October 14, 2020
Filling Skilled Labor Shortage with International STEM Talent
Southeast Michigan faces a critical STEM talent gap. Research shows that the U.S. manufacturing industry continues to expand, with job openings growing at double-digit rates. The gap between open jobs and skilled talent, however, does not seem to have narrowed. If anything, it has grown. According to a 2018 study from Deloitte, with the introduction of advanced technologies, 2.4 million (over 50%) of the open jobs in 2028 in manufacturing could remain unfilled due to a lack of highly skilled candidates and the retirement of baby boomers.
International students comprise 50-80% of all graduate students in the U.S. in critical STEM fields, such as electrical engineering (80%); computer science (78%) and industrial engineering (75%). According to a survey conducted by the Kauffman Foundation in 2016, “48% of international students wish to stay in the United States after graduation, citing future job opportunities as the key factor influencing the desire to remain, and 40.5 percent are undecided.” Michigan has 33,000 international students, the ninth largest international student population in the U.S. These international students provide a pipeline of future scientists, engineers, IT professionals and more who can be a significant component of our region’s skilled workforce.
Lastly, research released in July 2020 by New American Economy, in partnership with the City of Detroit, Detroit Regional Chamber, Global Detroit, Oakland County, Wayne County and Macomb County details how essential immigrants are to Detroit’s economic recovery post-pandemic, and the importance of inclusivity as an economic development driver. See the full report here.
Hiring International Students is Easier Than You Think!
Many employers are hesitant to hire international students due to lack of knowledge about the hiring processes, especially regarding immigration policies. They are concerned about the amount of paperwork, as well as the risk and cost that the process might entail. However, hiring international students is much easier than you think.
All F-1 visa international students can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) to work in the U.S. doing jobs related to their major for up to 12 months. STEM majors can extend their OPT for 2 more years. No money and extra paperwork other than an offer letter is needed to hire international students. The only requirement for the employers is they must be e-verified. Employers can apply for an H-1B visa to allow the student to continue working after the OPT ends. On Dec. 6, 2019, USCIS issued new rules regarding the H-1B application process, which greatly simplified the process. Under this new rule, before the random selection process employers only need to complete a registration process that requires basic information about their company and the requested workers. Only the selected employers need to pay the application money and proceed with the paperwork.
International Talent Programs at Global Detroit
Global Detroit, a regional economic development and community development organization, develops and implements inclusive strategies to drive the growth of Detroit and Southeast Michigan.Through our Global Talent Retention Initiative (GTRI), Global Detroit works to help Southeast Michigan companies retain global talent and to prepare international students from Michigan universities for the U.S. job market.
GTRI includes an intensive Global Talent Accelerator (GTA), an intensive, cohort-based program that prepares international students in STEM fields for the U.S. job market. GTRI also offers soft skill workshops, networking events, job fairs and other career-building services. We support Southeast Michigan employers with training and resources on immigration regulations, hiring processes and other topics that will help them attract and retain top talent and help make Michigan a global business leader. From 2012-2019, GTRI has helped to connect 4,000+ international students with 100 employers in Michigan. Since launching the Global Talent Accelerator last year, we have helped 68% of our graduates secure jobs in Michigan and across the U.S.
Learn more about the success stories of our GTA graduates here.
Connect with the staff and students at Global Detroit
COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges for local businesses in Michigan to find and retain the needed talent for their economic recovery. If you’re an employer interested in connecting with our students, contact us at email@example.com. We look forward to supporting you by connecting you with the top-notch international STEM talent Michigan has to offer.
Written by Let’s Detroit Ambassador Guiqiu Wang, Program Manager International Talent & Entrepreneurship at Global Detroit