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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan unveils Choose Michigan talent attraction campaign to retain, attract STEAM talent

Sammie Lukaskiewicz

517-290-9249 |

Dan Olsen
517-290-7807 |

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich.— Where some choices can change your day, others can change the future. And Michigan is a place that gives you both, Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday unveiling the state’s new talent attraction campaign, Choose Michigan.

The announcement was made at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference in front of Michigan’s top business leaders and influencers. 

“We know STEAM graduates are in high demand across the country and have plenty of options on where to live and start their careers,” Snyder said. “Choose Michigan is about showing them why Michigan is their best choice. We know these students and professionals want more than just a job that matters. Having a quality life outside of work matters, too.”

A state-commissioned survey of college students and experienced STEAM professionals in Midwest states by Russell Research showed 34 percent of students and 23 percent of professionals weren’t willing to move to Michigan because they aren’t familiar with the state or knew nothing about it.

“As proud Michiganders who have lived through the Lost Decade and witnessed the remarkable economic comeback, we tend to forget not everyone knows about our resurgence outside our state,” Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan Director Roger Curtis said. “Detroit, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor are innovative tech hubs bursting at the seams with career opportunities. We’re the Comeback State, the tech state, the mobility state, the best-place-to-work-and-do-business state. It’s time to tell the world our story; our truth.” 

People also have dated misperceptions of the state and its hardest-hit cities. About 48 percent of Midwest students and 42 percent of its professionals have crime or safety concerns and have a poor image of Detroit.

“We know, as a state, we have a perception problem. It’s a combination of lack of knowledge and misperceptions, in almost equal measure,” Curtis added. “It’s time to show off the amazing, cutting-edge innovation happening right here and the careers that make it all happen.”

More than 70 percent of Midwestern students are likely to consider moving to Michigan if the right job offer came along. And while the right job is the highest factor, they also consider quality of life and the ability to make a difference critical factors too.

Choose Michigan strikes a balance between work, live and play, knowing that the target audience wants more than just a job – they want unique experiences, too.

‘Wearing a banana suit in an electrified forest all weekend. Reimagining the country’s aging energy grid all week. Michigan, where some choices change your day, others change the future.’ read one ad – a nod to Electric Forest in Rothbury, Mich.

Choose Michigan seeks to retain current and future STEAM talent and attract high-quality talent to fill the hundreds of thousands of current and future high-demand career openings.

Curtis said Michigan’s retention efforts for college graduates in STEAM fields like engineering are steadily increasing, citing a recent study by Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, commissioned by the department that shows more than half of the state’s engineering graduates stay in Michigan. The study also shows Michigan’s largest net gain among college graduates is mechanical engineers, with its biggest net loss in retail sales persons.

“Retaining talent is one part of the equation,” Curtis said. “We also must attract talent to our state to fill the current and future talent needs. Choose Michigan rounds out our robust plan to become the world leader in the most and best talent for businesses.”

The campaign comes  after the recent announcement of Gov. Snyder’s Marshall Plan for Talent to help fill the more than 800,000 career openings through 2024 in high-demand fields like information technology and computer science, manufacturing, health care and other business and professional trades.

Choose Michigan goes into market August 2018 across Michigan, as well as in Chicago, Madison and Pittsburgh. The focus in Michigan will be on retaining top talent from its world-class universities, while Chicago, Madison and Pittsburgh focus on attracting recent university graduates and young STEAM professionals.

Michiganders and out-of-staters can learn more at