a life well examined (regardless of their profession) and participate effectively in a democracy. Job training, thus, should be the purview of either the professional school (law school, engineering school, medical school, etc.) or corporations themselves through apprenticeship program. Until we better establish this division of roles, expect schools to continue to founder as they attempt to serve far too many masters.

Alan Benard

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:37 p.m.

Carrie Houtman said quite the opposite, if you read the article. She needs people who can run projects, think outside the box, and do research. That is what you get when students don't waste time with standardized tests, and follow a project-based curriculum which mimics real-life activities. Because all education should be is preparation for living as an adult in your civilization. That is NOT the same as job training -- that is MIND training, the kind you get when you study the much-maligned liberal arts. What we really need is greater respect for education in general in all spheres.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

Yes, yes! I would contend that the qualities you cite ARE the qualities we want in our &quot;future workforce,&quot; future citizens, whatever you want to call it. Which is exactly why our over-tested classrooms are failing. They are allowed no creativity and no latitude to help their students become these critical thinking, innovators we hope they will be.

Paul Taylor

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

Ok, I glanced over this article (I didn't follow the links therein, which might have my answers), but WHAT are these jobs, exactly? What kind of talent is lacking? I assume they are the high-tech, engineering-type positions that the state has been bending over backwards to attract. But, they could also be clerical jobs, based on reading this article. So, what is it? Are these companies looking to attract PhD engineers to Michigan, or computer-literate clerical workers? I'd ask the people cited in the article, but I am not a reporter.

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 7:24 a.m.

Paul, maybe you should be. At least you can ask the right questions. Too bad others don't.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

Why does this reporter- in particular- never talk to anyone who disagrees with the Snyder dictates set forth as the subject of the article? He quoted not one single example of what sort of job Snyder's friends cannot fill with the current workforce. That's because it's BS. If he DID name an example, then someone could step forward and say, &quot;Hey, I can do that.&quot; The &quot;problems&quot; Snyder points to are (bogus) reasons FOR moving manufacturing away from Michigan. He doesn't want them solved, so he stays non-specific. His benefactors WANT production moved overseas but they want to be able to blame the ignorant workforce and the public schools- not their own greed. Production methods are being invented. Nobody is trained in them until they are trained in them. Schools cannot anticipate future production methods but they CAN teach people how to think and learn. Well, they COULD if they didn't spend their whole day in rote memorization of factoids to pass standardized tests. Companies need to be forced to train workers or they will use the lack of specifically trained workers as an excuse to move. They don't seem to mind training foreign workers on foreign soil.

Monica R-W

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 7:22 a.m.

This 'reporter' is running Snyder's agenda on Ann and that says everything about the state of affairs with our 'media' in this state. I have called this out on multiple occasions. Remember, he wrote an entire dictation on a paper Snyder wrote while in college, what like 30 years ago. Who cares? No manner how much Nathan spins for Gov. Snyder...he can't spin the 19.3% favorable rating Rick received on Michigan's State of the State survey. The question to ask Nathan -which you never will- is what are these employers that received a 1.8 BILLION dollar tax break from Gov. Snyder are doing in the aspect of TRAINING Michigan 500,000 + unemployed job seekers, to fill their 'job openings'. But that would be too much like 'investigative reporting', right? Why do that when Press Releases, meeting and talking -i.e. writing points- come directly from Gov. Snyder's office. This article is....well, you insert the word.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

&quot;Companies need to be forced to train workers or they will use the lack of specifically trained workers as an excuse to move. They don't seem to mind training foreign workers on foreign soil.&quot; More government oversight forcing the hand of business. That will keep businesses here...


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:12 p.m.

Well said, timjbd!!!!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

Well how does reducing support for education and training for K-12 education support this &quot;mission&quot; long-term? How does reducing the safety net support the ability of the unemployed to get the training and skills needed to meet the requirements for these positions? Where are the programs to provide the training to the unemployed ? Where is the State working with Universities at all --- it looks like all they are doing is reducing State support, threatening them with further reductions, and now causing potential massive litigation regarding the domestic partner &quot;ban&quot; which is unconstitutional and unenforceable in Public Universities.

Smart Logic

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:52 p.m.

Wow. Very few people are willing to accept an open job at a low wage. When you are unemployed, you should be accepting anything you can to contribute to society and help pay your obligations. Nobody owes you a job, even with a college degree. People need to start somewhere and work their way up.

