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Posted on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Rick Snyder's wish for the new year: more immigrant entrepreneurs for Michigan

By Nathan Bomey


Mahendra Ramsinghani, who was born in India and moved to Michigan in 1999 after working for a software startup in Singapore for a few years, now manages the Detroit-based First Step Fund. The fund has invested in 34 companies, including five or six founded by immigrants. Ramsinghani became a U.S. citizen in 2010 after racking up $10,000 to $15,000 in legal expenses and thousands of pages of documents since 1999. To get residency in Singapore, he filled out three pages.

Angela J. Cesere |

It’s time for Michigan to start importing talent.

That’s the philosophy underpinning Gov. Rick Snyder’s decision to push Washington to loosen federal laws to attract and retain more talented and educated immigrants.

The first-term Republican governor, a former Ann Arbor venture capitalist and computer executive, spelled out his proposals in November in a special message to the state Legislature on talent enhancement.

Snyder faces a steep obstacle in trying to convince Washington to welcome more talented immigrants and to stop forcing immigrant students who earn high-tech degrees from U.S. universities to leave the country after graduation.

But he said it’s necessary to meet the employment demands of Michigan’s existing companies and to foster entrepreneurship and job creation through startup innovation.

Despite a 9.8 percent unemployment rate, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. says the state has some 77,000 unfilled job openings, citing a list of job postings at, a state website. Many are in positions that present major recruiting challenges like software programming and specialized engineering jobs.

“We need to continue helping all Michiganders keep their skills up to date and get new ones, but we also need to look at making sure we have a pipeline of talent into Michigan from out of state and are being welcoming to people all around the country and the world to make sure our employers have access to the best and the brightest,” said Amy Cell, MEDC's senior vice president of talent enhancement.

“If they can’t find it here, they will go elsewhere,” Cell said of expanding companies.

Snyder views high-tech immigration as a way to fill some of Michigan’s talent gaps.


Gov. Rick Snyder first raised immigration as an issue during his State of the State address in January.

Melanie Maxwell |

Immigrants with high-tech skills “like being here, they’re being successful here, we should keep them here,” Snyder said. “They’re creating companies and they’re going to create jobs."

The idea that federal law should be overhauled to welcome more immigrant entrepreneurs, investors and high-tech grads has some bipartisan support in Washington.

For example, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., reintroduced the Startup Visa Act of 2011 in March. The bill would create new residency options for immigrants who have secured investments to fund the growth of U.S.-based ventures.

Welcoming more educated immigrants with high-tech skills “would be very helpful especially in this town, where you do have a lot of people graduating and high-tech companies,” said Jason Eyster, an associate professor and director of Cooley Law School’s new Immigrant rights and Civil Advocacy Clinic in Ann Arbor.

“Even though there might be many unemployed accountants or many unemployed engineers, there are those individuals that have specific skills that are in demand and positions that can’t be filled,” Eyster said.

Still, skeptics argue that the country should focus on retraining and educating U.S. citizens instead of inviting foreigners to take jobs.

“I’m very leery of my governor when he says he wants high-tech immigration because I’m very much negatively affected by low-tech immigration,” said Dennis Moore, an underemployed dry wall contractor and director of the Willow Run Tea Party Caucus.

But Snyder says talented immigrants create jobs in Michigan, pointing to legendary Michigan entrepreneurs like Herbert Henry Dow, founder of Dow Chemical Co.

Immigrants creating jobs in Michigan

Among the governor’s supporters on immigration reform is Ann Arbor resident Mahendra Ramsinghani, who manages Detroit-based venture capital firm First Step Fund, which has invested in 34 companies. At least five of those were founded by immigrants.

Ramsinghani, an India native who moved to the U.S. in 1999, has spent the last 12 years in various roles involved in economic development, starting companies and investing in new Michigan businesses.

In other words, he’s a reflection of the type of immigrant entrepreneur that Snyder wants to attract to Michigan.

Ramsinghani — who almost got deported a few years ago “due to a completely random glitch” in Washington — became a U.S. citizen along with his wife in July 2010. They spent between $10,000 and $15,000 in legal expenses and piled up thousands of pages of documents throughout the process.

