Friday, June 21, 2024

Students aren't likely to stay in Michigan post-grad: Why not?

July 24, 2023
<p>The Lansing Capitol building is being monitored on Election Day to prevent possible protests from arising. Shot on Nov. 3, 2020.</p>

The Lansing Capitol building is being monitored on Election Day to prevent possible protests from arising. Shot on Nov. 3, 2020.

Over the past five decades, Michigan has fallen behind other states in population growth, jobs, earnings, health, educational achievement and quality of public services, according to a report released by the Citizen Research Council

The report states that international and interstate immigration has fallen and many young Michigan residents are leaving. Unless change is made, the report says the state’s population will continue to shrink, suppressing economic growth for businesses and job opportunities for residents

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the formation of a new commission to address this problem during a yearly policy conference on June 1. The Growing Michigan Together Council consists of 28 members and will circle around developing policy recommendations to retain college graduates, promote Michigan’s natural resources and build on the state’s manufacturing legacy

A key part of the solution is maintaining talent pools from universities following graduation, especially computer science and engineering graduates, who are imperative to the state’s growing electric vehicle industry

Recent mechanical engineering graduate, Jordan Piatek, is one of many MSU graduates who is leaving Michigan for their job

Piatek will be moving to Chicago, where she will be working as a consultant. She said that despite receiving job offers in Michigan, she decided to go with the Chicago offer due to higher pay and a better social scene for recent graduates

Piatek said if she had received more competitive offers in Michigan, she would have stayed as she loves the state and finds the idea of staying appealing

To increase the number of grads who stay after graduation, Piatek believes that marketing Michigan cities to a younger audience would help

“That would definitely encourage people to leave Michigan as a consideration as far as what city to move to postgrad, then obviously better pay and stuff would be great, but obviously that’s up to companies," Piatek said. 

MSU supply chain management alum Dominic Serra, who graduated this past winter, is also moving to Chicago for his job. 

When Serra first started college, he intended to stay in Michigan after graduation, but after going through school, he realized moving to a city like Chicago would allow him to expand his horizons

“I wanted to feel safe, comfortable," Serra said. "I don’t know, I just didn’t picture leaving Michigan, but as I got older and matured more and sought out more opportunities, that changed. I kind of saw it like, MSU was my playground, I had a lot to do there and it was really fun, and Chicago is an even bigger playground, and I kind of look at it like a next step.” 

As for making Michigan a more appealing place to stay, Serra says the commission should focus around improving Detroit.

“Detroit is one of Michigan’s biggest cities but it’s not as attractive, I would say, as some places like Chicago," Serra said. "I mean it’s getting better but if it was a lot nicer and maybe even bigger, I think people would really consider living in Michigan more." 

Nursing senior Mabel Phillips said better pay for jobs is a critical part in getting students to accept jobs in-state

Phillips is currently interning at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Minnesota, where she says the cost of living is cheaper and the pay is better than in Michigan

Despite this, Phillips said living in Minnesota for the summer has made her realize that she wants to stay in Michigan post grad

“I was pretty certain that I was gonna move here, but I think I realized that I love Michigan too much,” Phillips said. “It took me to move away from Michigan to realize that I like home and I don’t think anywhere else can ever compare really. As of right now, I want to stay but that could always change." 

Phillips said that she believes the people who live in Michigan long term really do love it, and that people aren’t leaving the state due to a lack of aesthetics or the stark changes in seasons, but because of the economy.

Whitmer is aware of the appeal there is to leave Michigan after college to go to more economically prosperous areas, which is why her new commission is aiming to make Michigan a more attractive place for incoming graduates by focusing on education and infrastructure to increase job opportunities within the state

“The best thing about Michigan are the people who call it home and this council will ensure our state is able to attract talent and provide expanding opportunities for families,” Whitmer said in a press release on the commission. “We’re lowering costs, attracting good-paying jobs, investing in education from pre-school to post-secondary, protecting our natural resources and expanding fundamental rights." 


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