Snyder talks education, jobs on U.P. Tour

MARQUETTE — Governor Rick Snyder spent Thursday morning at Invent@NMU, where entrepreneurs and students get real world experience, taking a physical product from a concept to the market.

Snyder, a businessman himself, was impressed with what the program has to offer.

“This is right at the cutting edge,” said Snyder. “I think it’s wonderful what Invent@NMU is doing. It’s interfacing students, the community, and coming up with new products and ideas. Stay committed to this. You’re going to see a lot of exciting things come out of this program.”

Students at Invent@NMU walked Snyder through their entire program by coming up with a product, a safety glasses holder, just for the Governor.

“Our founding director, Dave (Ollila) told us to think from the governor’s shoes, to try and come up with an idea that would be useful for him,” said Rachel Barra, a senior at NMU. “When we were doing some research on the Internet, we noticed that he tends to do a lot of factory tours and what better than something he can use on those tours. We like to see any of our products go out the door and be used regularly.

“I wear safety glasses a lot,” said Snyder. “A lot of times they’re blurred and messed up. This is a way to keep them nice, clean, safe, and make it easy for me to do tours over and over again.”

After Gov. Snyder met with students at Invent@NMU, the tour continued at the Jacobetti Complex, where Snyder met with various manufacturing and skilled trades professors and students for about an hour. Gov. Snyder called the lack of career tech education in the U.S. a national problem. He wants Michigan to be part of the solution.

“I want Michigan to be No. 1 in solving this problem,” said Snyder. “I view that as a top priority for everything I’m working on and I’m quite open about that. We need to get awareness up with parents, kids, and we need companies to be more pro–active about saying what the demand is for these great skills. Many of these professions, these occupations will pay up to $100,000 a year for people relatively soon out of school. It’s really exciting.”

Snyder added that he recognizes the need to have more investment resources to keep up with the latest equipment in these fields.