©2018 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Report Shows Michigan Successfully Retains Tech Graduates

Friday, September 21, 2001

September 21, 2001

Contact: Jennifer Kopp
Michigan Economic Development Corporation
(517) 335-4590
Kelly Rossman-McKinney
Presidents Council of State Universities
(517) 487-9320





Report Shows Michigan Successfully Retains Tech Graduates
79 Percent of the State’s Tech Graduates Stay in Michigan

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan today released a study showing that the majority of technically educated Michigan university students remain in the state after graduation. 

“Michigan’s life sciences, information technology and advanced manufacturing industries are booming,” said Doug Rothwell, president & CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “As a result, the availability of technically educated workers is a major concern for our current companies and those companies considering relocating here.This study shows that Michigan is doing a great job of retaining graduates to meet the particular demands of our state’s high-tech industries.” 

The patterns of approximately 30,000 high-tech sector graduates were tracked from 1997 through 2000. 

Results of the study indicate that Michigan retains 79 percent of graduates in the life sciences, information technology and engineering sectors who have gone on to enter the workforce in high-tech positions.Michigan is one of only 11 states that can claim this high retention rate. 

“This study really blows a hole through any anecdotal perceptions that our high-tech graduates are fleeing the state,” Rothwell said.“In fact, it shows that more than half of the out-of-state students who come here and graduate from high-tech programs at Michigan universities choose to remain in the state as they begin their careers." 

The study revealed that graduates who accept a job out of state do so primarily because of better job opportunities and salaries, rather than any dislike of Michigan.About 21 percent of the graduates polled left the state of Michigan.Of those students who have left the state, 11 percent moved to be closer to family and friends and 53 percent did so because of better job opportunities. Only seven percent of the graduates cited Michigan’s climate as their reason for moving elsewhere. 

As a result of the study, the following recommendations were made to further strengthen Michigan’s retention of high-tech university graduates: 

  • Target students in other states with information about the high-tech education and career opportunities available in Michigan;  
  • Continue to track graduate migration and design Michigan’s attraction strategy based on any pattern shifts that become apparent; 
  • Continue to educate Michigan’s pre-university and university students about high-tech educational and career opportunities in the state; 
  • Build a strategy to attract more out-of-state students to Michigan universities; and 
  • Build a “State of Michigan Alumni” strategy to attract Michigan graduates who would consider returning to Michigan. 

"It was encouraging that the study confirmed a large percentage of our state’s graduates with high-tech degrees view Michigan as a highly desirable place to work and live,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan.“Nationwide the competition for graduates in these fields will only intensify.Therefore, it is important that there be a high degree of cooperation between the universities, state government and the private sector to attract and retain the best talent in our state." 

To view the complete study, CLICK HERE. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.