Global Detroit: Immigrants create jobs, contrary to popular belief

Jun 4, 2013

On Thursday, June 6th, Global Detroit is hosting the Global Great Lakes Network Convening in Detroit. Jennifer White speaks today with Steve Tobocman, director of Global Detroit about how the organization works to strengthen the economy of southeast Michigan through projects that connect immigrants to the global economy.

The Great Lakes Network Convening in Detroit will bring together leaders from similar organizations across the Rust Belt to share best practices, and collaborate on how to once again make the Midwest an economic powerhouse.

“The most important thing is that we create a welcoming environment; letting the world’s talent, investment, and trade know that Michigan and its cities are open for business,” says Tobocman.

“We want to compete, and we want the world’s most talented employees and entrepreneurs.”

According to Tobocman, Michigan already attracts talented immigrants. 

“Michigan tends to attract in the last few decades a highly educated and highly entrepreneurial technology class of immigrants. In fact, in Michigan over the last ten years close to one-third of our high-tech firms were created by immigrants…and with the only state to have lost population in the last ten years, immigration is a critical factor for our economic future,” Tobocman explains.

He also quells fears of those discouraged by more immigration due to the current poor employment environment in Michigan.

“Immigration is a critical component in creating more jobs...and in fact, in part because of our low immigration rates as a state, that we haven’t seen the kind of economic growth and population stabilization that other states have seen over the past couple of decades."

- Austin Davis, Michigan Radio Newsroom