As Michigan continues its reforms to create a better business environment, Governor Rick Snyder has recently added legislation that extends the scope of the 21st Century Jobs Fund. This fund aims to make grants and loans available to a larger amount of businesses and industries and allow a more flexible approach to awarding these funds. Specifically the focus is on trying to build Michigan into a leader on the forefront of research and technology fields. Snyder hopes that with this expansion Michigan will be furthering its creation of “an environment where small businesses can grow and create jobs.” This initiative seems to represent a hopeful step in the right direction for the state of Michigan..
One of the best aspects of the 21st Century Jobs Fund is that it aims to eliminate restrictions for businesses and institutions looking to relocate in Michigan. The thing that Michigan needs to focus on in this modern economy is diversifying its whole economy to enable growth throughout the whole state, not just in one region or industry. The 21st Century Jobs Fund is looking to help expand four different areas: life sciences, alternative energy, advanced automotive, manufacturing, and materials, and homeland security. All of these areas are on the cutting edge of the nation’s economy, not just Michigan’s and because of the national relevance, it only makes sense that Michigan will focus on these areas. In addition, if expansion can be seen in these areas of Michigan’s economy, it will be much easier to attract businesses. Businesses want to move to where their industry is at the forefront of its field. With this new initiative hopefully businesses will once again be attracted to what Michigan has to offer.
Michigan’s best move right now is to stay relevant-and to make an effort to show that they are open to expansion and growth. Many would argue that the recent nationwide recession was felt especially hard in Michigan because we did not have multiple industries to “fall back” on after the automotive industry started to struggle. When looking at other states and how they diversify their economy, the solution seems to be startlingly clear: keep your state and its industries relevant and on the cutting edge. Michigan has the Great Lakes, which can be a major resource in their campaign to attract businesses and also help Michigan with its research on alternative energy ideas. There are several industrial cities that can be used to our advantage and great institutions of higher learning where future business owner, leaders, and researchers can be trained in the fight to keep Michigan relevant and diversified. Time will tell if Snyder’s proposed legislation, tax cuts, and new business incentives are really effective in bringing more business to the state. Until then, Michigan must strive to be constantly aware of their position in the national and global marketplace and how better conditions for businesses can ultimately mean better conditions for the state as a whole.