Immediately before moving to Michigan in March 1999, Ramsinghani worked for 2.5 years for a software startup in Singapore. It took him 90 days to secure residency there.

“I had like three sheets of paper I needed to fill,” Ramsinghani said.

Nonetheless, Ramsinghani never questioned his reasons for coming to America.

“The quality of life was a primary driver. But if you look at the quality of life in Singapore, it is equally good,” he said. “The quality of people, the accepting nature of society is what makes America so beautiful. Entrepreneurs are expected, diversity is enjoyed and appreciated.”

An appreciation for the role of immigration in creating jobs is why Snyder said he’s willing to accept “some controversy” while he lobbies Michigan’s Congressional delegation to take up the issue.

Immigrant entrepreneurs started 25.3 percent of U.S. engineering and technology companies from 1997 to 2007, according to a widely cited report by Duke University researchers. Those companies had an estimated $52 billion in sales and nearly 450,000 employees in 2005.

Immigrants made up 12.2 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2000 but were 30 percent more likely to start a company than non-immigrants, according to a 2008 study distributed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. That study found that immigrant-owned businesses generated about $67 billion of the $577 billion in U.S. business income in 2000.

Immigrant business owners in Michigan generated $1.475 billion in business income, accounting for 8.4 percent of the state's total, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. That's higher than surrounding states like Indiana (4.5 percent) and Ohio (5.5 percent) but lower than the national average (11.6 percent) and far below the national leader (California at 22.7 percent).

To boost Michigan’s share of immigrant entrepreneurship, Snyder wants:

--The federal government to lift its cap on H1-B visas for foreign immigrants who earn a master's degree from a U.S. university. Snyder called the caps "arbitrary" and said they "fail to recognize the harm done to local economies when states are forced to send away talent they have spent years developing."

-- Congress to create a way for foreign students who earn graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) to earn an "education green card" that would allow for permanent residency in the U.S.

--The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center program to be made permanent and amended so that an immigrant could stay in the U.S. by investing $500,000 in a startup and creating at least five jobs here.

What kind of jobs are immigrants creating?

Vicky Farah, a longtime immigration attorney in Ann Arbor whose clients include local tech companies and the University of Michigan, said she likes the idea of more immigrant entrepreneurs — but she questioned whether Snyder’s proposals would foster the creation of high-tech companies.

“The people who now want to use this immigration visa, they’re like mom and pops who want to open a restaurant,” Farah said. “I don’t know if that’s going to give him the businesses he’s contemplating.”

Many foreign students, in particular, simply want a job in the U.S. after graduating — not to form a company, Farah said.

“I think he’s really focused on the entrepreneurial bent of this, but they are fewer and farther between,” Farah said. “Your average foreign student is truly looking for a job.”

Farah said one of the biggest problems with the nation’s immigration process is that it benefits major companies, which can afford to pay the legal costs to sponsor a prospective immigrant hire and help them navigate the system. They simply have to declare that they first searched the country and couldn’t find the talent they needed, then sponsor the immigrant for an H1-B visa.

Small companies can do the same thing, but it’s usually too expensive, said Bhushan Kulkarni, CEO of Ann Arbor-based software startup InfoReady Corp., which has about 14 employees.

Kulkarni, an India native who immigrated to the U.S. in 1985 to work for Ford Motor Co., said he only hires immigrants if he can’t find the specialized talent he’s looking for in the U.S. He also founded Ann Arbor-based information technology consultancy GDI Infotech, which has 120 employees nationally.

“It just takes way too long and way too expensive to do that,” he said. “But once your back is against the wall because you just can’t find the resources, we end up doing that.”

Snyder has directed the MEDC to pursue various initiatives designed to create a more welcoming environment for legal immigrant entrepreneurs.

That doesn’t sit well with Moore, the Willow Run Tea Party Caucus leader, who said “high-tech immigration” is “code word for China.”

“And I’m very much opposed to Chinese immigration,” he said. “It’s not the Chinese people. It’s China who does not care for America. They are very antagonistic toward us. I don’t trust their mindset toward America. I don’t want to give them things we can never give back.”

