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Legislative Update December 8, 2021

Traverse Connect Supports Effort to Address Nursing Shortage

Traverse Connect this week supported a bill to address the nursing shortage in northern Michigan by expanding local training options.

House Bills 5556-57 allows a board of trustees of a community college to establish a nursing education program that grants a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

“This allows nurses to gain experience close to their local communities or within their local communities, and then go on to serve those communities,” said Rep. John Roth, noting that many aspiring nurses who leave areas they grew up in to attend four-year universities do not end up in rural areas or healthcare systems.

“I’ve been approached by numerous experts in the medical and academic field in northern Michigan who told me we need this program to meet demand. Grand Traverse County is getting older, and we need nurses as we are faced with an aging population. We also continue to fight COVID-19.  This is something we need, and all areas of the state will stand to benefit.”

The bills passed committee with bipartisan support and now move to the full House for consideration.


Winning Michigan Jobs Coalition

Traverse Connect and the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance this week joined the Winning Michigan Jobs Coalition, a group focused on helping Michigan regain a competitive edge for new jobs and investments.

The coalition is focused on:

  • Creation of sites to develop new projects
  • Incentives for job seekers to move to the state
  • State assistance for job creators via the Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • A streamlined process for connecting employers with job seekers

The first legislative components of the initiative, House Bills 5602-04, passed the House Government Operations committee this morning with bipartisan support and are slated for passage in the full House later this afternoon.

This package of bills puts Michigan in a solid position to win transformational projects that will bring long-term economic opportunity to regions and communities in northern Michigan and across the state.

  • Flexibility remains critical
    • SB 769 – HB 5602 Creates a strategic outreach and attraction reserve fund. Every project is different, and we want to ensure we have transparency and accountability while also putting together tailored, flexible project proposals that put Michigan in the best position to succeed long-term.
  • Site Readiness supports business attraction efforts in both rural and urban areas
    • SB 770 – HB 5603 creates a strategic site readiness program to provide grants, loans, and other economic assistance to develop investment-ready sites to attract and promote investment in this state.
    • Site availability and readiness have risen quickly as key deciding factors for companies when considering future growth and expansion opportunities. As we work to win projects across multiple industries in rural and urban areas, this program will ensure that Michigan can increase our inventory of sites, particularly large sites, to support projects today and in the coming years.
  • Michigan does not have the same “home court” advantage with EV manufacturing that it has enjoyed with internal combustion engine vehicle manufacturing; and must invest in new critical industries, like semiconductors, to secure long-term growth and opportunity.
    • SB 771HB 5604 creates a critical industry investment fund that will allow Michigan to make game-changing investments to businesses crucial to closing deals and creating and preserving skilled jobs in the state while generating significant capital investment.
    • Michigan ranks last among our major competitor states and provinces for investment tools that de-risk project economics.
    • Each direct EV/battery manufacturing job = an additional 2.7 supply chain or local community jobs created.
    • Each direct semiconductor job = an additional 1.5 supply chain for local community jobs created.


Global Talent Attraction Effort

Traverse Connect and the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance joined the Michigan Global Talent Attraction, Retention and Recovery Program, a proactive recovery funding request to expand the global talent supply in Michigan to help employers fill critical talent gaps in our economy.

The effort will help grow northern Michigan’s workforce by improving access to community college opportunities for new Americans and helping them navigate the state’s licensing and credentialing process.

The additional assistance will also be beneficial in recruiting educated new Americans to fill open vacancies in northern Michigan’s healthcare industry.

Read more about the initiative here.