Glenn Stevens Believes Immigrants Are Essential To State’s Economy

In a recent speech to the Lansing Regional Chamber Economic Club, Glenn Stevens, Executive Director of MICHauto and the Detroit Regional Chamber’s vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives, said, “I work in the economic development space, particularly with our automotive and mobility industries in Michigan. We’re focused on promoting, retaining, and growing our automotive and next generation mobility industries here in Michigan.” He went on to emphasize that the biggest challenge to keeping Michigan at the forefront of the emerging technologies is talent, and research backs up his statement. “We believe that Michigan and our AutoMobility industry offers people who are born here or come here from all parts of the world to live and work, an opportunity to be part of a dynamic and high-tech growth ecosystem.”

Metro Detroit has one of the fastest growing job markets for the tech industry. Hiring the best and brightest candidates is a growing challenge throughout the country, and the ability to hire STEM workers has been especially difficult. According to a Brookings Institution report, the median duration to close a STEM vacancy was twice as long as a non-STEM vacancy. Many positions stay open for three months or longer, resulting in a significant hit to the bottom line.  At the same time Michigan is challenged by factors such as an aging workforce and a significant drop in the number of high school graduates across the state. “These factors combine to stress the importance of the role immigration must play in our state’s economic growth.”

Stevens firmly believes that with the way transportation and mobility are transforming, the ability to attract people across all skill sets with different talents, is critical to the growth of the auto industry. He is at the forefront of promoting, retaining, and growing the automotive and next generation mobility industries in Michigan. He stressed that people can find work in the automotive industry that is as high tech, global, consumer focused, and growth oriented as Google and Apple. Those jobs are right here in Michigan.

“Our team has a wholistic approach when working on the talent pipeline. The retention of youth in our state, and a strong education system are both essential,” he said. They also look to veterans, retraining programs, and attracting people from other parts of the country. He went on to explain it is absolutely critical to also attract New Americans to live, work, and play in our state.

The history of the auto industry is rich with stories of immigrants who travelled to Detroit to find work in the factories. “Like our country, this state and particularly our auto industry was built on the minds and backs of people from other countries. It was and is absolutely critical to our economy.”

Stevens said that from the day he was exposed to Global Detroit’s work, it was very clear that they have not only made a significant impact to this point, but they are going to play an absolutely essential role in building human capital needed for the economic growth and opportunity in Michigan.

“I come from a family of immigrants who settled in the Upper Peninsula’s Copper Country, and in Detroit.  They came here for opportunity and to build a life. Global Detroit is firmly founded in helping to provide those same things for people of all walks of life and nationalities. That’s why I believe in the importance of the work Global Detroit does. To be recognized by an organization that does that means an awful lot to me. Our future depends on immigrants.”

He feels that long term there will be a path for people to immigrate to this country, and our leaders will provide that path. He went on to say, “Anyone who provides that path, like Global Detroit, is something I can get behind.”

Glenn Stevens will be honored with the Global Detroit Champion Award on Thursday, September 20 when Global Detroit hosts its third annual fundraiser at the N’namdi Gallery in Midtown to celebrate eight years of Immigrant Innovation. The event is from 5:30 – 8 pm. Ticket prices are $125 and can be purchased by going to or by sending a check written to Global Detroit to 4444 Second Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201.

About Global Detroit –
Global Detroit is a regional economic development engine that leverages the talent, ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit, and determination of immigrants in Metro Detroit to power the regional economy. Visit to learn more.


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