MACKINAC ISLAND, MI, JUNE 2, 2011 – The New Economy Initiative of Southeast Michigan has awarded a three-year, $450,000 grant to the University Research Corridor to launch a program to encourage international students to stay in Michigan when they finish their education.
The Global Detroit International Student Retention Program, announced today at the Mackinac Policy Conference, will help students navigate barriers to legal immigration and help recruit employers to give them jobs.
“Michigan’s reinvention requires us to retain the best talent we can, regardless of whether those students hail from Michigan or come here to study,” Jeff Mason, the URC’s executive director, said in a press release. “By attracting and retaining the best and brightest, we can accelerate the pace of change into a high-tech, highly skilled, knowledge-based economy.
The program is based on recommendations from a study last year by the NEI. The study found that:
- Michigan has more than 23,500 international students, the eighth-largest such concentration of any state in the U.S.
- International students contribute nearly $600 million annually to local economies.
- Immigrants file nearly 50 percent of Michigan’s international patents and are three times more likely to start a business.
Also today, the URC said its fourth annual report shows the worth of supporting the information and communication technology industry.
Here are highlights of the report, written and based on research by the East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group:
- Member universities spent nearly $74 million on research projects with a strong IT focus in 2010.
- Of the nearly 150 startups the URC has helped form since 2001, about 40 percent have had a distinct IT component.
- IT companies employ 3.5 percent of the state’s workforce or about 135,000 workers, and IT is a key underpinning for much of the state’s industrial activity and growth in various sectors.
- IT employees in the state earn an average of about $20,000 more than other private-sector workers.
- IT jobs in the state declined by just 4 percent from 2000 to 2009, compared with an overall decline of 15 percent.
The University Research Corridor is a coalition of the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University that’s designed to leverage their research, encourage collaboration and support for-profit startups.
The New Economy Initiative was formed in 2008 as a $100 million initiative by 10 major state and national philanthropic organizations to help boost the economy of Southeast Michigan.