Detroit Regional Chamber Launches “Let’s Detroit” Talent Attraction and Retention Tool

LetsDetroit.com engages talent by connecting them to their peers through a website, one-of-a-kind texting function, social media and events.

DETROIT, Sept. 20, 2018 – With 36 percent of Michigan college graduates leaving the state within a year of graduation, the Detroit Regional Chamber and its partners created Let’s Detroit to attract and retain the talent to Southeast Michigan. Using a website, “Text a Detroiter” function, and social media engagement, the platform aims to achieve three main objectives: improve the narrative around Detroit and Southeast Michigan, increase the number of graduates retained, and cultivate an innovative, engaged and culture-focused business community to drive economic prosperity.

“Regional businesses have continued to indicate the No. 1 issue they have is attracting and retaining talent,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Let’s Detroit will increase retention of talented professionals fleeing to cities like New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles by helping them connect to the Detroit region, in a way they will respond to.”

Let’s Detroit showcases local ambassadors in several focus areas and creates a platform for others to connect and find their community. There are texting and employment ambassadors that are the voices representing the Detroit region to their peers. These individuals are the young professionals and others who are immersed in their communities and want to help others get connected.

  • Employment ambassadors are people currently engaged with a Southeast Michigan professional industry group willing to connect with users about their field of work via LinkedIn, Twitter, email, or potentially text. Users will reach out to ask questions, get advice, and how to expand their network.
  • “Text a Detroiter” ambassadors are people who love to text and want to share knowledge about their communities with others. Texting ambassadors select topics they want to talk about (i.e. networking events, nightlife, places to eat, etc.) and users connect through a protected, third party number to ask questions, get recommendations and learn.

The Chamber conducted global and local research on what successful regions are doing to retain and attract talent and it revealed key findings that led to Let’s Detroit:

  • Human resource professionals need help attracting talent to the region.
  • Young professionals don’t want to be marketed to; they want to make a difference in their communities; and they need an “in” to help navigate career, social and other aspects of the region.
  • Talent in Southeast Michigan cares most about their career path, as well as other quality of life aspects like regional transit, placemaking and recreation.

To ensure the process was collaborative, the Chamber brought together a talent retention working group of nearly 100 public, private, nonprofit and grassroots organizations across Southeast Michigan to provide insight and feedback throughout the process.

The launch of Let’s Detroit was generously supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). In addition, The Department of Talent and Economic Development (TED) is an active partner in the development of Let’s Detroit in coordination with their statewide “Choose Michigan” initiative. Through this effort, Let’s Detroit can serve as a wireframe for other regions in the state if they want to implement a similar talent strategy. To continue to be successful, the Chamber is seeking additional support for the Let’s Detroit platform. Please visit LetsDetroit.com to explore and learn more.

 About Let’s Detroit

Let’s Detroit was created by the Detroit Regional Chamber to retain the young talent leaving the state. Using a website, texting communication, and social media engagement, the program aims to achieve three main objectives: improve the narrative around Detroit and Southeast Michigan, increase graduates in Southeast Michigan, and cultivate an innovative, engaged and culture-focused business community to drive economic prosperity. Let’s Detroit was launched to help achieve the Chamber’s goal of increasing postsecondary education attainment in the region to 60 percent by 2030. Explore at LetsDetroit.com.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber

Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. As the voice for business in the 11-county Southeast Michigan region, the Chamber’s mission is carried out through creating a business-friendly climate and value for members, leading a robust economic development strategy, and convening Michigan’s most influential audience at the nationally unique Mackinac Policy Conference.

Media contact: Kelly Weatherwax, kweatherwax@detroitchamber.com, 313.596.0360

 

IAMC Spring Forum: Taking a Closer Look at Industrial Real Estate Trends

Last month, the Detroit Regional Chamber, in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), represented our 11-county region at the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC) spring forum, “Industrial Real Estate in the 21st Century” in Tampa (pictured). IAMC is the leading association of industrial asset management and corporate real estate executives and site selection consultants in the United States.

