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Labor and Economic Opportunity

State brings city leaders together to discuss talent retention, attraction marketing strategies

Choose Michigan campaign adds U.P. to campaign website, showcases how others can join the statewide effort

Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018

Dan Olsen
517-290-7807 |

LANSING, Mich.— One month after the launch of the state’s first-ever talent retention and attraction campaign – Choose Michigan – more than 70 leaders from cities across the state gathered in Lansing for an inside look at Michigan’s first-of-its-kind marketing efforts geared toward young science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) professionals.

“Michigan is the best place in the world to live, work and play. It’s great to see leaders from across our state coming together to share that message,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “Today’s summit is a positive step toward working collaboratively to attract and retain talent in Michigan. We need to be louder and prouder about what our state has to offer and why more people from across the country should Choose Michigan.”

Leaders – including those from Dearborn, Flint, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Midland, Owosso, Royal Oak, Saginaw, the Upper Peninsula, and many other areas – participated in the marketing summit. 

“When we created this campaign, we wanted to provide Michigan communities a means for tapping into this statewide push to grow top talent for in-demand jobs,” Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan (Ted) Interim Director Jeremy Hendges said. “Today’s summit kickoffs off that effort by bringing communities together, sharing our research and explaining how they can become part of this effort to ensure Michigan can compete in the global race for the most and best talent for businesses.”

Choose Michigan launched in September with three of the state’s most well-known cities – Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids.

As leaders gathered Friday, representatives from the Detroit Regional Chamber, Ann Arbor Spark and Hello West Michigan shared insights on their communities’ efforts and best practices for attracting and retaining top talent to their regions. The event also featured a sharing of local strategies to help get communities thinking about how each can be part of the campaign and improve their talent attraction efforts. 

One community has already taken the steps to become part of the campaign. Houghton, Michigan, is the most recent community to join the campaign since it launched.

Though Houghton might be known for its miles of Lake Superior shoreline, it’s now being recognized as an innovative tech hub filled with young STEAM talent leading the way in technology advancements. It is recognized as one of the 100 best small towns in America and with its Innovation Shore, the technology hub of the U.P. is poised to attract businesses of all sizes. 

“We’re excited to join this movement and show off to the world what Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has to offer beyond its 8.8 million acres of forest, 2,500-plus miles of trails and beautiful, snow-filled winters,” Invest UP Interim Executive Director Karyn Olsson said. “World-class technology university, Michigan Tech, is spinning off companies. From internationally recognized revolutionaries who develop plasma thrusters for small satellites to circuit board designers who are engineering projects for the Department of Defense, Houghton is home to Michiganders who move the state – and the world. Choose Michigan gives us the opportunity to show off why Houghton is a young professional’s best choice to live, work and play.”

The campaign tagline – “Michigan. Where some choices change your day. Others change the future.” – embodies everything the state wants to convey. It’s home to world-changing inventions and offers a way of living that is second to none. 

“It’s important that we show off all of the different things Michigan’s cities have to offer,” Ted Deputy Director of Marketing and Communications Sammie Lukaskiewicz said. “We’re excited to welcome Houghton to the campaign, rounding out our statewide approach to showing young STEAM professionals why Michigan is their best choice. We’re also encouraged by the enthusiasm shown today and eager to see what communities will join us next.”