New State Initiative Connects Global Talent with Employers; Skilled immigrants can help grow the economy and fill skills gap

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

November 2, 2015 - Providing skilled immigrants with customized job search training is the goal of the newly launched Michigan International Talent Solutions program. The statewide initiative will focus on connecting employers with foreign-born professionals particularly in STEM-related fields.

“We welcome professionals from all over the world, making Michigan the best place for them to restart their careers,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “Diversifying our workforce is just as important as diversifying our economy. Michigan was built on immigrant innovators and entrepreneurs who created some of the world’s most productive companies. As we make our economic comeback, integration of immigrant talent into our workforce gives our employers the competitive advantage they need to be successful in the global economy.”    

The Michigan Office for New Americans created the MITS program to support skilled and permanently work-authorized immigrants’ return to their professional careers in Michigan. Partnering with national nonprofit, Upwardly Global, MITS will train international job seekers to succeed in the professional job search process in Michigan.

Employers benefit from the MITS program in several ways, and there is never any placement fee for employers who use the program. As a pre-screening resource, it facilitates the hiring process in select professions and saves them money by validating skills and employability levels. On average, there is a 90 percent retention rate after one year of employment which reduces turnover and related costs associated with rehiring.

“We are always on the lookout for well-qualified talent in the robotics field and this program was a great help in hiring a new employee who perfectly fit our job requirements,” said Gordon A. Thompson, director of Human Resources and Production Operations, Kawasaki Robotics (USA) Inc., in Wixom, MI. “She has already demonstrated her engineering capability and grasp of our technology. Good people are a challenge to find, so having this program on our list of go-to sources makes good business sense. The program is helping us locate further new talent to fill more job openings.”                                                                                                                                      
Michigan’s talent pool is a critical factor in the health of the state’s economy, now and into the future. Skilled immigrants with professional credentials represent just six percent of Michigan residents. And with an estimated 100,000 current job openings in the state, there is great potential and incentive to get these professionals into gainful employment, to restart their lives and contribute to Michigan’s economy.     

“We simply cannot afford to have foreign-born professionals, the engineers, doctors, dentists, accountants, lawyers, financial analysts, software developers, scientists, and others, be unemployed or underemployed, or have our employers who need their talent, going with thousands of unfilled jobs,” said MONA Director Bing Goei. “MITS is simply designed to make the connection by supporting immigrants in their professional job search and the employers who hire them. We all have a stake in developing the full potential of every resident who is ready and eager to work.”

Under MITS, new American professionals will receive customized individual and online job search training including:

  • Professional resume development in U.S. format
  • Assistance completing job applications
  • Networking and marketing skills
  • Interview skills and preparation
  • Salary negotiation

“I got my dream job! Many thanks to this program that put me on the right track to start my job search. I strongly recommend all newcomers to the U.S. to contact this program to help them build their resumes and interview skills as per American standards. I hope this will help you and others,” said Lutfi Jandali, who completed the program and is now employed in Michigan as a sales development specialist at a leading global healthcare company.   

To get started in the MITS program, interested job seekers can apply online. Resources and services through MITS are provided at no charge to either job seekers or employers. Among the qualifications needed to participate in the program, MITS applicants must possess a green card or have other permanent work authorization status; possess at least a bachelor’s degree or higher from a foreign university, have a minimum of two years professional work experience outside of the U.S., and be proficient in English.

Goei emphasized that these job seekers are permanently work-authorized and require no visa sponsorship. “In actuality,more than 50 percent of these professionals have a master’s degree or higher and two-thirds come from STEM backgrounds,” said Goei. “They possess an average of seven years of experience and industry specialization. All speak English, and many are fluent in up to three additional languages.”

Employers interested in accessing the MITS international talent pool can contact Annie Fenton, MITS program director, at fentona@michigan.gov or visit the MONA website for more information.

The Michigan Office for New Americans is housed in the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and was established by Snyder in 2014 to help propel the state’s comeback by attracting and retaining immigrants, and promoting the skills, energy and entrepreneurial spirit of our immigrant communities. 

For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara

For more information on MONA go to www.michigan.gov/mona

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