Business Leaders Look to Build on Michigan’s Engineering Strength


Bolstering the numbers of engineers in Michigan is key to the state’s economic future, according to an agenda released Monday by the Business Leaders for Michigan.

“Michigan leads the nation in the number of engineers per capita, and has the output metrics and earnings power to support tremendous economic growth,” says Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “We began with these strengths in mind, and reached out to key stakeholders to help develop a business plan capable of strengthening the state’s economy through this industry sector.”

Developed by some of the state’s economic and industry leaders, Michigan: Growing a Global Engineering Village identifies three key strategies to increase the engineering sector’s contribution to Michigan’s economy over the next 10 years and help the state achieve recognition as a “global engineering village.” Strategies include:

  • Attracting engineers from out-of-state and retaining those already in Michigan
  • Implementing a marketing and branding campaign that positions Michigan as a hotbed for engineers
  • Strengthening Michigan’s education system and expanding practical applications to encourage students to engage in technical careers and specifically engineering.

“Our plan supports the development of an engineering job center, training programs, and an ecosystem for engineers similar to what Palo Alto (Calif.) offers for entrepreneurs — venture capital, university research, support services, and so forth — to ensure engineers have the support services they need to thrive,” says Ronald Brenke, executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan.

The strategy — which requires business and educational leaders to work together to ensure students have adequate exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math curricula — calls for more engineering internships and co-op opportunities, says Darlene Trudell, executive vice president of the Engineering Society of Detroit. “These and other educational efforts will help keep Michigan’s engineering sector strong,” she says.

The engineering strategy is one of six employment initiatives the BLM has or is developing with stakeholders as part of its turnaround plan to make Michigan a Top 10 state for jobs and economic growth. To read the full report, click here.