International Students More Likely to Fill State’s STEM Jobs

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Michigan’s international students are three times more likely than U.S. students to stay in the state following graduation and are also four times more likely to work in one of the growing number of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, according to a study released today by the Global Talent Retention Initiative in partnership with Global Detroit.

According to the report, Michigan must retain more international students to fill the projected demand for 274,000 STEM field jobs by 2018.

The International Talent Retention in Michigan: A Pathway to National Competitiveness says that 58 percent of 25,500 international students in the state opt to remain in the state post graduation. Of those who stay, 52 percent use their student visa to work in the STEM fields.

“Simply put, retaining international students (in Michigan) after they graduate is the pathway to becoming the Silicon Valley of the Midwest,” explains the report. “Michigan is in a unique position to continue to expand the economic impact of international students by investing in retention strategies to keep its international students in Michigan following graduation.”

Likewise, 59 percent of Michigan’s international students using OPT, an alternative to the H-1B non-immigrant visa, are three times as likely as domestic students to major in STEM fields. What’s more, 82 percent of those using the OPT have obtained an advanced degree.

The findings add to the original Global Detroit study that found Michigan’s international students contribute $750 million annually to the state economy. Between 1995 and 2005, immigrants, who, on average, launched their business 13 years after entering the United States, created 32.8 percent of Michigan’s high-tech firms. 

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