LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Economic Development and International Investment Committee unanimously approved legislation on Thursday that would help attract professional talent and promote economic development throughout the state.
Senate Resolution 146, sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov, encourages Michigan communities to pursue innovative policies to attract young professionals working in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM), especially in financially distressed areas.
“Despite Michigan’s economic turnaround, many young professionals are still leaving to pursue opportunities elsewhere,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “The lack of young professionals working in fields demanding a STEAM background hinders local economic development. Senate Resolution 146 calls on leaders to address financial disincentives for STEAM professionals wanting to remain in Michigan and rebuild their distressed communities.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan has seen a net reduction of 4.4 percent in young workers aged 22 to 34 in the past five years. SR 146 states that reversing the outgoing tide of young STEAM professionals is of the highest priority.
Mackenzie Price, executive director of the Huron County Community Foundation, testified in support of the resolution.
“This focus on the retention and attraction of STEAM graduates in Michigan is a critical step towards mobilizing the philanthropic sector in this space,” Price said. “By supporting Senator Pavlov’s resolution, the state Legislature is opening the door for foundations to address the issue of talent retention on a local level. For Huron County, that means implementing a new ‘Reverse Scholarship’ program that will provide partial student loan repayment for those returning to live and work in the county.”
Randy Maiers, president and CEO of Community Foundation of St. Clair County, also expressed support for the measure.
“Senator Pavlov’s resolution would be another critical step in engaging more community stakeholders, and specifically community foundations throughout Michigan, in a collaborative effort to attract more STEAM graduates back home to Michigan,” Maiers said. “The issue of talent retention and attraction is something that impacts all aspects of community prosperity throughout the state.”
Among the economic development policies suggested in the resolution are incentives such as student loan assistance and employment relocation reimbursement expenses.
SR 146 now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.
Photo caption: Community Foundation of St. Clair County President and CEO Randy Maiers (left), Huron County Community Foundation Executive Director Mackenzie Price and Sen. Phil Pavlov testify in the Senate Economic Development and International Investment Committee in support of Senate Resolution 146, Pavlov’s measure to help attract professional talent and promote economic development throughout the state. The committee unanimously approved the resolution.
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