Changing Gears' “Midwest Migration” project is featuring the stories of former Midwesterners – people who have left region since the recession of 2008.
Name: Alex Ozark
Midwest Home: Detroit, MI
New Home: Los Angeles, CA
My parents moved from Michigan to Virginia in 2004 for work, while I stayed for college.
I graduated in 2008, when the economy was just turning down, and people were being let go at the Big 3. I had done 3 co-ops with suppliers in southeast Michigan and none of them offered me a position—very uncommon—due to the current state of the economy.
I’m almost positive that, had I been offered a job by my previous employers or with the Big 3, I would have taken it. But, again due to the market, there was very little available at the time I graduated. I had no choice but to move to VA with my parents.
I was so disgusted with the automotive market that I actually did not want to work in it. I started initially looking in defense in VA and CA. I happened upon my current job, as a Test Engineer at Proving Grounds, on pure luck.
The amount of people from MI in CA is staggering. There is now a place called Coney Dog LA on the Sunset strip that features straight-from-Michigan Coney dogs, Faygo, and Stroh’s.