By Carol Cain
“Michigan Matters” Host/Producer CBS 62
Gov. Rick Snyder is heading to Germany and Italy during his second trade mission to build business relations and learn more about skilled trades.
“When it comes to countries, Germany has done a great job with its skilled trades and helping make sure they are trained in the right areas,” Snyder said during taping of the Michigan Chronicle’s Pancakes and Politics which airs 11 a.m. Sunday on CBS 62 as a special episode of “Michigan Matters.”
“We have 76,000 open jobs right now in Michigan and we need to find better ways of having our people better trained for them,” Snyder said.
“Our unemployment rate is 9-percent right now but if we could fill those jobs, it would drop 2-percentage points,” Snyder said during a far ranging conversation in front of a standing room only crowd at the Detroit Athletic Club.
Snyder, who will visit Italy and Germany during his trip which take places March 17 to March 24, will be pushing the state’s research and development prowess and its auto heritage.
“We will deliver the message that Michigan is more business-friendly than ever and this is an opportune time to invest in a state that is reinventing the ways we can help them grow their businesses,” Snyder said.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson will cross paths with the governor as he will be in Italy for his own trade mission. They will be in Turin for a dinner Monday night.
Two well-known Grand Rapids executives assisted Snyder’s team in the trade mission: Former U.S. Ambassador to Italy and philanthropist Peter Secchia and Birgit Klohs, who runs The Right Place.
During the “Pancakes” taping, the governor took time to talk about the status of education in the state and gave a shout out to Roy Roberts, Emergency Manager of Detroit Public Schools.
“He is my hero,” Snyder said of Roberts who signed on for another year. “He has made children the focus and it is about their future. He has also helped whittle down DPS’ financial woes.
The governor also talked about the role of race in trying to reinvent Michigan and said that it struck a chord in Detroit more than anything in the state.
“We have to remember we are all in this together,” Snyder said. “We need to find common ground and those areas we can work together .”
He also said having an Emergency Manager for Detroit would represent “failure” and he hoped a consent agreement could be worked out with Mayor Dave Bing, city council and state review panel.
“We also need to stop planning and start doing, “ Snyder said, referring to a plan created for Detroit in the 1970s that was never implemented.
When pressed, Snyder refused to give himself a grade on his plan to reinvent Michigan saying: “This isn’t about anyone taking credit. There are only two things I am interested in — creating more jobs and a brighter future for our children.”
Carol Cain is the Emmy winning senior producer and host of CBS62’s “Michigan Matters.” She also writes a column on politics and business in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-355-7126.