I’m not sure how many of you caught the reference to immigrant attraction and welcoming in the recent State of the State address by Michigan’s new Governor Rick Snyder, but it’s as if he had just put down the May 2010 Global Detroit report. Here is a transcript of what Governor Snyder said:
“We will establish an exciting new initiative to encourage immigrants with advanced college degrees to come to Michigan to live and work. I have asked the Department of Civil Rights to work with the MEDC on this effort.
“We need to be a place that openly encourages innovators and entrepreneurs to come to our state. The evidence is clear that advanced college degree immigrants can make a tremendous difference in creating a positive economic activity environment that benefits us all.”
To give you some additional background, for example, about on half of the startups in Silicon Valley have a foreign national founder.
Immigration made us a great state and country. It is time we embrace this concept again as a way to speed our reinvention. While the Governor could have dropped the modifer “advanced college degree” and still have been factually describing the situation (the evidence is clear that immigrants do make a tremendous difference in creating a positive economic activity environment that benefits us all), he certainly got the basic message right.
He didn’t need to talk about Silicon Valley but could have looked right here at home in Michigan to find all the proof that he wanted. Michigan’s immigrant community, while only comprising 6 percent of the state’s population, has created about one-third of all the high-tech firms started between 1995-2005 in the state. They also are estimated to account for more than 40 percent of all the international patents filed from Michigan in 2006. The Global Detroit study makes these and other points extremely clear. Bringing more immigrants to our state will create jobs and speed our entry into the New Economy as it has done for countless high growth regions in America over the last decade.
Governor Snyder deserves high praise for making a point to say this in such an important speech. Simply put, an immigrant attraction strategy is part of his economic agenda. And that is good news for Michigan.
More information about the Global Detroit Study can be found on the website of the New Economy Initiative. Click Here to view the Global Detroit Study on neweconomyinitiative.com