A new study, “Attracting, Fostering, and Inspiring Talent for the Global Economy,” reports that the URC universities, ranked among the nation’s top research clusters as first in medical degrees, total degrees awarded and second in advanced degrees in high-tech fields, boast a worldwide network of more than 1.2 million living alumni, more than half of them living in Michigan.
The University Research Corridor’s members — Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University — engage 12,000 world-class faculty members and 35,000 graduate students, elevating their undergraduate programs and supporting regional economies. With more than $2.1 billion in research and development annually, the URC universities accounts for 93 percent of all academic R&D in Michigan and comprise a third of the state bachelor’s degree holders and advanced degree holders age 25 and older.
“Why are all of these degrees, especially the advanced and medical degrees, so important? Because they meet employers’ needs, support high-tech entrepreneurship, generate tax dollars and provide access to higher quality health care and enhanced quality of life for all Michigan residents,” said Jeff Mason, executive director of the URC.
“For this report, we considered talented individuals as the central focus of the economy of the future, and examined the role Michigan’s research universities play in creating, attracting and nurturing that talent,” said Patrick Anderson of Anderson Economic Group, author of the report.
“Our three Carnegie-classified highly intensive research institutions are not only retaining world class talent, but actively recruiting skilled individuals from around the globe, putting Michigan on the map for research and innovation,” said Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon. “URC talent embodies a depth and breadth of skills that are essential in our ever-changing global economy.”
Because of the comprehensive nature and diversity of opportunities at URC universities, graduates from the schools attribute broad-based skills desired by employers, including communication, critical thinking, leadership and entrepreneurship, to their university experience. More than 20 percent of surveyed alumni listed job titles indicating leadership roles, such as owner, partner, CEO, president and director.
“The attainment of a degree from one of our universities proves to be instrumental in preparing Michigan’s talent base for the real world applications in their careers, fostering an impact that extends beyond the walls of our three institutions,” said University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel.
LinkedIn social media data indicates that the Big Three automotive employers — Ford, General Motors and Chrysler — hire thousands of URC graduates, and that the URC universities are ranked in the top three alma mater institutions for Big Three employees.
“URC universities are producing talent that meets the demands of top employers throughout the state and region, inspiring companies to locate near our campuses and hire a great number of our graduates,” said Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson.
Talent is critical to a healthy economy and Michigan is benefitting from the talent of highly-skilled URC graduates. According to the report, native Michigan college graduates are three times more likely to start their career in Michigan if they graduate from a Michigan college or university. Even during a deep recession, nearly 75 percent of native Michigan URC graduates stayed in the state and 20 percent of out-of-state graduates.
Profiles of examples of URC talent, including alumni making global impacts and staying connected to Michigan, entrepreneurs who remained in Michigan after graduation and researchers and business attracted here by the strength of the URC universities, can be found at the URC website, www.urcmich.org.