Michael Hartwell

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5:03 a.m.

Nonsense. Very few people can accept a job that will not enable them to feed their families. If Employers showed that hard work, dedication, and willingness to train. People can and do accept low wage entry jobs. But, If you take that job and when the business decides sweatshops in Asia will do the work for 10 cents on the dollar to Americans the job goes and there is no more working the way up.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:19 p.m.

That would be fine it were still possible. Have you even looked to see what the listings are and what requirements they are looking for? Hundreds of applicants for any single skilled entry level opening I've interviewed for in the past few years. Its like winning the lotto right now to be chosen for an opening. Thank goodness, at least I've had a steady job for the past few years I've been applying and interviewing for hundreds of openings so far.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7 p.m.

No. This isn't about the unemployed not accepting jobs or whether people are willing to start at the bottom. The people in the article are stating they can't find anyone to fill their positions since the supposed candidates lack education. The real premise here is that they don't want high school graduates. They want people with post-high school education, whether that be vocational or college. As noted, there is a gap in how or education system is structured. It is based on a model to prepare kids to enter a workforce of the 1960's or earlier. Traditional blue collar jobs are not so blue collar anymore. Manufacturing, construction, and farming have become very technical and mechanized fields. Yes, laborers are still needed, but not like they were in the 1950's. A current high school degree does not prepare a student for a career. It only provides them a platform to more specialized education.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:52 p.m.

Are we surprised at this? The public schools have been cutting skilled trade programs for years, Slickster is going to cut almost $2B a year from education so he can reward his fat cat buddies in business. We have to teach to the MEAP or more money is extracted from the public schools. The Republican tax cuts for the rich have devastated all governmental budgets and things only get worse as Rick piles taxes up on the people that can least afford it. I will have to pay at least $1200 more in state taxes next year. Thats a lot of jobs multiplied by a million or so.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:17 a.m.

Most jobs are learned off site rather then on site. I drive children to two different vocational schools at noon. In AAPS? Most either go to beauty school or a building site. There might be others but I am unaware of them at the present. Schools on site cannot afford them but out source. As for paying more in state taxes next year? Snyder is going to be turning those lites off sooner rather then later.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:27 a.m.

gyre, that argument is so tired. And so completely erroneous. And the only one the far right goes to when backed into a corner. Oh, those imaginary &quot;job creators.&quot; Yeah, right, please.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:38 p.m.

You know, there is something such as RECALL----it works in WISCONSIN!!!!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

You are so right. We should tax businesses so they have no profits to grow and create jobs. That will help us all. Companies will be flocking into Michigan to pay higher business taxes.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

The source for my $1200 more in state taxes is the fact that the property tax rebate has been cut by the Slickster and thats what I got back last year from the state. The source for Slicks $1.8 B in business tax breaks is to google business tax changes Michigan. The source for the education cuts is the Mich state budget.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

Fair? We are talking about fair? Balancing the budget by raping the schools to give businesses short-term benefit is not fair. Period. Plus, it's stupid. Long-term investment in our future workforce is smart. But Snyder and co can't see beyond the end of their wallets.

Smart Logic

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

a2person: still waiting for the citations for the original claims. This just turns into another Republican bashing with no support. Also, read grye's response. How bout that?


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

Some business were being double taxed by the previous tax program. Was that fair?


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:58 p.m.

Smart Logic -- How bout starting off NOT giving business huge tax cuts that you can only fund if you SLASH public school funding to dismal levels??? How bout that?

Smart Logic

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.

Can you cite some sources for your claims, especially as it pertains to our current government? Also, assuming the citations are simply educational cuts, what would you propose doing differently to achieve a functional, sustaining budget? Facts and numbers speak best.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:45 p.m.

I really think, in this economy, that having a college degree is meaningless. It used to mean a link to a good secure job. Now it's just a info mark on a page. That's all the people are looking for. How good you look on paper, not in person. So if I need to start a new career path or want to try something new, I'll never be looked at. Even when I had years of experience I would still be looked over. So, yes, I took a min wage ($7.40) part time job. Why? Because it's a JOB. And the only one I got after a year of applying to everything under the sun. I see when I'm doing a job search that there are lots of job openings. But even the most basic paying jobs require years of experience. No employer wants to train anyone anymore. And all the classes in the world won't prepare you for the real world.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:36 p.m.

