News & Blog

Mobility, Detroit, and the Michigan Mobility Institute

Co-written by Dexter Sullivan and Manny Richardson of the Michigan Mobility Institute

The mobility industry is constantly changing, growing, and evolving all around us. This growth is inherent to the innovative nature of tech, but modern mobility solutions have taken to the global stage, making it one of the fastest growing markets of the decade.

What does that mean for us in Detroit? How can we grow to keep up with the mobility revolution that is occurring?

What Is Mobility

Over time, mobility has been defined as the potential for movement. The movement of people and goods. But mobility is also the ability to move about with ease. As the automotive industry has grown, so has the context for mobility. In 2020, mobility largely means access hopefully equally distributed – to effective transportation solutions. At the Michigan Mobility Institute, we like to think that mobility is evolving to the increased frequency, accessibility, safety, and comfort of people-movement globally.

As mobility solutions are being created, innovators are spending significant amounts of time learning about the landscapes in which their solutions are being deployed. They understand that effective personal mobility must provide this kind of consistent access to sustainable, safe, convenient transportation. What good is the potential of a mobility solution if access is limited, conditions are not safe, or a person or group is unable to travel in a timely manner? Planning for travel conditions is paramount, and the stakes are only getting higher. Comfort and exclusivity are also notably growing as competitive factors in mobility innovation.

In 2020, COVID-19’s disruption to supply chains – nationally and internationally has activated, and in some cases, even jumpstarted emerging mobility solutions. In 2016, there were 209.6 million online shoppers in North America. Projections show that number increasing to 230 million by 2021. The momentum shift to increased online sales and delivery models has significantly impacted the movement of goods forever. This level of demand has fortified social consumer mobility – normalizing the delivery of goods with supporting apps and automations, particularly in the food and textile industries, creating a new demand for technology to support the delivery of these goods to consumers.

The Work of Mobility

The Michigan Mobility Institute (Co-Founded by Let’s Detroit Texting Ambassador Jessica Robinson) is dedicated to preparing talent for mobility careers of the future. One of the ways that we are realizing this work is through the work of the Mobility On-Ramp Collaborative, sponsored by the State of Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity for Workforce Development. This group consists of both Employer Partners and Community Partners that are committed to seeing talent prepared to step into mobility jobs with the skills needed to be competitive and successful. Community partners include:

With the help of our partners, we are currently building a mobility learning credential supported by mobility courses that will train emerging workforce talent as well as up-skill incumbent workers. The courses that we provide will be tailored to prepare the trainee to learn information that makes their skillset more relevant to the needs of industry employers, increasing their potential for long term job security.

Mobility Careers

Job opportunities are growing at an exponential rate in the mobility industry. According to our research done in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group, self-driving and electric cars will help create more than 100,000 US mobility industry jobs in the coming decade, including up to 30,000 jobs for engineers with degrees in computer-related subjects. The demand could be as much as six times the expected number of such graduates, exposing the industry to a sizable talent shortage. This is what we coin as the mobility 6X gap.

Among our four employer partners alone, there are a documented 357 mobility jobs available right now, not including 16+ apprentice opportunities.

Some of the most in-demand mobility roles currently include:

  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Robotics Engineer
  • Field Autonomy Engineer
  • Software Engineer
  • Product Designer
  • Test Engineer
  • Director of Engineering
  • Full Stack Software Engineer
  • Full Stack Software Engineer (Senior Level)
  • Product Manager, Recruiter

Ways to Stay In the Loop

At the Michigan Mobility Institute, we have partnered with Forbes 30 Under 30 to provide a list of mobility resources called Drive America’s Future. This list includes articles, research, and links to meaningful information related to the mobility space. We encourage anyone looking to stay up to date and current on mobility to take advantage of this by visiting the Drive America’s Future resource on our website.

Beyond the Institute, there are a number of ways to stay engaged. Mobility: Decoding the Secret Sauce by Katelyn Davis is a brilliant podcast to listen to. Many of our partners have some great content out there regarding the industry as well. You can access their websites from as well. Also to note, there is a biweekly podcast called “Shift” presented by Automotive News. It can be accessed at, and is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play. An excellent book to check out that describes in depth how mobility is changing our lives is “Hop Skip Go” by John Rossant and Stephen Baker, where the work of the Institute and the Detroit Mobility Lab is also featured.


Earlier this year, we launched the Mobility Talks series in partnership with SAE Detroit Section. These have been a great way for us to stay connected with our audience in 2020, and to promote mobility leaders and careers through our work. We have a couple of important events coming up including a presentation on Internet, Digital Inclusion, and Mobility as well as Mobility and Cyber Securities. To learn more about these webinar events, visit where you can register for free on our events page.

Keep in touch with us!

Instagram: @michiganmobility

Facebook: @michiganmobility

Twitter: @michmobility



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