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The Michigan Talent Agenda is a statewide platform that seeks to drive public policy outcomes to develop, attract, and retain the highly-talented, highly-educated citizenry that Michigan needs to succeed in today’s knowledge economy. This requires a commitment to building and investing in the sorts of communities that mobile talent values.


We can’t cut our way to prosperity!



Talented people come from a variety of backgrounds and seek out communities that are welcoming. Successful communities have high levels of diversity in terms of race, age, gender, nation of origin, sexual orientation and gender identity. We must continue to make Ann Arbor the most welcoming community in Michigan.


Attracting the high-talent, highly-educated workers that Michigan needs to succeed in today’s knowledge economy requires a commitment to building and investing in the sorts of communities that these workers value. While every community is different, those that attract and retain these workers increasingly share a few common attributes:

Education: Talent will flock to communities that can provide their children with a education – from preschool to PhD programs – that will prepare them for the increasingly competitive job market of the future. Additionally, colleges and universities serve as anchor institutions for vibrant communities and create unique artistic, cultural, entertainment, recreational, and entrepreneurial opportunities that are essential to developing, retaining, and attracting talent.


Transit: Talented individuals seek to locate in areas that provide various modes of transportation and ease of access to the places that they live, work, and play – especially without having to rely on a car. Transit options such as light rail, bus rapid transit, subways, car sharing etc... spark commercial and residential development.

Physical Design and Walkability: Today’s well-educated professionals want to live in neighborhoods with walkable downtowns with a bevy of cultural and entertainment opportunities readily accessible via a multi-modal mass transportation system.

Diversity and Equality: Talent comes from a variety of backgrounds, and high-talent communities show high levels of diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, occupation, and sexual orientation, identity, and expression. Moreover, talented individuals seek out communities that are welcoming to a highly diverse citizenry.

Cultural Economic Development: Communities that excel in attracting and retaining knowledge-economy workers tend to have abundant arts and cultural opportunities. In addition to serving as a magnet for talent, a thriving cultural sector provides economic benefits such as job creation, a stronger tax base, tourism, and neighborhood and downtown revitalization.

Entrepreneurship: For too long, economic development in Michigan has focused almost exclusively on large-scale manufacturing and big box retail at the expense of the smaller, nimbler, more entrepreneurial outfits that create sustainable economies in the 21st century. Investing in small businesses and entrepreneurs strengthens both local economies and local communities.

To read the Michigan Talent Agenda pledge, and sign on to do your part, click here to see What We Believe.

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