Lansing, Mich. – As schools around Michigan open their doors for the new academic year, calls for updating Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to include sexual orientation and gender identity increased in volume today, with the announcement that Michigan’s K-16 education community supports the needed change.  The Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, the Michigan Community College Association (MCCA), Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) and Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA) all officially signed on to become members of the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition.

“This update is naturally aligned with our mission,” said Dr. Michael A. Boulus, Executive Director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan. “We ensure that our state’s public universities serve the public good through educational, social, and economic development.  Promoting diversity, public accountability and a welcoming economic climate for our staffs and students are of course among our core values.”

Currently, the ELCRA makes it illegal to subject people to differential treatment based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status.  Employers are prohibited from discriminating in hiring, compensation or the terms, conditions or employment privileges.  Sexual orientation and gender identity are not included under the ELCRA.

Michael Hansen, President of the Michigan Community College Association, noted that updating ELCRA would send a strong message to workers both inside and outside of Michigan.

“It’s only one piece of the puzzle for building up Michigan’s talent base, but it is a crucial one,” said Hansen.  “We in education are on the front lines of preparing students for their futures.  We want a Michigan where they all can stay, settle and succeed.”

“It’s long past time for Michigan to add these important protections to its civil rights law,” said Jim Murray, one of the coalition co-chairs and president of AT&T Michigan. “I am optimistic that this issue will soon be addressed in law.”

The Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, based in Lansing, is a nonprofit higher education association serving Michigan's state universities. It serves as a forum for the presidents and chancellors of Michigan's 15 public universities to discuss and frame positions on key higher education finance and policy issues.  MCCA is the association of Michigan public community colleges whose mission is to provide leadership on issues affecting its 28 member colleges.  MASB is a voluntary, nonprofit association of 600 local and intermediate boards of education located throughout the State of Michigan, and MAISA is comprised of superintendents and administrators representing the 56 Intermediate School Districts (ISDs) in the State of Michigan.

The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition, which was introduced in May.  To learn more about the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition and to sign up to find information about joining, visit: http://www.michcwc.org.

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