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Detroit Drives Degrees

When a region’s residents are well-educated, the entire region benefits – with a stronger overall business climate, as well as higher incomes and property values. A competition was launched in 2010 by CEOs for Cities to increase college attainment in our nation’s cities by one percentage point, which the organization calculates would be worth $124 billion a year in increased national earnings.

Detroit is one of 57 cities participating in the Talent Dividend Prize Competition, with $1 million to be awarded to the city that exhibits the greatest increase in the number of post-secondary degrees granted per capita over the three-year period of the competition, which concludes in 2013. The prize will be used to launch a national promotional campaign centered around talent development for the winning city.

According to CEOs for Cities, if Detroit increased its college attainment rate from 26.4 to 27.4 percent, the region would capture a $3.4 billion Talent Dividend. That’s 29,738 additional graduates. For more statistics on the Detroit region and the competition, please visit the CEOs for Cities website.

Competition sponsors include the Kresge Foundation and Lumina Foundation. The winner will be announced in September, 2014.

Detroit Talent Dividend Goals and the Role of the Chamber

The Detroit Regional Chamber enthusiastically supports the goals of the Talent Dividend Prize Competition and convenes numerous partners working toward increased education attainment in the region. The Chamber works with partner organizations towards the following goals.

Increase Amount of Students Entering College

  • Providing financial assistance through the Detroit Compact

Michigan College Access Network

  • Programs and resources to increase post-secondary education attainment for first generation college students

New Urban High Schools

  • Supporting a growing number of small urban high schools, which are dramatically increasing graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment for inner-city students.

Detroit College Scholarship

  • Increase the graduation rate for people who are already in college: The Chamber works with area universities and community colleges as well as WIN WIN to encourage students currently enrolled in college programs to complete their degrees.

Achieving the Dream

  • Student retention at community colleges

University Student Retention

  • Best practice conference


  • Influence those with 50+ community college credits with no degree to return and complete their degrees
  • Retain graduates in the region

The Chamber Partners With Several Key Organizations

Intern in Michigan

Employers can find interns from colleges and universities throughout Michigan. There is no cost to post your internships on the site. Hundreds of students have already created profiles and are actively seeking internships now.

Global Talent Retention Initiative

The Global Talent Retention Initiative provides Michigan’s employment and lifestyle opportunities for the state’s 25,000 foreign college students to employers


This innovative program gives participants the opportunity to see everything the Detroit region has to offer in person and to hear from employers eager to hire.

Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Detroit

This association creates avenues for professional development, networking, social activities and community involvement for young, emerging nonprofit professionals.

Chamber Strategies

  • Communicate the importance of education to the public
  • Engage employers in the strategies, where appropriate
  • Support public policy that aligns with a talent agenda
  • Gather hard data on talent retention and attraction

TDL Workforce

Because of Detroit’s unique location and substantial transportation, distribution and logistics (TDL) infrastructure, it is also an area rich with TDL educational opportunities. The Detroit Regional Chamber’s talent and education group contracted with Manpower Group Solutions to conduct an assessment of employer talent needs in this arena. The goal is for the Detroit Regional Chamber to develop an employer-driven workforce development hub in the TDL sector in Southeast Michigan in order to help connect TDL workers, employers and training providers. The assessment looked at the following areas:

  • Current and projected workforce needs
  • Analysis of hard-to-fill-positions
  • Current recruitment practices and needs
  • Potential skills/training gaps of existing workforce
  • Best practices in recruitment and retention
  • Challenges/barriers to finding and retaining talent

To view the entire assessment, please click here.

Resource for Veterans

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    • Greg
    • Handel
    • Senior Director, Education and Talent Programs
    • 313.596.0331

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