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New Department of Talent and Economic Development launches

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Courtesy of Governor Snyder's office
Governor Rick Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder has rolled out a new state department with the job of matching skilled workers with employers.

Meet TED. That’s the new state Department of Talent and Economic Development. Governor Snyder created the department by executive order to look at better ways to train and place workers with businesses that are hiring.

“It’s a new way of looking at government,” said Snyder. “Let’s take care of people. Let’s deal with root causes, and let’s give ‘em great opportunity.”

The governor says the first states to perfect talent development will have a critical advantage in attracting employers. But Michigan has been developing and re-developing its workforce training efforts since before the turn of the century. The governor says the new department will do a better job of training and connecting workers to jobs in Michigan.

Steve Arwood is the new TED director. He says businesses used to come to the state looking for special tax breaks. Arwood says now businesses are more interested in finding skilled workers.


“In this day and age, the business incentive is becoming the talent question. Every state in the country faces the same challenge, and I believe with this structure, we’re going to be well poised to move it right ahead.”

Stephanie Comai is in charge of the new Talent Investment Agency in the department. She says Michigan still faces a “talent gap.”

“Every business we talk to in this state is struggling to find the right skill set, the right skilled workers, when they are going out and looking for new employees. They can only expand their businesses if they’ve got that right skill set in the workforce.” 

Comai says the state needs to direct students and recent graduates to training in skilled trades, as well as help older workers get re-training. The job also includes helping workers with affordable housing. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.