The Chamber spent April 8-12 meeting with site selection consultants and real estate professionals to promote Michigan’s manufacturing and talent assets.

“What’s enticing to a lot of these site selectors working with clients in the manufacturing and automotive industries is our high concentration of engineering talent,” said Brian Bilger, senior business development representative for the Chamber. “Additionally we’re seeing a lot more positive word-of-mouth marketing about Detroit’s revitalization. Everyone is curious about the momentum surrounding self-driving cars taking place in Michigan.”

Both the opening of the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti next year and the state’s passage of the SAVE (Safe Autonomous Vehicles) Act give Michigan a leg up in the competition for talent and global investment, Bilger said.

“Attending events like IAMC are critical to putting Detroit and Michigan at the top of the list for site selectors,” he said. “Michigan has a lot of competition from Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and Pennsylvania but when it comes down to it, the brainpower is here. The amount of engineering and IT students we have is a major advantage.”

The forum also helped shed insight on key issues and trends voiced by industrial real estate developers, such as a growing trend of big box store closures.

“What’s the impact on the community when these stores close? From an adaptive reuse perspective, do these empty buildings meet the needs of companies looking to expand? What types of incentives are available? These are all questions we have to get ahead of when site selectors come to us with a proposed project,” Bilger said.

Bilger said following the forum, the Chamber has remained in contact with site selectors representing companies from Chicago, Dallas, New Jersey and South Carolina that are exploring options in Michigan. Several are planning visits to Mcity in Ann Arbor and participating in the state’s familiarization tour in September, designed to build interest in Michigan’s manufacturing and industrial real estate market.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita S. Harris at mharris@detroitchamber.com or 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page.

Improving Talent Attraction and Retention

By:  Sarah Craft

Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) has three focus areas: Allowing regional residents improved access to a postsecondary opportunity, improving success within those programs, and retaining this talent once they’ve completed their certification, as well as attract new talent to the region. When we say “talent”, we’re talking about people with any sort of postsecondary credential, including a professional certification, and degrees including associate, bachelors and beyond.

Detroit Young Professional Mixer

We’re working with incredible partners throughout the region to reach our goal of increasing the number of people with postsecondary degrees to 60 percent by 2025. Detroit Young Professionals (DYP) is one of those partners. DYP is dedicated to strengthening the next generation of regional leaders by providing professional development, civic engagement and networking opportunities. Professional organizations like this do an incredible job getting local people connected to opportunities, as well as providing an effective welcoming mat to area newcomers.

D3’s talent working group is doing research to better identify strengths, challenges and opportunities in regionwide talent attraction and retention. We’ll be promoting a broader talent survey in the next week or two, but we’ve also been looking at national models, research and facilitating one-on-one and focus group discussions to better understand talent needs.

DYP serves on our working group, and we recently attended one of their networking events. With more than 200 people present, we collected useful narratives and perspectives on individuals’ experiences related to talent retention and attraction.

Why Here imageThe biggest takeaway was that region’s opportunity for making an impact and the spirit of our people is what seems to matter most. Whatever possible improvements to talent retention and attraction we come up with will be sure to focus on people, equity and relationship building.

Here are highlights from questions we asked at DYP:

Why do you live in the region?

  • Family
  • To be part of positive changes
  • The spirit of Detroiters
  • Deep roots and pride
  • Career
  • It’s a cool place to live

What are your community’s greatest assets?Best Assets

  • People
  • Activities
  • Walkable communities

How can people get connected to your community?

  • Spend time (and money) at local
    businesses
  • Get involved with a local organization
  • Get out and about to talk to neighbors, attend networking events or joining a recreational sports league
  • Through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social sites like Meetup

Unfortunately, many people weren’t sure how to encourage others to get connected to their community, especially when people lived in smaller suburban communities like Romulus or Roseville.

For residents, new to the region or to those who left for a while and recently returned, we asked:

What made your transition to the region easy?

