GTRI Partners with Chinese Engineers for International Student Job Fair

International students represent the world’s most valuable economic asset: high-skilled STEM talent. The race to attract and hire this talent is more competitive than ever, but current U.S. immigration laws create misunderstanding and myths about employment of this talent, and cloud the benefits of doing so. Oftentimes jobs go unfilled leaving employers struggling to grow their businesses and compete on a global scale.

To mitigate these challenges, Global Detroit’s Global Talent Retention Initiative (GTRI) works to connect Michigan employers with unmet talent needs to international students, and provides training and resources on relevant immigration regulations, information on finding a job in Michigan, and help with cross-cultural issues that both employers and international applicants may experience during the hiring process.

On Friday, November 18, nearly 300 international students from as far away as Chicago met with 24 local employers searching for STEM talent, when GTRI partnered with the North American Chinese Society of Automotive Engineers (NACSAE) for its second successful job fair within the past six months. Held at the Troy Community Center, HR professionals representing auto companies–or OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) as they are known in Michigan–auto parts  suppliers, and other companies had the opportunity to interview talented professionals and students eager to find positions with southeast Michigan-based firms. An HR representative from SF Motors, one of the job fair attendees, shared that they will soon open their new R&D facility in Michigan and will need to fill 150 positions!

“This year we added career counseling to the job fair,” said GTRI Director, Gracie Xavier. “The students were able to receive on-the-spot help with their interviewing skills, as well as some useful tips on how to sell themselves.” These services were provided by Annie Fenton from the State of Michigan’s
Michigan International Talent Solutions (MITS) program (a program housed within Governor’s Snyder’s Michigan Office for New Americans) and Lou Wassel of Chrome Star HR.  Gracie feels this was a great addition to the job fair, and said the students felt it was helpful in planning their approach to the employers and preparing for future job interviews

Since the last GTRI job fair in April, Gracie has spent time with the students at the various local colleges and universities providing workshops on such topics as cultural competency and job interviewing skills in order to more fully prepare them to successfully compete for positions within the U.S. market.

She stated that partnering with North American Chinese Society of Automotive Engineers greatly contributed to the success of this job fair. “Together we were able to bring a more diverse group of employers, professionals and students to the table.” She went on to say that student feedback was very positive, and GTRI and NACSAE are already planning for next year’s Global Talent job fair.

GTRI partners with seven local universities to provide support to their international students and gather data on the success rate of international students that are able to obtain employment through OPT in Michigan. According GTRI’s FIlling the Talent Gap report released earlier this year, since GTRI launched in 2011, the number of talented international students hired from these universities by Michigan companies increased by 80 percent. Gracie believes that by hosting job fairs such as this one that even more Michigan companies will hire international student to fill unmet talent needs, further helping our local economy grow


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