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Michigan Coalition Offers Suggestions to Improve Workforce

September 6, 2012

A report produced by the Workforce Development Coalition, convened by the Michigan League for Human Services, offers strategies for improving Michigan’s economy by focusing on the development of its low-wage workforce.

The report highlights the fact that Michigan workforce advocates and policymakers must shift their way of thinking about the composition of the workforce. Manufacturing and production jobs are decreasing, while other sectors — including health care support occupations — are growing rapidly.

The coalition also recommends that workforce stakeholders and policymakers place a greater emphasis on developing and evaluating the “soft skills” — problem-solving, teamwork, communication, learning aptitude — of Michigan’s workers.

Elsewhere in the report, the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund is singled out as an example of an organization that has dedicated itself to creating training programs and employer partnerships for health care and green jobs.

PHI Midwest Director Hollis Turnham is a member of the Workforce Development Coalition. PHI Michigan Senior Workforce Advocate Tameshia Bridges also provided input to the coalition’s report.

The coalition’s suggestion that state laws be modified to allow the hiring of “some individuals in healthcare or long-term supports and services long after those individuals have completed prison time for the convictions” is attributed to PHI.

Currently, Michigan law does not allow for people to show that old criminal convictions are not a measure of current worthy character or employability.

– by Matthew Ozga

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