Fresh from Mackinac: a global perspective.

Author:Blouse, Richard E., Jr.
Position:FROM THE PRESIDENT - Mackinac Policy Conference - Conference news

As the dust settles from another Mackinac Policy Conference, it's a good time to take stock of where we are as a region and where we need to go. Many of you don't have to be reminded that a rapidly growing global marketplace has completely changed the rules of the game for business.


The Detroit Region is not only up against other metropolitan regions around the nation, but also with regions around the globe that are fiercely competing with Detroit for business investment and job creation. Those regions that work collaboratively are the ones that will prosper in the new global economy.

So, how is the Detroit Region doing in this new economic paradigm? Michigan has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 8.5 percent as of May, with the Detroit area at 9.3 percent. Home foreclosures are at an all-time high, and our college graduates are leaving Michigan by the droves. All is not lost, though. As a matter of fact, with these challenges come great opportunities.

Detroit remains the global brain center of the automotive industry. We have an unparalleled source of human capital and institutional knowledge in this field and the rest of the world recognizes this fact. Any foreign automaker that is serious about competing in this industry knows it must have a connection to Detroit.

This is a major selling point for the Chamber's Detroit Regional Economic Partnership when we travel around the globe seeking business investment for Southeast Michigan. We have visited India annually for the last three years and have already planned our fourth trip for early 2009. One of our key messages to the Indian market is they must be connected to Detroit if they want to be a player in the automotive industry. This message has resonated well and resulted in more investment and jobs here.

Detroit's research and development experience as the brain center of the global automotive industry makes us a strong contender to be a major center of the alternative energy industry. Our region has an abundance of talent, education institutions and businesses that are...

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