What we do

GTRI focuses on strengthening and diversifying the state’s economy through the retention of top international talent. By retaining international students, GTRI is a catalyst to lessening the skills gap in the STEM fields especially, and cultivating a climate in which Michigan businesses can be competitive in the new economy.

GTRI provides international students and local employers with training and resources on relevant immigration regulations, information on finding a job in Michigan, and help with cross-cultural issues that both employers and international applicants may experience during the hiring process.

GTRI collaborates with the Governor’s office, the Office for New Americans, Global Detroit, over 30 Michigan Universities, the University Research Corridor (URC), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Michigan’s economic development agencies, ethnic chambers, professional organizations, and employers throughout the state.


In 2010 the Global Detroit study set forth the evidence about and the strategy to grow the regional economy, revitalize Detroit neighborhoods, and help spark the region’s recovery by encouraging, welcoming, retaining, and integrating immigrants into our region. The study chronicled the tremendous economic contributions that immigrants have made to the region and that they make in high growth economies across the nation. The study outlined eleven recommendations for the region to pursue.

One of those recommendations, to “Attract and Retain International Students from Michigan Colleges and Universities” resulted in the creation of GTRI.

In 2011, Global Detroit worked with 7 Michigan universities, the University Research Corridor, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Ann Arbor SPARK, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and others to launch the Michigan Global Talent Retention Initiative, the nation’s first international student retention program. GTRI now operates on 31 Michigan college campuses and has over 60 Global Opportunity (GO) employers to help connect Michigan’s 28,000 international students (over 60 percent of whom are STEM majors) with unmet talent needs of Michigan companies.

GTRI is funded by the New Economy Initiative (NEI), and is housed at Global Detroit.