From the Director: Global Detroit in the News
By Steve Tobocman
Certainly we feel honored to be referred to in both the Wall Street Journal and
The Atlantic magazine this week as a national leader in looking to capitalize on
immigration as an economic revitalization engine. The Journal cited our work with
the Michigan Global Talent Retention Initiative and PropserUS Detroit, noting that:
“Detroit is one of the furthest along in its effort, with the nonprofit Global
Detroit raising more than $5 million, mostly from private sources, for
immigrant programs. Three employees are working on keeping international
students from leaving, running campus events and producing webinars to
help potential employers with the visa process. The group also launched an
11-class course on the basics of running a small business.”
The Wall Street Journal article can be found here.
The Atlantic cited the efforts of Global Detroit and others as important to providing
a model for federal legislators, explaining that:
“Here’s what places like Detroit, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh do have, however:
big universities, if not inside their city limits, then fairly close by. And so
unsurprisingly, some Rust Belt efforts at immigrant outreach have been
focused on convincing international students to stay put after graduation.
There’s a lesson for Congress in this story. Right now, the way politicians
think about high-skilled immigrants is deeply influenced by tech companies,
which dubiously argue that we need more foreign talent because there’s a
widespread shortage of computer skills in the United States. Silicon Valley
types like this angle because it justifies expanding guest worker pipelines
such as the H1-B visa program, and guest workers make for fairly compliant
and often inexpensive employees (some would call them “indentured”). But
there’s a much better justification for welcoming educated workers to our
shores. They’re good for growth. They can start businesses, conduct research
at our universities, and join corporations. At an even more basic level, they
buy homes, shop, and have families, all of which add up to more spending at
local businesses. In short, they set down roots in a community, which is what
Rust Belt cities are really hoping for.”
We shouldn’t just think about what companies want in Silicon Valley, but
what people are trying to do in places like Detroit.
If you want to hear more about what Global Detroit, Global Michigan, and similar
programs in Lansing, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dayton, Columbus, Indianapolis, and St.
Louis are doing, then consider coming to the Global Great Lakes Network convening
on Thursday, June 6 being held here in Detroit at University of Detroit School of
Law. To find out more visit www.globalGL.org.