Our Research, Insights & Solutions

TalentFirst publications provide rich resources, data-based insights into talent trends, employer best practices, and policy recommendations. 


This report provides a comprehensive overview of early care and education (ECE) compensation in Michigan and proposes a unifying wage scale that places ECE wages on par with comparable roles requiring similar skills and qualifications. The wage scale provides guidance on what ECE professionals should be paid based on their geography, role, qualifications, and years of experience — regardless of setting — and provides guidance for wage and scaling increases over time.
Cover of Adult Postsecondary Education in Michigan & Beyond
An overview of the state of adult postsecondary enrollment and completion in Michigan, including barriers faced by adults, promising solutions to address those barriers, and a road map for success.
This playbook provides practical tactics, metrics, and resources to support the recruitment, development, retention, and engagement of talent in the new era of work.
This report examines the current state of adult foundational education in Michigan and provides a series of recommendations to elevate the system.
This report identifies possible explanations for declining labor force participation in Michigan and provides a roadmap of reforms to promote employment and economic mobility.
In an effort to better track progress, TalentFirst selected six key performance indicators to measure the economic conditions of West Michigan against those of 11 peer communities.
An in-depth look at population, labor force, and employment trends in West Michigan.
An overview of the current state of the childcare workforce in West Michigan, including wage comparisons against similar occupations.
By building on the foundation established by experienced DE&I leadership, this guide seeks to support the progress of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in West Michigan and beyond. The guide documents what a DE&I leader needs to know and be able to do to be effective in their role.
An in-depth look at the effect of automation on Michigan's workforce and the growing value of soft skills.
This report sheds light on Michigan's SLDS to provide stakeholders with well-sourced insights about the use of the current SLDS and to guide improvements toward a best-in-class system.
A look at the past, present, and future state of West Michigan's workforce system.
A survey summary of child care providers that identifies barriers and makes recommendations to improve access to quality, affordable child care across West Michigan.
This report summarizes both the barriers and leading practices around hiring returning citizens, whose employment is essential to the individual, the workforce, and the community.
This report summarizes the findings of the Workforce Development Working Group in order to increase the labor force participation rate and increase upward economic mobility.
This report summarizes the Persona Project carried out by Talent 2025 and Method & Craft in 2016 to support the work of the Workforce Development Working Group.
Published in August 2016 by Public Sector Consultants for the Workforce Development Working Group.
Published in 2015 by the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group of Talent 2025.
Published in September 2015 by the K-12 Working Group of Talent 2025 and by the NewNorth Center.