Campaign to Retain, Attract STEAM Talent to Michigan Unveiled


Gov. Rick Snyder today unveiled a new talent attraction campaign, Choose Michigan. The campaign, announced at the Mackinac Policy Conference hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber, seeks to retain and attract current and future STEAM talent.

“We know STEAM graduates are in high demand across the county and have plenty of options on where to live and start their careers,” says Snyder. “Choose Michigan is about showing them why Michigan is their best choice. We know these students and professionals want more than just a job that matters. Having a quality life outside of work matters, too.”

A state survey of college students and STEAM professionals in Midwest states by Russell Research showed 34 percent of students and 23 percent of professionals weren’t willing to move to Michigan because they aren’t familiar with the state.

“As proud Michiganders who have lived through the lost decade and witnessed the remarkable economic comeback, we tend to forget not everyone knows about our resurgence outside our state,” says Roger Curtis, director of the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan. “Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor are innovative tech hubs bursting at the seams with career opportunities. We’re the comeback state, the tech state, the mobility state, the best-place-to-work-and-do-business state. It’s time to tell the world our story; our truth.”

However, perceptions of Michigan aren’t always positive. The survey also showed that about 48 percent of Midwest students and 42 percent of Midwest professionals have crime or safety concerns and a poor image of Detroit.

However, more than 70 percent of Midwestern students are likely to consider moving to Michigan if the right job offer came along. The right job is the highest factor, but participants also considered quality of life and the ability to make a difference critical factors.

Choose Michigan hopes to advertise a balance between work, live, and play. The target audience wants unique experiences. One ad nods to Electric Forest in Rothbury, Mich.:

“Wearing a banana suit in an electrified forest all weekend. Reimagining the country’s aging energy grid all week. Michigan, where some choices change your day, others change the future.”

Retention efforts are also increasing. A recent study by East Lansing’s Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research that was commissioned by the department shows that more than half of the state’s engineering graduates stay in Michigan.

The study also shows Michigan’s largest net gain among college graduates is mechanical engineers, while its biggest net loss is in retail sales persons.

“Retaining talent is one part of the equation,” says Curtis. “We also must attract talent to our state to fill the current and future talent needs. Choose Michigan rounds out our robust plan to become the world leader in the most and best talent for businesses.”

The Choose Michigan campaign comes after the recent announcement of Snyder’s Marshall Plan for Talent, which aims to fill more than 800,000 career openings through 2024 in high-demand fields like information technology and computer science, manufacturing, health care, and other business and professional trades.

Choose Michigan is slated to debut in August across the state, and in Chicago, Madison, and Pittsburgh.

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