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Quality Education as an Engine for Economic Development

April 5, 2009

Last week I was at a meeting that included a presentation from Tony VanDerworp, the Director of Washtenaw County Planning & Environment.  He was discussing the project underway called, Ann Arbor Region Success. This project is led by various leaders in Washtenaw County and is focused on developing the Ann Arbor region as a hub for economic development over the next 10 years.

As he began, I planned on hearing how we needed good roads, communication systems, access to the airport, available warehouses, etc.  However, the leading issue noted for making this area one of the most exciting in the Midwest was a quality K-12 education system!  It is wonderful to hear planners and economic leaders discuss the virtues of investing in education.  The premise is that 21st century businesses that thrive on innovation need a talented workforce.  The ability to attract and retain this workforce requires a high quality of life – which begins with strong public schools.

We are fortunate to already have high achieving schools in the region.  I am very proud of Saline Area Schools and feel it is one of the best school districts in the State of Michigan.  It is great to know that not only are we helping the students in our community, we are also helping drive the economic future of the region.

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