Unfortunately, we're in a era where people are being forced to relocate to find ADEQUATE work with MIDDLE CLASS PAY! It sucks to live in Michigan.....thanks to the Politicians!!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

Most schools only offering 10 different types of degrees in basket weaving over very few selections engineering or hard sciences don't help much either...


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

Michigan students cannot get a diploma without passing Advance Algebra. I'm wondering how many of those 77,000 require that.

Basic Bob

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 3:42 a.m.

@jns131, Try being a machinist or toolmaker without math skills. It's not happening. They probably use more math in a day than most doctors in a month.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:12 a.m.

Math teacher spouse here. My hubby says you need one year of Algebra I, one year of Geometry and one year of Algebra II to meet the requirements of state mandated math requirements. Which means that you get a break from math in the 12 grade. Kind of sucks doesn't it when you really don't need all that math unless you are going to be a vet, a doc or an engineer. Good luck out there.

Jon Saalberg

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

If you mean a Michigan high school diploma, that is so - if you mean a GED, I think the only requirement is that you pass the test. So if you are particularly smart, pass the GED test without taking ANY high school algebra (doubtful, but possible), then that is not so.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:52 p.m.

Another lie trying to be sold to the American public. These &quot;77,000&quot; jobs were jobs that have been recycled off of the old &quot;Michigan Works&quot; system, most of which wouldn't even qualify as pt. time. Employers in America aren't having a difficult time finding &quot;qualified&quot; candidates, they are having a tough time finding individuals with degrees that are willing to accept slave wage labor and no chance for benefits. Current college graduates are facing the prospect of earning only 40-50% of what their older and less educated counterparts earned 20-30 years ago while accepting the stigma of being &quot;lazy&quot; and &quot;self indulgent&quot; due to being reluctant to take such wages. Employers won't find qualified candidates until entry level wages can even touch inflation, or be somewhere near what baby boomers enjoyed when considering inflation. Couple this with a GROSSLY overpriced housing market and you have a recipe for national collapse. This issue isn't about the will of a younger generation to work &quot;hard&quot; or be less &quot;self indulgent&quot; but the ability for people to earn a living wage and be productive member of society, not slaves to the corporate machine.

Basic Bob

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 3:37 a.m.

@Daniel Soebbing, Poverty is not an absolute. There is a great difference between people slightly below the level declared by the government and people with absolutely no income at all. It may not seem worthwhile to strive for the upper end of poverty, but for some it is a realistic goal, even in the best of times. And besides, these skilled jobs are paying several times the minimum wage. Regardless of idle speculation and conjecture.

Michael Hartwell

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5:05 a.m.

Amen. Testify (brother and or sister).


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

arborcomment, I have a great job, thank you. You are dead wrong in your assumption that those of us arguing against the stacked system are necessarily unemployed or under-employed. I am happily and gainfully employed. I just think the system sucks. And it's not working.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:34 a.m.

djm, Poly, A2anon, Billy. You're absolutely right. It's all stacked and rigged. Don't even try. It makes it easier for the rest of us.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10 p.m.

Polyjuce123...Beautifully said. Thanks.

Daniel Soebbing

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:38 p.m.

A living wage is just the minimum amount of money that is needed to live above the poverty level in a given place, based on average housing prices, food costs, transportation costs and other factors that are unique to a given area. It is essentially the adjusted minimum wage. Are you opposed to the idea of a minimum wage? Would you have done those menial labor jobs for less than the minimum wage? If it is socialism to demand a high enough income to stay out of poverty than I think a solid majority of Americans would fall into your definition of socialist.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:14 p.m.

This model of hard work=advancement (and higher pay) at work is incredibly rare and in select industries. The glass ceiling is present in all industries, its woven into employment contracts and fine print stating that even though you work 40 hours per week, to HR you are still considered part time status. Employers care about profiting in the now, and investing as little as possible in talent and efforts to maintain it. If it can be streamlined, cut, or eliminated, it will be done. Why is home ownership at all time lows nationally? Why are lending institutions still weary of lending credit? The pieces of the puzzle aren't hard to see...people cannot afford today.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

Socialism?? what are you talking about? So, you think the current system where the rich get richer cuz all the laws and regulations and loopholes support EASY accumulation of wealth once you have it; but the middle class keeps getting poorer because actual WORK and labor is under-valued?