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

First: I went to the website that is listed. I typed "Software developer", "software engineer", and "programmer" into the Search box and got two results for each. Then I went to the Job Seekers page, and typed those same phrases into the search box, and got the same result. Do employers on this site know that the search feature basically doesn't work? I've been to a number of job boards and classified web sites and have never had a problem typing simple phrases like those and getting page after page of results. Second: Most software development companies that are looking for help are looking for very specific people with very exact skills to match their current needs. Companies no longer hire people who have similar experience to what they need - they need someone with experience in language X, web server Y, and tools A, B, and C. If you don't have those, don't bother applying. Typically, companies either want someone with 5 years experience out of college so they don't have to pay them much, or they want someone with 20 years of experience who is willing to work for 2/3 the pay they should be offering. Then those companies go to the governor and say "We can't find anyone! Increase H1-B visas!" If companies had some imagination and would stop looking for perfect matches so the officers can hit their bonuses this quarter, we would have something to work with.


Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 8:50 a.m.

By all means, lets import more talented foreigners who will further degrade the opportunities for GRADUATES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN and other colleges. My daughter has two degrees - in the sciences - from U of M. Where has she been since 2000? In &^$#@%^&! California where there WERE jobs for Michigan grads. Now, after a few years under a Republican governor: California is "downsizing" its job pool to avoid government meltdown. She never has been able to move back to Ann Arbor, where she grew up thinking she'd have a great career and raise a family. Snyder is a liar: either that or he's completely delusional. Or - he is just another Republican puppet of corporate rulers. Corporate exodus because of lack of talent? Are you kidding me? We can't hold onto the talent that was born and raised here! What is this "threat" of corporate exodus - if you don't give us what we want, we'll leave you in economic ruin. That's called extortion. Warning to Gov. Snyder and the Republican Mafia in Lansing: Some dare call this treason. Treason, the last time I checked, is a capital crime under federal law. Sometime soon, I think, the public - including the citizens in other states - are going to demand an end to this cycle of extortion and treason. Rick Snyder and his ilk may end up having to move to get jobs: somewhere far, far away. And they won't be taking their stolen wealth with them.


Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

I'm not sure what the purpose of comparing the United States immigration policy to Singapore's is serving. Is it to make the U.S. look bad for having a proper vetting process? I would suggest even more stringent investigations rather depending country of origin. Remember the Trojan horse strategy.

Boardwalk Beachcats

Sun, Jan 1, 2012 : 8:16 a.m.

Wow. College graduates are fleeing the state as fast as they can grab their diplomas and wave goodbye to mom and dad, but now we need to "import talent?" Just wow. Ricky. Ricky is a RINO, and that is what happens when you have an open primary. My dem friends were all LOL when they voted for him in the primary. They thought it was great they could vote for an (alleged) "R" even though they are clearly registered as "D"'s. Sadly enough, because he is there in that chair, with the "R" next to his name, making a laughing stock of the R party, it will be several years before we'll even have a chance to elect anyone that is a real true conservative into the office of Governor of Michigan. I'm about ready to add my hat to the ring of emigrants, and flee to a state where they have real leadership. And the jobs to go with it. Take a look just a wee bit to the west of us, there's this guy named Walker over there, who has successfully taken charge and is adding jobs. Or gaze on down south to TX, where every business and industry has a"Help Wanted" sign in the windows. I'm not saying I wanted a governor who's a rocket scientist-- Walker actually used to work for the Red Cross and I don't think it had anything to do with designing rockets, but he certainly must know something about job creation that our Ricky just can't seem to grasp.

Silly Sally

Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.

Governor Snyder's idea makes sense for a small, narrow range of graduates from masters and PhD programs in a narrow range. Unfortunately, I fear that this can turn into a low cost employee source for his big business cronies who want $25 per hour engineers and such. While some of these firms say that they cannot find people, they have such a narrow job description that they rarely do. Smaller firms, with much less rigid requirements, find good people with good basic skills and education and they grow into jobs. While immigrants have made great contributions to this nation, it is a myth that it was built by immigrants, ignoring the far larger contributions of those who were born here. America certainly should pick and choose who it wants as immigrants instead of allowing an uncontrolled southern border. Losing skilled, educated immigrants in selected high tech fields and keeping criminals and the unskilled, and duplicating Mexican society in our border regions is foolish.


Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

I am the child of a poor immigrant who came here and busted her butt I worked my butt off and i pay more in taxes than i will ever get back The toxic culture of entitlement is ruining michigan America is the greatest country in the world, where a poor immigrant child can pull himself up by his bootstraps and succeed U


Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 5:33 a.m.

So let me get this straight. We have the highest unemployment rate ever. The governor's plan is not to help people here get jobs, but import people to take the few existing jobs. Nice.


Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 3:03 a.m.

This article makes me want to gag. What a sad commentary on our public schools that we can't educate our kids in high-tech areas so they can start businesses here. Why do we have to import people for this? Pathetic.

Monica R-W

Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 1:19 a.m.

And this is news? Interesting....

Chase Ingersoll

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

Jennifer Granholm was an immigrant to the United States, who did not receive citizen ship until a mere 10 years before being appointed an assistant U.S. Attorney. Yet, she managed to be elected attorney general a mere four years after that, and then to the governorship, without having any private sector "career" experience much less any involvement in creating a single private sector job. To follow what many of you are saying, we should then grant Visas/Citizenship to all Harvard educated lawyers who want to go to work for the government, but to heck with U of M and Wayne State engineers who might actually produce something that would be exported and improve our trade imbalance, and help pay for the salaries of all of the government lawyers. Chase Ingersoll


Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 6:12 a.m.

What does a Canadian who wanted to be in the movies moving to the United States at the age four before NAFTA was passed, have to do with importing adult educated engineers from another Country? Hint. Nothing. To the extent that there is a shortage of engineers in the US, it is because American Universities are selecting to educate foreigners who have to pay more in tuition than Americans. So here is an idea. If there really is a shortage of engineers, stop preferring foreign students over american students. Treat any supposed engineering shortage like Universities treated the supposed shortage of nurses. Namely, the Universities ramped up education programs to quickly train nurses. The fact that Universities are not ramping up such programs, makes you wonder. Moreover, retrain American engineers who currently are unemployed because their companies got out sourced or they worked in an industry that is hurting (e.g. the automotive industry). I know plenty of engineers looking for work. Giving high paying valuable jobs to foreigners when Americans are 1) more than capable, and 2) in need is outlandish.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

The Governerd was a big fan of outsourcing when he ran Gateway Computers, and it nearly ran them into the ground. Can't wait to see how this pans out...


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

No, he wasn't, his successor was. But that didn't stop the Michigan Democratic Party from lying about it.

The Black Stallion3

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

This sounds more like a Democratic plan to me.

David Paris

Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

You mean in the way that it seems to kick the down-trodden in the teeth? Or maybe in the way that its greatest beneficiaries will be the corporations, not the citizenry? Rick is No Democrat, but apparently not all Republicans are in complete agreement with "the nerd".


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 6:50 p.m.

It angers me that a senior's pension will now be taxed to create incentives for foreign immigrant businessmen, and already-rich businessmen, to possibly make Michigan an attractive home for only the wealthy & greedy. To Hell with those who worked here their entire lives thinking they could count on a fixed retirement income: Learn to live on even less Grandma & Grandpa . . .

Jeff Renner

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 6:12 p.m.

Herbert Henry Dow hardly counts as an immigrant. According to Wikipedia, he was born in Ontario to American parents, and the family returned to the US when he was six months old. He lived in Connecticut until he was 12, when they moved to Cleveland, where he graduated from high school and went to college. After two years, he founded Dow Chemical Co. in Midland. Perhaps the guv meant that Dow was an immigrant from Ohio.

David Paris

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

Thanks for that update, Mr Renner after Ricks lame attempt to make us feel all warm and cozy about his ridiculous plan... well done!

Jeff Renner

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 6:58 p.m.

It was actually when Dow was six weeks old that they returned to the US, not six months as I wrote.

