Detroit: Opportunity City

March 6, 2012

Why all college students should consider living, working, and playing in Detroit after graduation

photo of Michelle Elder

Michelle Elder, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

After college graduation, I watched most of my friends leave Michigan for cities like Boston, Chicago, DC, Portland, and New York. They all left without a job offer; they chose the place to live before they even started their job search.  The more I visited them in their cool, urban lifestyles, the more I wanted to leave Michigan. I was always hopeful that Detroit would become a Chicago, but at times, that seemed like an impossible prospect.  In 2008, the recession happened and Detroit fell hard.

Then, when all seemed hopeless, Detroit’s engine restarted itself with a powerful roar. Jobs are back and the downtown is transforming right before our eyes. The national recognition for Detroit speaks for itself:

Physically, Detroit looks different than it did ten or even five years ago – the urban environment that so many young people crave exists right here in Detroit – right now!   Many companies like Quicken Loans and Compuware moved downtown and are incentivizing their workers to LIVE downtown. There are noticeably more young people living and working downtown.  Dan Gilbert acquired 9 commercial buildings, including the new M@dison building, home to Detroit Venture Partners and its start-up companies.  The Bus Rapid Transit plan and the downtown rail transit plan are in the works; the last piece of the puzzle in supporting the vibrant, exciting big city life is finally falling into place.

Social Compact shows drastic underestimated need for commercial real estate development and services in downtown.  That pent up demand is evident in the new restaurants and indy retailers are popping up all over; Whole Foods and Meijer are both opening stores downtown!  Anyone interested in starting a business should come to Detroit. Entrepreneurial-centric organizations like TechTown, Detroit Creative Corridor Center, D:Hive, Bizdom U, and Challenge Detroit are just examples of some of the resources for entrepreneurs to realize their dreams.

Tour Detroit, Network, Get a Job or Summer Internship, Make a Difference!

Don’t believe what I am sharing?  LiveWorkDetroit!, Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s initiative to retain and attract talent in Michigan, is the perfect way for any recent-grad or college student to see Detroit and decide for themselves.  Hop on our bus to the next two LiveWorkDetroit! events (March 9th and March 31st) and see for yourself as you tour the city  with us and network with hiring employers, industry  and community leaders, entrepreneurs, and young professionals who live, work, and love Detroit.  And when you fall in love with Detroit, check out UM’s chapter of LiveWorkDetroit! Student Ambassador organization for ways students can make a difference in Detroit right now.

Michelle Elder is an alumni of the Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning (B.S. Architecture ’02, MUP/Real Estate Cert ’08). She currently works at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, leading the state of Michigan’s strategy for retaining and attracting college graduates and young professionals.


Friday Favorites: Job Searching in Michigan

January 29, 2010

Every Friday, we post links to a few interesting resources that we’ve come across lately, or have been using a lot with students on advising. This week, we’ve chosen a few resources to help you find a job or internship in Michigan. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to leave the state to begin a successful career. So if you’re thinking about staying in the area, check out some of the following websites:

  • If you’re seeking a local internship, try Intern in Michigan and DetroitIntern.com for positions in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. FYI: both sites require you to sign up for a free account.
  • The government is (almost) recession-proof when it comes to career opportunities and growth. Government jobs are often well-paying and offer great benefits. Plus, they look excellent on a resume. State Jobs provides a listing of public (and private) employers, while the Michigan State Civil Service site lists open positions with state agencies and offices. Look for “Student Assistant” and “State Worker” titles as well as the numbers 7-9, which designate entry-level positions.

Friday Favorites: Internships/Fellowships Here at the University

January 8, 2010

Every Friday, we post links to a few interesting resources that we’ve come across lately, or have been using a lot with students on advising. This week, we’re focusing on internship/fellowship opportunities within the University, right here in Ann Arbor.

You might be familiar with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) for their academic year research program, but did you know they also offer a Summer Research Fellowship program offering full-time independent research experience? The fellowship lasts 10 weeks, and even offers a $3500 stipend. Applications are due on February 12th.

The UM Office of University Development offers a great internship program to help undergraduates explore a career in philanthropy/fundraising. Eleven of the first 40 Development Summer Internship Program (D-SIP) alumni have found great jobs in development, and many more are putting their D-SIP skills to work in similarly fulfilling careers, including Vinal, one of our career advisors! The program runs May-August 2010, and applications are due on January 15th!

Students interested in careers in the field of medicine should check out the UM Medical School’s Summer Opportunities for Apprenticeships in Research Program (MedSOAR), offered June-August 2010. The program helps introduce incoming freshman, undergraduates, and recent college graduates to, and familiarize them with, biomedical research, health professional careers, and issues of health disparities. The program offers a $360/week stipend, and undergraduate and pre-med students receive priority placement. Applications are due March 8th.


Friday Favorites: Where the Jobs Are, generation Y michigan, and Detroit’s Cool Places

November 6, 2009

Every Friday we post links to a few interesting resources that we’ve come across lately, or have been using a lot with students on advising. Here’s some favorites for this week:

1. For people interested in working for the Federal Government, the official jobs board (USAJobs) can be kind of a pain to use. I’m always on the lookout for other tools to help identify career options within the U.S. Government, to help students spend a little less time sifting through USAJOBS. Tom, one of my colleagues, passed along Where the Jobs Are, a site put together by the Partnership for Public Service. Covering 2010-2012, it offers up hiring projections for various federal organizations, and tons more useful information like the Top Five Job Categories in government agencies over the next couple years.

2. There’s so much talk in the media about students leaving the state after graduation (“brain drain“), but we hear from many students that their first preference is to look for work in-state. Lauren Silverman, a current Michigan senior, is working on a project with Michigan Radio called generation Y michigan, a digital journalism project focused on the reasons why young adults are or are not staying in Michigan. The site has some great commentary as well as reactions from current students and recent grads.

3. Speaking of working in-state, Crain’s Detroit Business is holding their Cool Places Video Showdown, where local employers create a short video that typifies why they’re a great place to work. There’s a handful of videos up right now including advertising giant Team Detroit and Thomson Reuters, an organization that consistently recruits UM students and recent grads for internship and full-time opportunities.


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