As part of her “Home for Opportunity Tour” throughout Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made several stops in West Michigan, where she met with the community about what work remains in order to improve access to education and opportunity in the state.
Whitmer visited Kellogg Community College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College and took tours at both campuses. While there, Whitmer discussed her plan for debt-free community college throughout the state, stating the plan will improve college accessibility and provide skilled workers to employers, according to CBS-affiliate station WWMT.
“It is an investment that has enormous rewards that dwarf the upfront investment,” Whitmer said. “I can confidently say it’s something that is going to be a wise use of resources.”
By 2030, 60 percent of Michigan residents will have postsecondary education under their belt, whether it is a college degree or trade certification, she said.
An educated and well-trained workforce plays a significant role in any economic growth, Whitmer said.
“In order to make sure that we have a quality of life that continues to climb as our economy does, we need to make sure that we’re making the investments that really improve people’s lives,” Whitmer said.
In addition, Whitmer also visited the economic development group Southwest Michigan First. In their meeting, she said the state needs to invest in education to eliminate the gap between the skills that workers have and the skills that employers hope to gain.
“When you’ve got an economy that is supported by the skilled workforce to fill jobs that are currently unfilled and jobs that are anticipated in the future and hopefully the investment it will bring into our state,” Whitmer said. “We’ve got to meet this skills gap and that’s how we’re going to do it.”
Whitmer also visited the Douglass Community Center to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Centers similar to Douglass can play a significant role in a community’s success, she said.