Mr. Ed

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

This is Snyder's over all plan. Drive out the poor, retired, disable, school teachers and GLB and replace them with immigrants.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 10:40 p.m.

you forgot - shake them down for all their worth then hit the eject button.

Gary Paelicke

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

Agree 100% with Ron Granger. This is typical of the easy ways out chosen by government and business leaders in the USA. Instead of trying to teach our citizens the current, needed valuable skills, and develop entrepreneurial mindset within our own culture, let's just let them come in from elsewhere. It is also an indictment of our entire mindless common culture. As long as we and our children are money spending, entertainment consuming citizens, US business doesn't care if we waste our time absorbing trash and playing games, instead of bettering ourselves. Focus on the trivial is what really hurts us as leadership and people in the USA and we need to realize it.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

If an immigrant wants to 'stay' in the state, they will find a way to 'stay' such as Mahendra. Why not focus on who is here first. Our universities turn out amazing graduates in the engineering/tech field. Why not fix our state so they can 'stay'.

hut hut

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

How about investing in education, including how to start a business right here in Michigan. Every other advanced nation in the world spends far more on educating their people for the jobs of the future that business and entrepreneurs will need. Here in the US we want to cut education and get rid of a coordinated national educational strategy. Instead it's a race to the bottom, pitting each state against their neighbors to see how much they can cut. Cuts in education become tax breaks and subsidies for business when in fact business is telling us to invest more in education to fill the jobs that they have and the jobs they will need for future growth. When you pay a teacher, you're investing in the future.

Monica R-W

Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 1:20 a.m.

Make total sense to me but to Gov. Snyder, the problems can be solved by investing in more immigrants instead of Michiganders, you know.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

hut hut - You are wrong. America spends more on education and gets less in student achievement than most other "advanced" nations. See the last few PISA and TIMSS studies for documentation. Michigan is still in the top quarter of US state expenditures per pupil; we used to be in the top 10%, but the past 10 years of falling employment, property values and industrial output have forced us to hold steady or cut back slightly while other states increased their expenditures. We haven't ever had a "co-ordinated national education strategy" to get rid of. The Dept of Ed is on the verge of creating and implementing so-called "Common Core" standards in 2012, which will be the closest the US has ever come to a national strategy. You must be a social studies teacher, or one of the un-critical thinkers who believe what the social studies curriculum in that pseudo-academic discipline have been teaching.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

When you pay a teacher's pension, you're investing in the past.

hut hut

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4 p.m.

How about investing in our state and the entrepreneurs who are already here?

Dug Song

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

&quot;High-tech immigration&quot; is such a stupid term. &quot;Startup Visa&quot;, however, is not. The idea is simply this - we spend a lot of time and effort educating the world's smartest students - and send them packing when they graduate. Many of them actually want to stay - and allowing those that will take the risk to start a company themselves, ultimately benefiting many more than just themselves, should be allowed to do so. It's a harsh reality, but yes - other countries do a much better job of educating their K-12 students in math, science, engineering, and technology. You see the results in any US college graduate program, with the number of foreign students represented at the highest levels of achievement. Over half of all tech companies in Silicon Valley were started by people who weren't born here. There are many local examples as well. Consider this: in a few years, 90% of all the world's engineers will be in Asia. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> (jump to 20:40) Why our educational system fails us so badly in this regard is another topic entirely, but one that must be addressed. And it isn't about money - we spend more per student than most countries do.


Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Yes, but the information you provide doesn't tell the whole story. It is a fact that most American Universities like U of M discriminate against Americans. These Universities give up valuable space to foreign students because the foreign students have to pay a lot more for tuition. So, if such Universities actually took the time to educate ready willing and able Americans (or otherwise known as the tax payers who contribute a lot of money for such Universities), we'd have more American engineering talent. Moreover, some countries like China have a much less rigorous education program requirement to obtain an engineering degree. In other words, it is harder to get an engineering degree in the US than in Asian Countries. Steve Jobs pointed this out to President Obama at the technology summit the President hosted. It is true. In addition, Asian Counties also have more engineers because in the name of so called free trade agreements we shipped our manufacturing economy overseas. Engineers are hired to watch over all those fancy factories that took the place of the ones in our own Country. To facilitate that need, the education system in those places was set up for the rapid need to push out engineers. Finally, Universities generally rank students based on performance on tests. Asian societies stress that method. It, however, is a fallacy that excelling in math and science are the only factors that go into being great engineers. Many great inventors such as Thomas Edison never set foot in a class room. Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates are all college drop outs.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 10:11 p.m.

we also have different issues than most countries do!It takes money to compete and things must be updated and people trained to teach /learn in a new way.