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

a living wage? smacks of about a fair wage for the level of work, education, experience? I've done my fair share of menial labor jobs when I was young and never once expected the same as the CEO...


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:39 p.m.

This announcement seems designed to promote slick's immigrant recruiting campaign. I would first ask what is a normal number of open jobs in this state? At any time there are always companies looking for employees. I suspect there would be no answer forthcoming to this or any other request for justificaion since its just part of the scam. Lets get to the real complaint of employers here. Its not that the talent isn't there. Its just that talented people aren't willing to work for a wage that isn't competitive, for companies that will kick them to the streets to pay the generous bonuses to their blundering members of the CEO good old boys club. This is capitalism at its most basic level.

Gene Alloway

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

&quot;I would first ask what is a normal number of open jobs in this state?&quot; Ray, that was my first thought too. I was also wondering why, if they are such great jobs, they aren't getting folks from all over to take them, like the oil field jobs in the Dakotas. If the pay is good, folks will come. If not, well, I can work for peanuts anywhere. And as to your second point, jobs lost during and since the Clinton administration are more often replaced with lower paying, lower benefit work, much of it temporary or part-time. No where does anyone specifically mention the jobs needing talent that are not being filled. Yet they can zero in and slam regulations, teachers, and poor people pretty fast. Seems like just another opportunity to spin problems onto the folks that did not cause them.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

Smart Logic, you clearly have no idea how the country has changed since you &quot;worked your way up.&quot; Everything favors success for those who already have it, at the expense of those less privileged. Everything.

Smart Logic

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:56 p.m.

I think it's entitlement at its most basic level. I'm pretty sure Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness does not include an entitlement for a perfect job, just out of school. You have to work your way up, like many of us have done.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:37 p.m.

Oh, and I want to see ALL elected reps and Senators, and Gov Snyder, take the ACT and have their scores published. Wouldn't that be a riot?


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:34 p.m.

@grye- Dude get a grip....we had a Potus who went to Yale and still made a strategic error costing thousands of lives by invading a country looking for OBL and weapons of mass destruction. When politicians are driven by rhetorical and ideological BLINDNESS we THE PEOPLE SUFFER TREMENDOUSLY......and to the tune of a DEPRESSED ECONOMY and special interest pillaging!!!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

I'll bet the Snyder's score was actually very high considering he graduated with an undergrad and law degree before he was 24.

David Cotton

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.

Given the current trend for government to cut back on school funding, I'm hardly surprised that potential candidates are lacking the skills employers want. Someone needs to spend money if they want to make money.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

Education for these jobs is still there. If a student wishes to do well in school, the current funding issues should not be a barrier.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

that's exactly right. Education is as much of a business investment as anything else. An educated population is the premise to our entire social system. We need it to have workers who are qualified, we need it to have voters who aren't idiots, and in general, we need it so that we can function on a day-to-day basis. All of this seems simple and obvious, but it takes actually investment in our education for it to work. paying lip service during campaign season does nothing.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

It sounds like the people Houtman wants are people with a college education but willing to accept the pay of a high school grad. Maybe pay the people in manufacturing a decent wage and you'll attract the talent. Isn't that how it works for executive boards?


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

I agree &quot;grs&quot;...folk's are working multiple jobs to try and make ends meet. If we would get off our &quot;proverbial&quot; pockets and pay a living wage it would add much more grease to the wheel. Our entire state would experience a better quality of life...IMO


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:10 a.m.

I have heard that now a days you don't need to graduate from college to get a good skilled paying job. If you want the bucks then you are going to need to go to college. But then again a lot of the graduates are not willing to locate to these jobs and move away from home. I guess you take the good with the bad. Most of the tech jobs these days do require skill and training and you only get that from a community college or a 4 year college.

Get over it

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:32 a.m.

We could pay people in manufacturing a decent wage if people bought Ford and GM not Honda and Toyota


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

I often wonder if the pay of these jobs are causing a problem. Are they liveable wage jobs or minimum with no bennies? And for education, often it is not the teacher's union (though I agree about the union vs. every day teachers) but rather elected officials in Lansing who determine what will be taught. Through testing, national standards, and the belief that every kid is going to college (no, trades and such are not looked at favorably at the high school level) it is the piper calling the tune.

