Snyder talks post-grad jobs, campus sexual assault in 2017 State of State address
The governor did not mention college affordability
LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder said new college graduates should be optimistic about their career opportunities in Michigan, but made no mention of student loan debt or college affordability during his seventh State of the Sate address.
Snyder delivered updates on the state's progress and roadblocks going into 2017 on the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 17. The term-limited governor hailed the state's efforts to "create an environment for job creation," which has amounted to some 500,000 new jobs since he took office in 2010.
According to statistics presented in Snyder's speech, Michigan is No. 1 in private sector job growth compared to other states in the Great Lakes region. Michigan is also No. 6 in private sector job growth in the nation.
Snyder added there are now more than 200 new career opportunities in Michigan, with "the lowest unemployment rate since 2009."
"We were a broken state in 2010," Snyder said. "The question we heard most often was, 'Where is there a job?' (in Michigan). That's not the question we hear today. It's, 'How do I get the training I need to take that job?'"
Snyder said a majority of these new areas are in manufacturing, with more than 116,000 skilled labor positions now open in the state. Michigan has also seen significant growth in high-tech computer science and robotics jobs — some 90,000 jobs now open around the state.
The governor said more graduates from state universities, community colleges and vocational schools are choosing to stay, work and live in Michigan. In addition, Snyder said the state is attracting more graduates from outside of the region.
"We've had five years of population growth in a row," he said. "We now have the highest net-bound inward migration of young people with a bachelor's degree than any other state in the Great Lakes region.
"They can choose any state in the nation, but they're choosing us because we have created a climate of success."
While the governor spoke proudly of his efforts to boost vocational training and K-12 funding, Snyder made no mention of a plan to curb student loan debt, nor any plans to increase state funding to public universities.
Snyder made drastic cuts to public university funding in 2010, his first year in office. He has since worked to increase funding, but that number has yet to reach comparable state support from before 2010.
However, Snyder did pledge to combat a different pervasive issue facing college students: on-campus sexual assault. The governor said First Lady Sue Snyder was continuing her work with the Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program, which gave $500,000 to help universities prevent rape and sexual violence.
Snyder said the grants are being used around the state for prevention programs. He did not give any other details on how these programs were being implemented.