Boosting economic development through international student retention

onemacomb (1)Did you know that international students make up 70 percent of graduate students enrolled in a master’s or PH.D. program in electrical engineering? In fact, throughout the nation, 63 percent of computer science and 70 percent of graduate students in engineering are international students. Generally speaking, international students are much more likely to study in the STEM fields than any other.

As potential employees, international students have a lot to offer our industries.

electrical engineering (1)Now, an initiative is underway to help employers recognize the value of hiring international students in  Michigan and other Midwestern states. It is led by Welcoming Economies (WE) Global Network, a project of Welcoming America.

More than 20 organizations from throughout the Midwest are part of the WE Global Network. United, they work to welcome, retain and empower immigrant communities for the value they add to our local economy. The network also provides members access to research and tools and gives peers the chance to share best practices for creating new opportunities.

To learn more about this initiative, check out the latest WE Global Network’s blog: International Students Are U.S. Business’ Best Hope For Growth.

Michigan (1)OneMacomb is a proud member of the WE Global Network. This initiative strives to make Macomb County a welcoming community where everyone can thrive. Last month, Deputy County Executive Pam Lavers attended a special event at the White House where Macomb County, along with 50 other U.S. cities and counties, was honored for its participation in the nationwide Building Welcoming Communities Campaign.

OneMacomb was singled out for its efforts to enhance language access by incorporating video remote interpreting services, installing multi-language signage throughout county buildings, translating brochures into numerous languages and providing connections to local literacy services.

Follow OneMacomb on Twitter @WeAreOneMacomb and Facebook @OneMacomb.

Zardis, Maria IMG_0089

Maria Zardis is the program manager for the Business Outreach and Communications Group for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Job growth picking up steam in Macomb

In case you needed a pick-me-up today, here is some great news for Macomb County. The most recent jobs update from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the county has gained more than 10,000 jobs in the past three months and nearly 25,000 in the last year.

In January 2015, the county started off with 383,739 jobs. May figures for 2016 show 408,217 Macomb County residents are employed. Not only is this a healthy growth of 24,478 jobs, but this is the highest number employed in Macomb County in 15 years! You would have to go all the way back to 2001 to find employment levels this high.

These great jobs numbers mark seven continuous years of job growth in Macomb County. Since 2009, when only 350,776 people in the county were working, jobs have been added every year. With momentum, we are closing in on our pre-recession maximum! The county peaked in May 1999, when 437,251 were employed and unemployment was a mere 2.7 percent.

What’s driving these gains? Job growth in manufacturing, (thanks to the auto industry accomplishing a record year and expected to break records this year), a revolution by the auto industry toward smart mobility, an evolution of auto manufacturers in to aerospace and defense industries and an awakening of the services industries in Macomb County.

“Businesses are finding success tapping into the world-class talent we have here in Macomb County,” said Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “The county has emerged as a leader in advanced manufacturing technology. Sophisticated new industries in aerospace, life science, information technology, defense and homeland security have grown alongside Macomb’s traditional manufacturing businesses.”

Are you a company looking to tap into Macomb County’s highly skilled labor force? We can help. Reach out to the Department of Planning & Economic Development today!

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at