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The state of Michigan is “the poster child for the deindustrialization of America,” said the state’s governor, Jennifer Granholm, tonight at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.
Addressing the topic of providing leadership for change when the stakes are high, Granholm described her home as the state most impacted by globalization.
“The world has changed dramatically in the last five years,” she said. “Globalization is here — it’s like gravity; it’s not going to go away. The question is, how do we respond as a nation, and for Michigan, how do we respond as a state?...What do you do with that generation of workers that has been impacted so negatively by globalization? I think we need a federal Marshall Plan on this frankly,” she said.
Granholm stressed that there needs to be more flexibility in the use of federal Workforce Investment Act monies so that they may be used to close skills gaps between available jobs and workers. She also touted her state’s goal of doubling the number of college graduates in Michigan over the next 10 years.
“The challenge for me — as it is for all governors — is to convince the citizens that change is a good thing, that it is necessary and that it is a requirement for us to succeed....Sometimes a message of change gets you in a lot of trouble. Sometimes it gets you thrown out of office. But, I think you have to be honest with people about what is required and what the opportunities are,” Granholm said.
The Forum event was co-sponsored by the e-Government Executive Education Project. At a workshop prior to her public address, Granholm received a Pathfinder Award from the Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services and Government (HPG). The award is for exemplary leadership on the difficult issues of transition to a networked world shaped by a growing global, knowledge-based economy.