Did you know that one in three tech start-ups in the last decade in Michigan were started by an immigrant?

Today, when one mentions immigrants and immigration we think of the political hot button issues that everyone wants to avoid. The reality is that immigrants and foreign-born Americans are often an untapped economic resource.

The New Economy Initiative (NEI), in partnership with the Skillman Foundation and the Detroit Regional Chamber, is investing in Global Detroit to study the economic opportunities and strategies that we should employ in southeast Michigan to fully realize the economic potential of our immigrant population. The study is being led by former State Representative Steve Tobacman.

Global Detroit, through its initial work, has identified four strategic goals for the southeast Michigan region. The four goals are:

– Make the region welcoming to the international community and immigrants.
– Attract international investment and businesses that create jobs.
– Strengthen, grow, and revitalize neighborhoods in the city of Detroit and in the region’s core communities.
– Attract and retain international talent in the region.

Steve Tobacman’s research is being finalized into a report that we will share through the NEI Web site and blog in the near future. One of the national partners that Global Detroit has connected with through their work is Welcoming America. Welcoming America is a national, grassroots-driven collaborative that works to promote mutual respect and cooperation between foreign-born and U.S.-born Americans. The ultimate goal of Welcoming America is to create a welcoming atmosphere – community by community – in which immigrants are more likely to integrate into the social fabric of their adopted hometowns. There are exciting discussions occurring at the moment to bring this initiative to Michigan.

Recently, Steve and the leaders of Welcoming America were on WDET discussing the Welcoming America Campaign and what we could be doing in Michigan to make the state more welcoming to immigrants and foreign investment. Take a listen to the interview here.


**If you’re having difficulty playing the podcast; Click Here to Listen

Stay tuned to the NEI Blog for more information on the work of Global Detroit and how we can tap the economic potential of southeast Michigan’s immigrant population.