In our effort to be a source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed as a world class community in a knowledge-driven economy, Michigan Future Inc. focuses on conducting research in three core areas and has recently launched a program to transform high schools in Detroit.
Our goal is to have a high prosperity Michigan with a per capita income consistently above the national average in both expansions and contractions. our approach has been to identify the most successful areas in the country and try to figure out what distingiushes them from Michigan and what assets does Michigan most need to nurture. Our work in this area has spanned over ten years and our most recent initiative has been the New Agenda for a New Michigan report, published in 2006 with an annual follow-up report to chart progress.
RETAINING AND ATTRACTING TALENT
Our basic conclusion: What most distinguishes successful areas from Michigan is their concentrations of talent, where talent is defined as a combination of knowledge, creativity and entrepreneurship. Quite simply, in a flattening world, the places with the greatest concentrations of talent win! States and regions without concentrations of talent will have great difficulty retaining or attracting knowledge-based enterprises, nor are they likely to be the place where new knowledge-based enterprises are created.
So retaining and attracting talent is at the heart of growing a high prosperity Michigan. We focus on college educated Millennials because they are the most mobile. Young people are the most likely demographic group to move. And among the young, moving from one state to another is highest for those with a four-year degree or more.
Michigan needs to do a better job of preparing its citizens for a knowledge-based economy. At the heart of our decades long decline prosperity compared to the nation is that we ranked thirty fourth in four-year degree attainment.
We need to transform a invest in our entire system of teaching and learning for both children and adults. Education attainment is now by far the most reliable path to the middle class.
The whole system needs transformation. Our work has been focused on one of the areas that most needs improvement: high school education in Detroit. Starting with helping launch University High School with the Ferndale Public Schools and Lawrence Technological University.
And now an ambitious plan to launch a HIGH SCHOOL ACCELERATOR PROGRAM which is tasked with opening 35 new small, open-enrollment, high-performing high schools in Detroit and nearby suburbs by 2017. The ultimate goal is to create an alternative system to large failing high schools operated by the Detroit Public Schools and its inner ring suburban counterparts. The accelerator will act as a third-party intermediary; that is, it will provide financial support, training, and direction to founders, principals, teachers and board members who wish to launch new, high-performing high schools.