Mackinac Policy Conference results: 2008 conference produces Detroit Region's business agenda for building a stronger Michigan.

Position:Makinac Policy Conference

During the 2008 Mackinac Policy Conference, the Detroit Region's business community identified the top public policy issues that need to be addressed for building a stronger Michigan. Of all the topics discussed during the event, these three issues stood out the most: preparing, retaining and attracting young professional talent, reforming the state budget and embracing the TranslinkeD vision.


"The Mackinac Policy Conference provides a strong platform for the state's business, political and community leaders to address the critical matters facing the region and stale," said Richard E. Blouse Jr., president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. "After a lot of substantive dialogue, it is clear where the business community stands on what issues require immediate attention."

Conference attendees voted on a Business Ballot that included twelve issues selected by the Detroit Region's business community through polling and focus groups prior to the event. These topics received the most votes in the following order:

1 Talent, education, attraction and retention

2 Immediate budget reform

3 Elimination of term limits

4 Regional transportation system

5 Alternative energy

From the polling that took place before and during the Conference, a strategy to act on these issues--a business playbook--was created. The Chamber, along with other organizations, is now working to implement those strategies.

The topic of talent created a lot of buzz on the island. Over 70 young professionals attended the final day of the conference and participated in the Fusion track. The Chamber will pull together a Talent Task Force in the coming weeks to build on the momentum around the topic of talent from the Mackinac Policy Conference. The Chamber's WIRFD and Fusion programs will also continue working on initiatives that put the region and state in a strong position to succeed in the knowledge economy.

The Detroit Region's business community strongly believes reforming the size and scope of the stale government's budget is necessary if Michigan wants to compete in the global economy.

"The aim is to align public policies with economic development efforts in order to turn Michigan's economy around. The Chamber and other business organizations will advocate for these reforms with public officials in Lansing," continued Blouse.

The TranslinkeD initiative, unveiled during the annual Mackinac Policy Conference, was another subject of conversation among...

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