Basic Bob

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 3:27 a.m.

People are free to stay on unemployment until it runs out, or take their chances on getting a promotion from Walmart or McDonalds. Or they can take one of those &quot;underpaying&quot; skilled jobs that are in demand. It may lead to a successful and lucrative career, something the other options don't offer.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:07 p.m.

They either don't offer a livable wage or are seeking such specialized skill sets that only one of a couple hundred applicants will even come close to meeting the requirements (or both). But a lot of its the former. Must be skilled and experienced in hoisting the weight of the world on your shoulders for less than minimum wage.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:28 p.m.

Alan, we posted at the same time -- I couldn't agree more!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

Ah, there's the rub!!! We need kids who can work in-depth and independently -- and project-based learning is shown again and again to be best practices in our schools, as Houtman notes. YET.... all these ridiculous high-stakes standardized tests create enormous pressure on teachers to cover more facts, more bits and bits of information that will be covered on test after test.... and even the teachers who WANT to spend more classroom time letting students pursue research and projects, feel they do so at great risk. Add to this &quot;standardized&quot; curricula which give classroom teachers no ability to be creative and adapt the classroom experience to the interests and needs of the kids, and we are moving rapidly in the exact opposite direction of best practices. ALL our legistlators -- from Obama to Snyder -- have an entirely wrong approach to education. And increasing for-profit &quot;charters&quot; with little overisght in the name of &quot;choice?&quot; Please. Skimming off involved parent families is all that is. We need to return some autonomy to our local schools, and quit this ridiculous high-stakes testing culture.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:23 p.m.

Well, we'll have to agree to disagree I guess. My feeling is that we are not, nor should we be, churning out widgits that are all identical. There are plenty of ways to assure that the future workforce is literate, curious, independent, innovative, and has the skills to move our society forward. I don't think the direction our schools are going is the right one.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

A2, I'm well-aware of the amount of waste that goes into the standardize testing. Like I said, I'm definitely no fan of it. I just hesitate when people want to go away from the concept of a standard academic course load. There are things that all students need to know, regardless of their strengths and weaknesses as students.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:44 p.m.

forever, nobody is advocating a complete dismissal of all forms of student evaluation. Do you have any idea how much time is spent just actually *taking* all these tests, never mind the time spent teaching to them???


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

while i agree that the standards tend to limit the approaches teachers can take towards educating their students, we need to have some sort of measurement, or at the very least, basic requirements, that people need to meet. I hate standardized tests as much as the next person, but i fail to see another system for gauging the level of achievement for students.

Alan Benard

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

--Houtman said universities need to design training programs that meet industry needs and public schools need to prioritize "project-based learning." At the elementary level, that means book reports, science projects and field trips, she said. --"The reality is these experiences get fewer and farther between as the student progresses, and this shouldn't be the case," she said. There is a good reason for this -- mandatory standardized testing forced upon local school districts by ignorant state legislators and the US Dept. of Education. The former is using these test scores as a stick to beat up teachers' unions. The latter is in the thrall of nonsensical and destructive free-market education philosophies pushed on the entire education industry by conservative private foundations, such as the Gates and Broad foundations. This is what you get when -- as does our Governor Snyder -- you believe that everything can be run like a business, according to metrics, and demand standardization. You fail the very parts of society you intended to help in the first place -- students and future employers.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.

American Exceptionalism!

Michael Hartwell

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5:08 a.m.

You do not get exceptional Americans without training and practice. Try 2 minutes on a Red Wing line as an example. Or weld a girder on a high rise.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

I'd love to know what the job descriptions are of those 77,000 unfilled positions.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:30 a.m.

Hate to say it, but Saline wants 5 plus years experience for school bus drivers. They did take some of the AAPS drivers that had it. Otherwise, it would be interesting to see if they took drivers with less time but more experience. Just a thought.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:58 p.m.

There are detailed descriptions for over 74,000 jobs on the michigan talent bank web site. Take a look for yourself.

Gene Alloway

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:45 p.m.

@ Polyjuce123 Yet older professional Americans are losing many jobs to younger folks who will work for less. And because of lost pensions, lower pensions, TAXED pensions, older workers are entering or staying in less well paying jobs that often go to high schoolers as a first job. So, generations are being hurt at either end.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

I'm guessing the people with the excusses above are unemployed.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.

