The Van Andel Millennial Board took its message to the State Capitol on Tuesday, delivering remarks to the state’s House Commerce Committee, meeting with young elected officials and attending a reception with dozens of state representatives.
“I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve sat in where we’ve talked about what we could do to retain talent,” Millennial Board founder Carol Van Andel told the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday morning. “We all have ideas and many of them seem pretty good as we sit around a boardroom table. But we were missing a key ingredient. We were missing the voice of the soon-to-be graduates who we were seeking to keep. In fact, we were simply guessing at what students thought, what they needed and what they wanted. Well, I’m proud to say that we have stopped the guessing with the Van Andel Millennial Board.”
Casey Hoffman, chair of the Millennial Board, represented the board members and detailed much of the research that the group has conducted.
“Our research showed that talent retention isn’t a ‘this or that’ scenario,” Casey told the House Committee. “Our peers seemingly want it all, and believe that jobs, affordability, safety, good schools, vibrant communities and multiple modes of transportation can be found together.”
Following the House Commerce Committee meeting, the board met with two young, dynamic state representatives who are in their 20s – Frank Foster (R – Petoskey) and Andrea LaFontaine (R – Columbus Twp.). Foster and LaFontaine shared insights on what it is like to represent thousands of citizens at the State Capitol while gaining the trust and respect of peers, business leaders, lobbyists, etc. The chiefs of staff for Foster and LaFontaine, also both in their 20s, attended the session as well and provided great insight into the behind-the-scenes efforts that make state government run. One even had a lead on an internship for a Millennial Board member.
Following an update on the Millennial Board’s activities to the Michigan Colleges Foundation’s Board of Directors, the group attended a reception at the Michigan Restaurant Association and met with many of the elected officials who represent them and their colleges in Lansing. It was a great day.
The trip was another part of the board’s efforts to see “the real Michigan” and provides great information to share with peers back on campus. As we use the summer months to plan out many of our visits for the upcoming school year, we’re excited by the course ahead and what it means for Michigan’s talent retention efforts.