Friday, January 20, 2006

In Michigan, a future where cars count less

In Michigan, a future where cars count less
High-wage jobs will come from focusing on human capital, not the Big Three.
By Mark Trumbull
Christian Science Monitor

LANSING, MICH. – It's Wednesday evening, and the west campus of Lansing Community College is humming with activity.

In one lab, students test their electrical skills. In another, they learn computer-aided design. On the main level, instructors and regional industry officials are discussing how to nurture the next generation of manufacturing workers.

It's a key question for America and, especially, for Michigan, as US carmakers pare domestic production. The state has faced job slumps before, most notably in the 1980s. But this downturn is different. The auto industry can no longer carry the state's economy.

Recovery will depend on "human capital," experts say, developing talent that ranges from PhD research to the professional skills taught in evening classes here at this new facility....