@ grimmk Experienced is highly prized over education by the older generation, life experience is and will always be more valuable than classroom theory(to them. This is a national crisis, that is prohibiting young adults from entering the workforce and is shaping our recent HS grads to become the next lost generation. Google &quot;lost generation&quot; for many great articles on this.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

6. Must speak a foreign language


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.

5. Must have five years min experience. order to start a job you have to have experience in the job first. How is that helping us? I can't get experience to have experience!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:04 p.m.

1. Part Time 2. 8.50/HR 3. Must have open availability 4. No Benefits

Stephen Landes

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:07 p.m.

Next time the teacher unions (not teachers, but the entrenched leadership) complains about moves to give parents more choice in providing an education for their children please remember the real achievement gap we have in this state and the Country: the gap between what high school grads offer employers and institutions of higher education and the requirements for jobs and places in those business and institutions. &quot;Humorous&quot; anecdotes about people who can't make change for a dollar or complete a cogent sentence aren't really so funny.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:05 p.m.

I don't know where you folks get this dichotomy between teachers and their union. The truth of the matter is: the teachers ARE the union. I think a lot of people who grew up hating unions think they are something forced down the throats of their memberships from outside. I don't know about other unions, but I do know that the MEA is very sensitive to the needs and ideas and work of the teachers who make up that union. Take a look at the organization of the MEA and see how much the actual teachers are involved in the workings of the union. The MEA looks out for its members and helps protect them against arbitrary actions by board members and administrators and others in the community so that they can think about their work rather than constantly worrying about the axe falling on them because someone doesn't like them. Thinking people give up on these sloganish attitudes and actually, well, think.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:23 p.m.

As a general comment, most of the teachers I have met enjoy their job, love teaching kids, and generally give more to the classroom out of their own pocket than us average joes would tend to know. I think many of them are frustrated at the poor characterization, the politics of the local PTA and parents, and the challenge of educating kids when there are tons of distractions (abuse, bullying, etc). Parents, ever have a hard time teaching your kids something? Try doing it with a room full of 30 kids of all different backgrounds, learning styles, and disciplines. While not a vote of confidence to all teachers, in general I would like to say thank you for trying to teach our kids, and before I lay full judgement I had best walk a mile in your shoes. (disclaimer: while I've never been a teacher I have instructed classes at an university in the past)


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:39 p.m.

if the &quot;choice&quot; you refer to is charter schools, then you're only going to see further decline in our overall educational achievement. Rather than simply blaming the union leadership for the failure to educate our young people, maybe we should look at the way our governments prioritize their school systems. Ann Arbor has one of the best public schools in the state because they put their money where their mouth is in terms of tax dollars for education.

tom swift jr.

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

I would love to see Snyder show where he got that 77,000 number. I don't believe it for a moment.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:55 a.m.

I was at Snyder's town hall meeting, and a woman who owns a staffing agency brought this up. She said she is not finding qualified people to fill the positions she has available. She was nodding the entire time he was laying out his objectives for this problem. Before you say only people that agreed with him were invited, I'll tell you it was the exact opposite. People from occupations affected by his changes were invited specifically to ask him their questions. A representative from the UAW, a firefighter, the superintendent of a local school district, and a high school student asking about school funding cuts were all among the invitees.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:12 a.m.

Actually according to Michworks, the number that is posted on the site is inaccurate. Either due to multiple postings and postings not being improved at the moment. Also, when a position is filled it is not immediately removed from the website.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 11:09 p.m.

Judging by the headhunters calling me every week I'd say there are plenty of technical jobs out there. I just wonder how many go unfilled because Michigan has a bad reputation and people don't want to move here or want to leave.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:58 p.m.

So if this number is true then, that means we need to retrain 77,000 overall just to fit the bill and get hired right? And who pray tell is going to pay for this? Not me. I don't have the money to go back to school and if I did? How on earth am I going to pay it all back? If the job does not pay enough to go back to school and make it worth my while? Then I will continue to look for a job I can do best. So, Snyder? Are you going to pay to retrain these workers? I think not.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:08 p.m.

If you google michigan talent bank, you will find the website for employers to list positions that they have open throughout the state. Currently there are 74,123 jobs available today. There are probably other jobs available across the state that are not listed on this web site.