Mar 24, 2023 - Politics

What readers say Michigan can do to keep talent

Illustration of The Spirit of Detroit exiting its usual position.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

How Michigan can keep young people in the state and attracts talent from across the country is one of the biggest challenges lawmakers face over the next decade.

State of play: Last week we ran the first story in a recurring series about how the state can keep its top talent.

  • Retaining young talent is a priority for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's second term. She's suggested that expanding rights for LGBTQ+ residents and protecting access to abortion could attract young people from nearby states, but experts say there's no single solution.

The intrigue: What could we do to attract young people while retaining the graduates ready to dart to Chicago, New York and California?

Here's what we heard from readers who live here:

  • B. J. T., a U.P. native who now lives outside Ann Arbor: "Protection from climate change I think is one of the biggest draws keeping me here and something that should be played up more to attract people long-term here."
  • Zane D., who followed his fiancee to Michigan from California five years ago: "The biggest problem I see facing the state is the lack of a large dense job metro with a competitive job market. Detroit certainly could​ become that, but I think that would require Mayor Duggan's proposed split-rate tax to be approved by the state and implemented thoughtfully."
  • Jacob F., an architect who moved to Detroit from California in 2020: "Remember when movies used to get made here? Bring back the tax breaks! International brands that don't rep Michigan? (I’m looking at you Kellogg’s, Herman Miller, Dow, Whirlpool, Domino's, etc.), Incentivize Michigan branding? Let's face it, LA has no problem attracting people and they aren't moving there because of their subway!"
  • Aliyah J., who moved to Chicago for graduate school in 2020, but returned to Portage last year to be close to family: "We need better public transportation — it's a deciding factor in where I move next. It's such a huge factor in getting places and when that's eliminated, the world is truly your oyster — I wasn't paying more than like $20 a month to go all over the city."

📥 We want to hear from you on how the state can keep young graduates and attract more.

  • Why did you or your loved one leave, return or stay in the mitten?
  • Email [email protected].

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