Source: Wayne State University
Published Jul. 14 2011

DETROIT, July 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — New Michigan Media, a network of ethnic and minority media throughout the state, will host a conference focused on the role of immigration in the revitalization of Michigan’s economy on Monday, July 18, at Wayne State University.

“Our campus is not only a center of intellectual inquiry and debate; we also have the most diverse student body in Michigan and play a key role in economic development,” said WSU President Allan Gilmour. “This is the ideal location for a discussion on attracting a diverse population to our state to propel our economy.”

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has embraced immigration as a way to repopulate Michigan and boost the economy, and who launched a Global Michigan initiative once taking office, will deliver the keynote address.

“Immigrants are an integral part of Michigan’s past and we want them to be a big part of its future,” Snyder said. “It is clear that immigrants with advanced college degrees can be a positive force in creating economic activity that benefits everyone. Making this state a center of opportunity for all people of exceptional talent and motivation will accelerate our reinvention of Michigan. I commend the New Michigan Media conference and Wayne State University for providing a forum for a discussion of this critical issue.”

The conference, “Immigration and Michigan’s Economic Future” will be the first time that Gov. Snyder has spoken at length on this topic.

Hayg Oshagan, director of Media Arts and Studies at Wayne State and New Michigan Media chair said, “This conference is the start of a conversation about Michigan, its economy and its immigrant population. It is essential that we all become engaged in this issue, because it is a key to the greater prosperity of our state. And since it affects us all, it is most appropriate that it is the governor who, through his keynote address, will lead the conversation.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will participate via video teleconference in the conference’s opening panel “Can Immigrants Save Detroit?” Mayor Bloomberg is Co-Chair of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a national bipartisan coalition of over 300 mayors and business leaders who believe immigration reform can boost the American economy and create American jobs.

“In New York City and in big cities and small towns across the country we’ve seen that immigrants are an economic engine – starting companies that are the cornerstones of our economy and the corner stores of our neighborhoods,” said Bloomberg. “If America’s leaders are serious about helping the economy and creating jobs, then we should be doing more to attract and keep the world’s best talent.”

The New Michigan Media conference, presented in collaboration with Global Detroit and sponsored by the McCormick Foundation and the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, includes panel discussions and presentations with Compuware former-CEO Peter Karmanos, Jr., Detroit City Councilman Kenneth Cockrel, Jr., as well as several other business, philanthropic, academic and community leaders.

“This conference is a terrific opportunity for our region to put itself on the map as the most welcoming city and state in America,” said Steve Tobocman, director of Global Detroit. “I believe the New Michigan Media conference will mark the first step in Michigan’s path to national leadership in this area. We are on the cusp of launching a welcoming strategy that re-connects Detroit and the state to the innovative, industrious, and entrepreneurial spirit that guided the auto pioneers of a century ago.”

Over the past decade immigrants to Michigan have been nearly three times as likely to start a new business as individuals born in the United States, according to research provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Michigan also ranks third in the country with nearly one-third of its hi-tech startups in the last decade having at least one immigrant as a key founder.

Conference activities will be held in the McGregor Memorial Conference Center and Community Arts Auditorium. For a complete schedule of events, visit

Conference organizers and local politicians will have a media availability at 9:15 a.m. in McGregor Hall, Room A, to talk about their views on immigration and their goals for the conference.

Conference sessions will be webcast from a URL found at the day of the event.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution of higher education offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.

New Michigan Media is a network of ethnic and minority media in Michigan that strives to enhance Michigan’s 140 plus ethnic and minority media outlets, which represent hundreds of thousands of readers, viewers and listeners in the state.

Global Detroit is an effort to revitalize Southeast Michigan’s economy by pursuing strategies that strengthen Detroit’s connections to the world and make the region more attractive and welcoming to immigrants, internationals, and foreign trade and investment. The aim is to produce jobs and promote regional economic growth.

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