  • Having a friend, colleague, family member or neighbor as a guide
  • Being curious and open to new experiences
  • Finding a community to be involved in, like the music scene, volunteer opportunity, or an interest-based networking group
  • Looking through social media to find out about events

What made your transition hard?

  • Finding new friends
  • Finding a place to live
  • Outside perceptions of the region, especially related to safety
  • Adjusting to the quality of life, like not having regional transit or the lack of walkable communities

What could have made your transition better?

An easier way to:

  • Make friends and meet new people
  • Find things to do, based on interests or personal recommendations
  • Get information about the region, like where to live based on interests and lifestyle

Stay tuned for our upcoming talent survey and opportunities to get involved in our work. For questions, comments, or ideas, reach out to scraft@detroitchamber.com.

Destination Detroit’s Economic Development Partners Attract $384.9 Million, 2,639 Jobs to Southeast Michigan in Second Quarter of 2016

Destination Detroit’s Economic Development PartnersDuring the second quarter of 2016, Destination Detroit’s economic development partners directly assisted with the creation of 2,639 new jobs and $384.9 million in new investment.

One of the largest and most notable projects came from global automotive supplier Flex-N-Gate, who in May announced their decision to build a new, high-tech parts factory in the I-94 Industrial Park located on Detroit’s east side.

“Flex-N-Gate’s decision to invest here is meaningful on so many levels. Not only does a project like this reaffirm Detroit as one of the global centers for automotive manufacturing, but, most importantly, this plant will bring hundreds of well-paying jobs to local residents,” said Detroit Economic Growth Corp. President and CEO Rodrick Miller.

“The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. is proud to have played a role in this project’s success and we look forward to working with Flex-N-Gate well into the future. From infrastructure to talent, the Detroit region has a lot to offer companies,” Miller continued.

Learn more about a few of the projects that helped drive economic growth in the Detroit region from April through June of 2016:

Quarter 2 Project Highlights
Company: Flex-N-Gate
Location: Detroit
Partner Lead: Detroit Economic Growth Corp.
New Jobs: 400 initial, up to 650 over the next three to five years
New Investment: $95 million
Description: Flex-N-Gate, a Tier 1 supplier of bumpers, lighting, front-end modules and other automotive products, announced in May its plan to construct a 30-acre, $95-million factory in Detroit’s I-94 Industrial Park. Once completed, the plant will initially hire 400 people to provide aftermarket parts for Ford Motor Co., with the potential to employ up to 650 workers over the next few years. “The headline is about jobs. Hundreds of outstanding, well-paying jobs,” said Flex-N-Gate owner Shahid Khan in a Detroit Free Press article profiling the project.

Company: CityFlats Hotel and Sperry’s Movie House
Location: Port Huron
Partner Lead: Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County
New Jobs: 40
New Investment: $20 million
Description: Michigan-based developer Chuck Reid is spearheading two major mixed-use redevelopments in downtown Port Huron. The area’s historic Sperry’s building is currently undergoing construction to become a movie house, complete with 12 small theatres, a total of 400 seats and a restaurant. The $11-million project is aiming to open within the next few months.

In addition, Reid is slated to transform the former Michigan National Bank building into the state’s third CityFlats Hotel. Once finished, the $9-million building renovation will include retail, conference space and a ballroom.

Company: Cosworth
Location: Shelby Township
Partner Lead: Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development
New Jobs: 50
New Investment: $30 million
Description: After initially exploring the option to build a manufacturing operation in Indianapolis, Ind., United Kingdom-based Cosworth will construct a new facility in Shelby Township to make V-8 cylinder heads for automakers. The company is expected to invest $30 million in the facility and hire at least 50 new employees. Although active in the automotive, aerospace and defense industries, the engine technologies company is globally recognized for its high-performance race engines, featured frequently in Indy-car competitions.

About Destination Detroit
Representing the 11 counties that make up Southeastern Michigan, Destination Detroit is a collaborative business attraction effort led by the Detroit Regional Chamber in partnership with the region’s principal economic development agencies. Each quarter, Destination Detroit aggregates and promotes the investment and job creation results for projects directly impacted by these organizations.