Defunding higher education robs Michigan's future

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

There’s no doubt about one thing: Michigan needs a better educated workforce, more now than ever.

Yet one of the abiding mysteries of the past dozen years is the strange reluctance of the state’s leaders to invest in our future by investing in our citizens brainpower at colleges and universities.

“Reluctance,” in fact, isn’t the right term. Thinly veiled hostility is more like it.

That’s a puzzle, because on the surface it looks like shortchanging higher education is cutting off our nose to spite our face. After all, Michigan employers say they’ve got jobs for 70,000 people — if only they could find applicants with the proper skills. Statistics compiled by the House Fiscal Agency showed that unemployment for high school grads without a college degree is 10.6 percent, compared to 4.1 percent for those with a bachelor’s degree.

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