Apr 25, 2024 - News

Metro Detroit's growing AI job landscape

New AI jobs posted per 100k people, Q1 2024
Data: UMD-LinkUp AIMaps; Note: "AI job" defined as a job requiring technical skills to build and/or use AI models; A bigger circle indicates more new jobs per capita; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Fewer new AI jobs are posted in Metro Detroit than the national average, but workforce development experts still consider it an essential field for future careers.

Why it matters: As AI emerges as the hottest new thing in tech, cities outside Silicon Valley can get in on the action — and reap the potentially lucrative economic rewards.

By the numbers: In Metro Detroit, which isn't seeing an AI boom, 7.7 new AI jobs per 100,000 residents were posted in the first quarter of this year. That's compared with 11.7 in the U.S. overall, and 142 in the tech hub of San Jose, California.

  • Of the more than 226,500 jobs posted in 2023 in Metro Detroit, just 0.5% were AI-related.

How it works: The estimates come from UMD-LinkUp, a collaboration with the University of Maryland and job platform LinkUp, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

  • They define "AI jobs" as those that require technical skills to either create or use AI models.

Threat level: Optimism about job growth competes with workers' worries that AI could threaten their jobs, from those in the legal industry to administrative, factory, banking and security roles.

  • Detroit is among the top 10 metros where AI could upend the most jobs, according to an analysis last year by the Chamber of Commerce.

Zoom in: AI is a key area for Scott Shireman, director of the under-construction U of M Center for Innovation, which will offer workforce development training and career certifications when it opens downtown in 2027.

  • Shireman tells Axios that developing a job-skills curriculum is difficult because companies' needs change so rapidly.
  • But there are specific "foundational skills" everyone needs, and the first one that comes to mind for Shireman right now is fluency in AI.

What they're saying: "AI jobs have to be part of the story of Detroit's future," Shireman tells Axios. Career areas he hears interest in like climate, advanced manufacturing and urban technology will all require AI skills.

  • "We know over the next 10 years AI is going to be used in increasingly diverse kinds of job roles."
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