Filling the Talent Gap Report

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Filling the Talent Gap presents first of its kind data on international student retention in Michigan. The research underlying this report demonstrated powerful growth in utilization of the OPT portion of international student status in Michigan and offers several encouraging signs about international student retention in Michigan.
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  • Hiring of international students from GTRI universities through the OPT program by Michigan employers grew more than 80% over the past four years;
  • The number of international students studying in Michigan grew 32.2% over the past five years and now tops 32,000 and represents over $1 billion in annual economic activity;

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  • 40-70% of all the graduate students in the U.S. studying in STEM-related fields are international students (70.3% of electrical engineering, 63.2% of computer science); and
  • The international students using OPT from GTRI universities have mostly attained graduate degrees (82%) and predominate STEM fields (68%), making them some of the world’s most valuable workers.

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for Employers
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“Data like this is more than impressive. We know that utilizing international students rather than allowing positions to go unfilled helps companies compete and grow. And while our region is leading the nation in helping employers to consider international talent for hard-to-fill positions, more needs to be done.”
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Report: International Students Contribute $1B Annually to Michigan Economy– dBusiness

Can Immigrant Communities Help Rebuild Detroit? – Detroit Today, Michigan Public Radio

Report Shows International Students Filling State’s STEM Talent Gap – Xconomy

Report: Immigrants are making jobs, not taking them – Michigan Public Radio

New Data On International Student Retention Released – Detroit Regional Chamber

International Students are U.S. Businesses’ Best Hope for Growth – CEOs for Cities

New Data on International Student Retention Released – Latino Detroit
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July 12, 2016, Detroit, Michigan—Corporate and regional economic leaders joined university officials to learn about the Michigan Global Talent Retention Initiative’s (GTRI) data on international student retention in Michigan.
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  • Why Are We Here? Why Is this Newsworthy?
  • What’s New in the “Filling the Talent Gap” Study? What Does the Study Reveal?
  • Why Is this Issue so Important?

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GTRI is well poised to tackle thei opportunities in collaboration with local universities and employers.  The barriers to more effective utilization of international student talent that could help make Southeast Michigan a global leader in talent are more artificial than legal.  Building awareness of the tremendous underutilization of international talent that plays such an integral part to the STEM academic programs, especially on the graduate level, at Michigan colleges and universities (as well as those across the nation) is the first step.  Addressing the cultural barriers and misinformation that prevent more area employers from considering international talent is a second step.  A third step centers on helping international students to better understand the culture of the American business community and workplace.  Finally, we must focus on creating a robust array of opportunities for international students to build relationships with our region and its professional and international communities.

Filling the Talent Gap is an update to GTRI’s 2013 study of the use of the Optional Practical Training (OPT) portion of international student visas at seven key Michigan universities.
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This report would not have been possible without the partnership and support from the international student offices at GTRI’s participating universities – University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, Lawrence Technological University, University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Oakland University. Additionally, we are extremely grateful to the New Economy Initiative for their financial support and partnership.
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