As businesses continue to deal with the pandemic, issues like affordable housing, finding talent and childcare remain at the forefront.
Michigan leaders were able to share ways they’re helping bring resources to the area at the Northern Michigan Policy Conference in Traverse City on Friday.
“If we stay focused on the fundamentals, we can get Michigan on the path to real prosperity in all communities,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
A handful of topics were discussed at the Conference, with the main one being finding reliable workers during the pandemic.
“Small business owners that were here today, it’s a challenge to get workers here,” said Senator Gary Peters. “We’ve got to be focused on making by sure there’s skilled training available.”
Senator Peters says he’s hoping to get more training to the state.
“Often times employers have job openings but we don’t have employees with the right skills,” he said. “We have to be able to match those skills to employers. That requires a much larger investment in skills training.”
Another big issue for businesses is childcare, which Senator Peters is also looking to expand.
“As we’re looking for people to go back to work, they need to know that their children are being taken care of properly in day care,” he said. “It has to be affordable. If it’s not affordable, it’s really not an option for most families.”
Governor Whitmer is touting the newly-created Office of Rural Development will help connect resources to northern Michigan.
“We created the office of rural development focusing on affordable housing, focusing on talent, drawing talent in and retention of talent,” she said.
Governor Whitmer says the state has the funding to help communities with these issues.
“We’ve got billions of dollars from the Federal Government, whether it’s through the American Rescue Plan, or it is through the Infrastructure package,” she said. “We have billions that we can utilize to get everyone connected, billions that we can utilize to expand on affordable housing, that we can utilize on all these fronts.”