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Michigan Colleges

Michigan Colleges


Michigan is a state with a lot of shoreline, touching on four of the five Great Lakes.  It ranges well to the north, split into two sections by the Straits of Mackinac which separate Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.  The two halves of the state are joined by one of the world’s longest suspension bridges. 


Michigan has a significant amount of forest land and wood products are significant to the state’s economy.  Scattered through those woods and hills are over ten thousand inland lakes.  Combine that with three thousand miles of Great Lakes shoreline, and you have a state that is a magnet for sportsmen and commercial fishermen as well. 


It has been a heavily industrialized state since the 19th century; notable in its industrial history is Henry Ford’s invention of the assembly line for the manufacture of his Model T automobiles.  Michigan remains the number one producer of automobiles in the nation, despite the construction of assembly plants in states as diverse as California, Tennessee and Texas.   The slow decline in the status and marketability of American autos has set the Michigan economy into a permanently unsettled state.


Michigan exports important quantities of other industrial products including all manner of machined steel products, breakfast cereals and furniture.  But auto plant closures in Dearborn, Flint, Detroit and Lansing have led to the loss of an enormous number of jobs.  Both GM and Ford have recently announced world wide layoffs in the tens of thousands.   The mechanisms of state sponsored economic development face an enormous task.


Detroit has become a national icon for urban decay and despite years of efforts remains a struggling city.  But parts of the city are revitalized and the rest of the state remains a beautiful place with an important tourist industry fed by all those inland lakes, the forests and the Great Lakes on its borders.


The University of Michigan is the major state sponsored institution: its flagship campus is in Ann Arbor and there are three other campuses around the state.  Tuition for an out of state student starts at about $14,000.  Other state colleges and some private schools round out the higher education opportunities in the state.  There are even schools in the Upper Peninsula area, the area of the state on the northern end of the Mackinac Bridge where the weather has been described as “ten months of winter and two months of poor sledding.”


Michigan has become an icon for the country’s difficulties that are sparked by antiquation.  Detroit is everybody’s favorite urban war zone, when the fact is that most of the downtown and a number of the neighborhoods have been rebuilt and revitalized.  The difficulties of the American automobile industry are centered there, simply because that is where the auto industry was born and built.  The automobile factories are old and outdated, as, unfortunately, are some of the labor agreements. 


It is worth noting, however, that all three of the major auto companies are now global in scope, with affiliates that are building state of the art cars.  While Michigan faces a vast chore in revitalizing that sector of its economy, it will have help from corporations that include successful manufacturers from around the world.
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