LANSING – Michigan has to find ways to make college

education more affordable given it is essential to getting ahead economically,

but it also has to support more programs that provide hands-on job training for

youth and adults, the Center for Michigan said in a recent report.

Among the key recommendations of the report,Getting to Work, was reducing both the cost of higher

education and the debt load for graduates.

“If you want to prosper in Michigan, prepare early and

train often. In the wake of the Great Recession, good jobs are still difficult

to find – and almost always require a college degree or other forms of formal

training after high school. And Michigan needs to clear big hurdles to make

career preparation more available, relevant, and affordable,” the report,

based on polls and public listening sessions, said.

But those participating in the group’s efforts said

training is becoming too costly. Among the recommendations was more state

spending for colleges and universities, but also more options for high school

students to earn college credit where the K-12 schools cover the tuition or

otherwise sponsor the courses.

“Expansion of paid summer internships and intensive

job and skills training for youth have strong public support,” the report


Adults also need support in training and retraining, the

report said. “Expansion of apprenticeships, skills training programs, and

retraining scholarships for disconnected workers have strong public

support,” it said.

The report combined community meetings and polls of the

general public and online surveys of educators and college students in reaching

its recommendations.

Among those groups, more state funding had at least 81

percent support and expanded dual enrollment had at least 84 percent backing.

The institutions also need to be more efficient and more

accountable for the funds they have, the report said.

Before getting to higher education, high school students

need more guidance in making the best decisions, the report said.

“Michigan residents want school counselors to be certified in college and

career advising, dedicated college/career advisers in every high school, and intensified

curriculum on college and career choices,” the report said.

The surveys showed a majority of the public thought college

and career guidance in college and vocational training programs was good (51

percent good or excellent to 49 percent lousy or terrible in the surveys, 55-46

in the community conversations.

But high school counseling services did not even see

support from among educators. In the community conversations, 67 percent saw

the programs as lousy or terrible, while 54 percent felt that way in the online

polls and 46 percent in the phone polls.

Support for having dedicated college and career advisors in

high schools, and having them certified, topped 60 percent through every group.

This story was published by Gongwer News Service. To

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