MARQUETTE — Between 2000 and 2010, Michigan lost about a million jobs. More than 250,000 private sector jobs have been added to the economy since then, and on Wednesday, Marquette business leaders learned how to continue growing the Upper Peninsula’s economy.
Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, spoke to members of the Lake Superior Community Partnership about his Michigan Turnaround Plan, explaining how to get the state’s economy back on track. He said access to health care and Northern Michigan University make the Marquette economy strong.
“If you look at where a lot of growth is occurring, it’s around university campuses,” he said. “The other is downtowns. You’ve really got a sense of place in your downtown with restaurants and bars. I came in last night-bikers every where on the street, so those are great things. It gives people a place where they want to be, so I think you have lot of assets combined with your natural resources that you have in the peninsula as a whole to really grow good jobs for the future.”
Encouraging entrepreneurship and keeping young people in the area is an important factor to growing good jobs for the future.
“I see a lot of tech companies and small businesses starting where people are coming out of the university or coming out right from their own lot and life if they’re mid career saying ‘Look, I got an idea, I think I can make a go at this’, then you’ve got the infrastructure up here to be able to do that,” he said. “With the Internet today and technology you can be anywhere and start a business. And I think what you (Marquette and the Upper Peninsula) need to do is sell the quality of life you have up here to keep more folks from feeling like they have to go somewhere else.”
Rothwell also said while the state of Michigan had some tough times, the state is turning things around and is on the upswing.