MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday announced the three “pillars” of her economic agenda.
Whitmer said her MI New Economy plan is “laser-focused on getting Michigan back to work and helping us become the kind of state we strive to be.”
“It’s a comprehensive vision for the state’s economy and a plan to meet the opportunity of this moment by growing the middle class by supporting small businesses and by investing in our communities,” she continued. “Before we get in to it, we have to, of course, take stock of the challenges because we do have challenges, there’s no question. We have a lot going for us, but there’s much work left to do. Getting back to where we were pre-COVID isn’t enough. We’re going to do better.”
Her announcement came during an afternoon press conference on Mackinac Island, where she and other major players are gathered for the annual Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Mackinac Policy Conference.
“The plan sets strong but attainable goals backed by data and formed in partnership with the business community,” Whitmer said. “By identifying the challenges that we face, I know we can work towards solutions that will allow us to grow the middle class and lift a million Michigan families out of working poverty.”
She said she wants to reach a goal of 60% of adults with some sort of post-secondary education by 2030, pull 100,000 families out of poverty in the next five years, provide low-cost or free child care to some 150,000 families by 2024; reach the top 10 among states for small business growth, household income growth and venture capital funding growth by 2026; make high-speed internet available across the state and rehabilitate 75,000 housing units by 2026.
“Despite the incredible challenges we have in this state, we still don’t have enough of our fellow neighbors with the skills and the degrees and the job opportunities that they need and, frankly, we all need as Michiganders for our state to succeed,” Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah said at the governor’s press conference.
The Mackinac Policy Conference began Monday and runs until Thursday. The annual event was canceled last year due to the pandemic and this year pushed back to fall rather than being held in the spring as usual. The economic coming out of the pandemic is expected to be a major theme.
—News 8’s Luke Laster and Rick Albin contributed to this report.