2018 COMPASS AWARD RECIPIENT: Former State Representative Brett Roberts

Ensuring public policy supports Michigan’s momentum toward achieving the Big Goal – 60 percent by 2025 – is a critical strategy of the Michigan College Access Network. Working with mission-aligned allies, MCAN advises policymakers at all levels on crafting dynamic legislation that results in reduced barriers and increased attainment across the state and country. Recipients of this award have launched and/or championed bold proposals that focus on increasing Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate.

1. You received the Compass Award based on your ability to ensure policy supports Michigan’s momentum toward achieving the Big Goal, 60 percent degree attainment by the year 2025. Tell us why education is one of your priorities?

Education has continued to be one of my priorities because it ensures that Michigan will have a healthy economy for generations to come. By investing in our students today, we are creating a solid foundation with which students can work toward the careers that suit them best. Following the great recession, students were often choosing that college was too expensive for them, or that it was more affordable to pursue a degree in another state. I don’t want that to be the reality for my own kids. Michigan is growing more and more every day, and strengthening schools and colleges in the state will incentivize current students to invest their time and professional lives back in Michigan instead of moving elsewhere.

2. What specific upcoming policies/initiatives around education do you see having a big impact in Michigan?

The Legislature recently approved the Marshall Plan, which is a $100 million project designed specifically to support Michigan's educational systems and guide them toward preparing students for careers and in-demand jobs. It’s no secret that Michigan’s unemployment rate has dropped significantly in recent years, however, we now have thousands of job openings in careers where the labor supply is struggling. With the approval of the Marshall Plan, I think that Michigan can reasonably expect that students today will be guided, if they’re interested, toward jobs that Michigan is in desperate need of filling. Doing so will result in a positive impact on the state’s economy.

 3. Do you have any advice for constituents interested in advocating for or engaging in policy such as education policy?

The most effective leaders in any policy start where it matters most: the local level. If you’re interested in education policy, get involved. Go to school board meetings and don’t be afraid to engage with teachers, parents, or other school leaders. If you feel strongly enough about education policies, I would encourage you to either run for a seat on your local school board or pursue degrees that allow you to reach new conclusions about the most effective policies that schools and colleges can use when instructing their students.

Author: Former State Representative Brett Roberts
Posted: January 8, 2019

 

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