West Michigan CEO Council Explores Immigrant Inclusion with Global Detroit and Local Industry Leaders

Recently, the Grand Rapids Chamber and the West Michigan CEO Council explored and discussed the role of immigrant inclusion in workforce strategies to support our region’s businesses.

Dr. Theodore Jones, Senior Director at Global Detroit, presented Global Detroit’s vision for immigrant inclusion both in Michigan and nationally.

He emphasized the economic imperatives of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategies, highlighting how intentional immigrant inclusion is not just morally right but makes strong economic sense.

  • “By incorporating immigrants and their diverse talents into our community and economic development strategies, we ignite growth, revitalize communities, and ensure sustained prosperity throughout Michigan,” remarked Jones.

Dr. Jones highlighted Global Detroit’s Global Talent Retention Initiative, which has connected over 4000 international students with hundreds of employers across Michigan.

Michigan’s nearly 34,000 international students are an incredible talent pool. “Our recent job fair at University of Michigan Dearborn had nearly 350 participants, of which 80% held master’s degrees, the majority in STEM fields, representing a colossal talent reservoir available to Michigan employers,” Jones stated.

Geoffrey Miller, CEO of Grand Rapids Chair Company, co-led the presentation with Jones and shared insights into the pivotal role immigrants have played in his workforce, underlining their impact on the company’s fabric.

  • “Immigrants are a driving force for innovation and productivity, contributing significantly to the success of the Grand Rapids Chair Company,” remarked Miller.

In closing, Andy Johnston, Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Strategic Engagement for the Chamber, highlighted the Chamber’s commitment to raising awareness on immigrant inclusion. “The Grand Rapids Chamber and the West Michigan CEO Council are dedicated to elevating conversations that matter, and we believe immigrant inclusion is a must in this regard,” stated Johnston.


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