LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Governor Rick Snyder is set to unveil a series of measures on Thursday designed to help Michigan’s employers find workers. Snyder’s plan is aimed at providing better links between students, colleges and companies with jobs to offer.

Detroit Regional Workforce Director Karen Tyler-Ruiz said she hopes the governor will also address a big problem: Too many people who can’t read.

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“We have a large population in the state, and certainly in our local market, that don’t have the necessary literacy skills even to get into those training programs, so we hope that he would speak to that,” she said.

Ruiz said a big factor is that only 36 percent of the state’s residents have a post secondary degree.

“We agree that it’s important to attract and retain individuals with four-year degrees. The population that is currently in the work force will be with us for another 20 to 30 years and the majority of them do not have a post-secondary degree,” Ruiz continued.

Snyder will be speaking at Delta College in Lansing, where he will explain details about the “Pure Michigan Talent Connect” website.
(To view the website, click here)

The Gov. told the Associated Press that the new state website, which launched Wednesday, is designed to create a central hub that can help new workers and those trying to get back into the job market assess their skills, evaluate the return on investment for an education or training program, browse careers and connect with mentors.

“It’s really about creating a website, a web environment, where people can go through and … find out good information about connecting talent with jobs and careers, and giving people better tools to build their career on,” Snyder told the AP. “We have tens of thousands of open positions in Michigan and … we’re not necessarily turning out people with the skill sets to match up with those.”

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The governor’s recommendations for developing talent are aimed at lowering the state’s double-digit unemployment rate. Although the resurgent domestic auto industry is helping Michigan add jobs faster than many other states, it’s tied with Mississippi for the state’s third-highest jobless rate at 10.6 percent, behind only Nevada and California.

Snyder said getting more people back in the workforce is “not just about finding a short-term job.”

“It’s building careers and opportunities for the future, and focusing on minority opportunities, and how to bring back distressed areas such as Detroit,” he said. “It’s really about talent.”

The website offers special pages for job seekers, employers, “career explorers,” entrepreneurs and veterans. It has links to job listings, information for employers on how to post jobs and participate in job fairs, a career investment calculator, skills assessment tools, information about community college training programs, a way for entrepreneurs to link up with mentors and help for military veterans looking for jobs.

A variety of businesses and organizations have pledged their support for the website, including Kelley Services, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, universities and community colleges. Snyder said he hopes that feedback from employers and job seekers will make the site even more useful as more is added to the site over the next six months.

The governor sees the Talent Connect website serving a much bigger purpose than job websites such as

A lot of existing job sites are “about finding a job. It’s not about giving advice or counseling or tools to do career building, about what educational background do you need, what are the requirements, where you might find those tools,” he said. “This is a much more encompassing environment to really make Michigan a leader in the country on this in terms of talent.”

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