Detroit Regional Chamber > Detroiter Magazine > Advocacy and Education: Detroit Regional Chamber Supports Policy to Build Future Workplace

Advocacy and Education: Detroit Regional Chamber Supports Policy to Build Future Workplace

December 20, 2022

One of the most impactful ways business can support workforce development is through advocacy at all levels of government.

With one of the most respected advocacy teams in Michigan, the Chamber has a long history of supporting bipartisan policy that improves educational outcomes and increases access to education. It is actively supporting legislation and appropriations that contribute to reaching 60% postsecondary educational attainment, and reducing the racial equity educational attainment gap by half by 2030.

Major Recent Education Advocacy Wins

Announced in July, the fiscal year 2023 state budget includes $110 million to fund two Chamber-backed programs, including Michigan Reconnect, which as of late July had put more than 100,000 Michiganders on a tuition-free pathway to higher education and skills training, according to the governor. It also funds Going Pro, which helps small businesses develop in-house talent and fill highskilled good-paying job openings.

Sandy Baruah headshot

“Employers are crying out for talent and investing in programs that have proven records of success like Reconnect and Going Pro will help employers fill urgent talent gaps.”

-Sandy K. Baruah, Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Regional Chamber

Establishign the Michigan Achievement Scholarship

This legislation aims to make college more affordable to families while growing the state’s workforce and helping achieve the 60% educational attainment by 2030 goal. Through the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, students will be eligible for more financial aid from the State starting with the high school class of 2023. These annual scholarships are renewable for up to three years at a community college and up to five years at a private college or public university.

Supporting Adult Educational Attainment Through Reconnect Programs

In February 2021, the governor joined Republican and Democratic lawmakers to launch $30 million Michigan Reconnect the largest effort in state history to ensure that more than 4.1 million Michiganders who are 25 or older and do not have a college degree will have an opportunity to earn a tuition-free associate degree or skills certificate. The Detroit Regional Chamber helped advocate for the launch of Michigan Reconnect, which is aligned with Detroit Reconnect.

Since 2013, the Detroit Promise scholarship has served over 5,000 students from over 50 schools in Detroit. The program, administered by the Chamber, has more than 1,500 students from the class of 2023 registered.

Chamber’s Top Education and Talent Legislative Priorities

  • Implement Launch Michigan K-12 reform recommendations (upon agreement).
  • Partner with state on policies that contribute to the Chamber’s goal to achieve 60% postsecondary educational attainment and reduce the racial equity gap in education by half by 2030.
  • Secure state support to ease the financial burden of accessing postsecondary education and accountability measures to improve college graduation rates.
  • Establish programs with proven track records to increase college completion in traditional students and adults.