I had the opportunity to attend last week’s State of the State address as the guest of Rep. Mark Meadows (D-East Lansing.) There was much speculation prior to the speech on how Governor Granholm would use her last address to the people of Michigan. Little did I know her speech would be so focused on the very things that make up the strategies of NEI.

Her speech was titled “A State in Transition: Crossing to the New Michigan Economy.” The speech touched on a number of topics like governmental reform, balancing the budget and outlining the past seven years of her agenda but the bulk of the speech focused on transforming the State’s economy to a knowledge-based economy. The speech tackled all three areas of NEI’s work—building the entrepreneurism eco-system, strengthening the workforce development system and building off of the region’s assets.

She spoke about expanding services and resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners. She even highlighted the work of the NEI funded FastTrac trainings that are taking place through Wayne State University’s TechTown. After entrepreneurism, she focused on workforce development and helping businesses make the transition from the auto industry to emerging sectors like alternative energy, defense and homeland security.

From my perspective the speech was on target and made a convincing argument for what many of us in the field have been working on for the past few years. However, I was disappointed that the Governor didn’t spend more time talking about specific details on how to balance the state’s budget which has another projected deficit of more than $1.6 billion. I guess everyone will have to wait for the Governor’s budget message to answer the important question of revenue increases and budget cuts.

If you are interested in reading the speech, you can find it here.

Photo courtesy of Gary Shrewsbury