MACKIANC ISLAND (WWJ/AP)  –  Hundreds of CEOs, community leaders and government bigwigs are spending three days this week, discussing issues facing our state at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference.

The three-day event usually bring a number of annual reports and the same was true this year.

The University Research Corridor, made up of Wayne State University, UM and MSU, reported it had received nearly $300 million in awards for water-related research and outreach from 2009 to 2013. The Innovating for the Blue Economy report conducted by Anderson Economic Group also said Michigan ranked fourth in the nation with 718,700 jobs associated with industries related to water.

“Michigan’s entire history and quality of life is tied to water, and the URC works hard to protect that important resource and find ways to advance the state’s economy through water-related technology and innovation,” said URC executive director Jeff Mason in a statement.

—  A University of Michigan study released Thursday shows Michigan International Speedway’s economic footprint is more than $414 million a year.

“Hosting a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend is about so much more than simply hosting a stock car race,” Roger Curtis, President Michigan International Speedway said in a statement. “It’s about jobs, tourism, national visibility, economic impact and a quality of life for Michigan businesses and residents.”

The report specifically showed:

·         Michigan International Speedway generates more than $414 million in total economic activity annually, with nearly $173 million of that in direct economic benefit to Michigan.

·         Michigan International Speedway annually pays $2.4 million in local property taxes and more than $8.3 million in state sales and use taxes.

·         About 385,000 people visit MIS on an annual basis.

·         More than half of the attendees at Michigan International Speedway’s NASCAR events come from outside the state of Michigan.


Here are some more highlights from Thursday’s coverage…

Snyder, Others Target Shortage Of Skilled Workers

Detroit’s bankruptcy and Michigan’s bumpy roads are big topics at a business policy conference on Mackinac Island.

But another priority is a shortage of skilled workers. The “skills gap” means tens of thousands of jobs aren’t being filled due to a lack of qualified candidates.

Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday that it’s a “huge” national problem and Michigan must address the “massive disconnect.” He says many of the unfilled jobs would pay $50,000 to $80,000 jobs a year.

Snyder says he’s held economic summits to facilitate collaboration between business and colleges or technical institutes, but it’s “still not good enough.”
He says emphasizing the importance of university degrees in science and math was important, but Michigan hasn’t equally underscored the importance of skilled trades and career technical programs.


Secretary Of State Online Service Expanding to AAA

The Michigan secretary of state’s office is expanding its most popular online services to select AAA branches.

The will be accessible through computers and printers at AAA branch offices in downtown Detroit, Livonia and Grand Rapids. The pilot project is expected to eventually expand to all of AAA Michigan’s 31 locations.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced the new service Thursday at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference. She also announced a new partnership with Huntington Bank so state employees can tour a bank call center and share consumer-behavior data to implement best practices. lets most users renew their license plate tabs, change their address, order copies of vehicle registration records and sign up to be an organ donor.


Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan Says He Does Not Plan To Run For Governor
Asked about his political aspirations directly,”No,” he told WWJ’s Roberta Jasina in a live interview on Mackinac Island. “If I wanted to be governor, there were a whole lot easier ways to do it than running for mayor of Detroit.”

Michigan Mulls Update To Gay Discrimination Law
Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday urged legislators to consider updating Michigan’s civil rights law to prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity, applauding companies and the state’s two largest regional chambers of commerce for joining a business-backed push to amend the law.

Detroit Touts Plan To Provide 5,000 Summer Jobs For Teens
The 8-week summer work program is scheduled to start in 2015. Each teen would earn about $2,000 with half of the pay coming from $3 million in existing federal block grants.

[Visit this link for more Mackinac Conference coverage].

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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