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Where Are We Now?

Ray Telang

Progress. That is what comes to mind when reflecting on my time as the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference Chair. It was my privilege to chair a Conference that continues to make tremendous strides year after year. 

As has been tradition, at the end of the 2018 Conference, a To-Do List was created. This list is critically important and serves as a roadmap to take the conversations on the island and put them into action items to focus on throughout the year.  

Below are just a few of the accomplishments from the 2018 To-Do List. A full report will be presented during this year’s Conference.  

Regional Collaboration 

Convene a principals-only, bi-partisan, multi-sector working summit of regional leaders to strengthen the ethos of regional collaboration and address long-standing challenges.  

Following the Conference, the Chamber began working with a regional group of CEOs and DTE Energy to formally stand up the Detroit Regional Partnership. The immediate priority throughout the year focused on standing up the Partnership, a regional entity focused on business attraction and marketing for the 11-county Detroit region. Th Regional Summit was put on hold for another act of regionalism –leaders coming together to form this entity – and it will take place as planned this fall. Furthermore, the Chamber has continued to convene regional leaders and champion issues that needed regional reinforcements around education and policy priorities. 

Next-Generation Mobility 

Develop, maintain, and advance a comprehensive policy and regulatory agenda to maintain Michigan’s leadership in next-generation mobility.  

During the 2019 North American International Auto Show, MICHauto, the Chamber’s automotive cluster association, introduced Michigan’s new Auto Caucus co-chairs to the industry and have been fully engaged with them throughout the year. Additionally, this past spring, MICHauto established policy priorities that focused on further development of talent, technology, and trade as the key drivers of progress. During private meetings at the Capitol, 25 automotive companies employing more than 25,000 people, presented the policy priorities to 25 Legislators. The Chamber has also been engaged in discussions surrounding electric vehicle infrastructure and distracted driving legislations. 

Health and Wellness  

 Provide useful and easy-to-implement strategies for Michigan businesses to help employees and their families prevent, and if needed, address opioid addiction.  

 Following the Conference, the Chamber launched a campaign to provide resources for addressing opioid addiction in the workplace via its communication channels and website. Resources were created and gathered from partners who actively address the opioid epidemic to prevent addiction before it starts.  Among other things, the Chamber captured best practices from other businesses who are successfully addressing the opioid crisis, providing clear takeaways for how to address it.   

Talent Attraction and Retention 

Launching a comprehensive strategy, based on national best-practices, to retain, engage and attract talent to meet the region’s future workforce needs.  

 In September, the Chamber launched “Let’s Detroit,” a collaborative strategy that uses technology to retain and attract young professionals. Let’s Detroit was designed to reduce the 36% of graduates leaving Michigan post-graduation by helping them find access to community, jobs, and people. A working group of 100 partners had a hand in the strategy, including young professional associations, economic developers, and business, nonprofit, human resources and recruiting professionals. To date, Let’s Detroit has more than 200 Detroiters engaged as resources through “Text a Detroiter” and to assist with growing professional networks, and has had more than 11,000 visitors since launch. 

Ray Telang is U.S. Automotive Leader and Detroit Managing Partner for PwC and was the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference chair.