This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

September 8, 2004

States Will Compete for Jobs…and Qualified Workers

State government economic engines have never stopped running. Attracting industry to build the tax base and employment opportunities is vitally important. With business expanding, we will see significantly more activity in this arena, with intensifying competition between states---and counties and cities---to build stronger economic environments.

The state of Michigan is a good example of what is happening in this field. Governor Jennifer Granholm is leading an aggressive effort to create and retain more automotive manufacturing jobs, as well as automotive research and development employment.

Auto industry leaders took the plan as a sign that government officials no are longer taking one of the state's leading industries for granted. The governor emphasized that the traditional models for nurturing the auto industry will no longer work, validating the message that government, industry, and education leaders must collaborate in different ways than in the past. "Our state's automotive strategy must advance both production and R&D jobs if we are to remain the epicenter of this global industry," she said

Michigan's six-step program includes working more closely with nearby states to attract new automotive production and research jobs to the region. The state will reopen three overseas recruiting offices during the next 36 months in central Europe and northeastern Asia. Concurrently, the state will build the capacity of the workforce by creating more financial incentives for college students to pursue auto-related careers. The governor pledges to remove regulatory hurdles and create new incentives to lure industry jobs.

Right on target with what we, as workforce futurists have been encouraging, the state's program will provide continuing education programs for auto workers with an eye toward creating a better-skilled workforce, and promote new business models that protect jobs while cutting costs. Leaders will encourage more collaboration between state universities and the auto industry, and study an industrywide database of industry research to help companies follow market trends and commercialize new products.

Similar initiatives can be expected in many states-and countries-focused on the industries that already operate in their jurisdictions. Additionally, economic developers will compete for new industries that match the available workforce

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