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Position:Attract, Retrain and Retain Talent

BY Scnator Buzz Thomas

Q: What are the most important factors in making MI attractive to young professionals?

While thinking through what we lacked, I realized we have so much that is attractive to this coveted group-top tier universities, world renowned museums, and the Great Lakes. We also have a fantastic-and historical-music scene that rivals any state in the union.

So why are so many Spartans, Wolverines and graduates from every other Michigan university taking our degrees and leaving? No question, our job market is weak, and while our cost of living is lower than most of the "cool cities" throughout the country many believe our economy has not hit bottom yet.

While cities like Nashville and Minneapolis are aggressively courting young professionals, I wonder if we appear to be dividing ourselves by race, region, religion, and economic status. Is Michigan too subdivided, with 83 counties. 553 school districts, and 1775 cities, towns and villages? Are we so busy fighting for our little piece of the pie that we forget that we are all fighting for the same goal, to make Michigan as great as it was for our parents? Michigan offered them hope and a future, but does Michigan now serve as that beacon? Do we look at immigrants as a hope or threat? Does success for one community inspire us or make us envious?


With the world flattening and other cities and nations more accessible than ever, Michigan needs to build bridges and work together to create the synergy to be the economically and socially hip destination. Otherwise we will continue to be part of the Rust Belt while Chicago and even Singapore continue to define the 21st Century.

Buzz Thomas is a state senator from Detroit and the democratic floor leader.

By Representative John Proos

If Michigan is to succeed in the 21st century economy, we must work harder to create the jobs, quality of life and the way of thinking that appeal to the needs of...

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