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Sandy Baruah Discusses Talent Attraction at Troy Chamber Event

“When we talk about talent, the name of the game is retention,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, during a panel discussion on talent attraction in Michigan.

Retaining talent in Southeast Michigan is a key initiative of the Chamber that is supported through the work of the Chamber’s suite of education programs – including Detroit Promise, Detroit Drives Degrees and Let’s Detroit – and its automotive cluster association, MICHauto.

The panel discussion on Feb. 12 was part of the Troy Chamber of Commerce’s Power of the Future: 2019 Economic Forecast. Baruah was featured alongside Dan Gilmartin, president and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League; and Jennifer Llewellyn, manager of the Workforce Development for Oakland County and director of the Michigan Works! Agency. WDIV Local 4 News Reporter Rod Meloni moderated the discussion.

“When you look at the lateral region, Troy is incredibly important. It’s basically Troy and Detroit that are the two central business districts in our region,” said Baruah. “It’s great to have two choices between a true downtown environment that Detroit is rapidly becoming and a suburban business base that Troy truly is.”

At one point, Meloni asked Baruah, specifically, to share his thoughts on the current push to increase higher educational attainment levels in Michigan.

Baruah replied with data, “We have about 41 percent of adults that either have a four-year, two-year degree, or highly-skilled certificate. By 2030, roughly 60 percent of all jobs will require one of the three.” He added, “If 60 percent will be our needs and we’re at 41percent –that’s bad math.”

Baruah insisted that talent retainment can become a steady growth measure by answering to the needs of people already present in Michigan.

“Keeping people here – that’s placemaking, jobs, transit and investments in the infrastructure. And if we don’t do that, it’s game over,” said Baruah.