Chase Ingersoll

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 10:08 p.m.

Dug: Glad to know that someone like yourself is keeping an eye on this topic and is contributing links to relevant information. Chase Ingersoll


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:29 p.m.

So if I understand... Illegal Mexican immigrants with several kids each in Ann Arbor government schools at $10K+ per year per child: good, and Republicans are racists for wanting to kick them out. Legal Asian immigrants who are net tax payers and would otherwise work for foreign competitors: bad, and Republicans are heartless for not kicking them out after graduation. I can't imagine why state finances are such a mess.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

I agree with Snyder's wish list EXCEPT removing the cap on H1-B visas. That program has done more to destroy good jobs in STEM fields an anything else the government has done in the last 2 decades. H1-B visa holders are &quot;indentured&quot; workers. They can't legally leave their employer if mistreated, can't legally start their own companies, can't take a better job if they find one. Employers who get H1-B's use them to systematically drive down the wages of the rest of their staff. Between H1-Bs and outsourcing, wages for engineers and computer programmers / developers have been stagnant across the country, even in the face of very high demand. I'm all for allowing foreign grads from our colleges and universities to stay here and apply for jobs. Or to start businesses of their own. But let's not import even more &quot;graduates&quot; from foreign schools of questionable quality who will work for wages 30-40% lower than our local grads can afford to accept and still pay their student loans.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

I love the New GOP in Michigan. Raises taxes reduces freedom of choice of adults now wants to increase immigration! flip flop.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

The GOP must raise these issues quanitatively within the media because they have no substantive plan for the public welfare as a whole, as otherwise outlined in the federal constitution.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

We don't need more foreign entrepreneurs, we need more Michigan entrepreneurs! How about changing our educational system to train and encourage more Michigan residents to own their own business instead of working for someone else? Why aren't business and legal skills a core requirement of each high school in Michigan? Why do we ask our students to do volunteer work for credit (often required to graduate) but starting at least one business before graduating is not a requirement? Our schools are designed to train workers for our factories and businesses. They are not designed to train entrepreneurs. That is the problem. We are a hierarchical society of owners and workers. Thus the average American worker leaves the school system thinking he/she has to &quot;get a job&quot; and work for someone else. That is why all politicians talk about the need for &quot;jobs&quot; not the need for Americans to become self sufficient and flourish.

Dug Song

Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 4:26 a.m.

At least locally, UM is doing a decent job of promoting entrepreneurship with programs across both engineering and business schools, and ambitious student entrepreneurship initiatives (from the TechArb incubator, to the M-Powered entrepreneurship club, etc.). But beyond training and education, I think it's mostly an issue of grassroots culture. In Silicon Valley, everyone sees potential and opportunity in each other, and does their best to help and encourage each other - even when there's no clear self-interest to do so. It's part of the &quot;startup karma&quot; in the Valley, and the result of so much success there (it really does come back around). Anybody looking to start a tech company is invited to check out the <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> meetup, <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> , or any other community where you'll find support from like-minded peers...


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

Out of all the opposition to Snyder ideas found on this board, this is the most, if not the only, sensible and reasonable one. thank you.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

More immigrant entrepreneurs for Michigan... because the local population lacks vision and ability.

Basic Bob

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

Ask their parents and role models why high tech manufacturing jobs are so bad here but OK in California or New Jersey.

hut hut

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

and why is that?


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

So, you can increase the tax base by keeping the population at a sustainable level and paying everyone a living wage, OR rabidly increase the population and pay everyone minimum wage. Increasing the population is always a short sited solution, as there are only so many necessary jobs a community really needs, yet the demand on the pubic services goes up (housing, roads, water, etc).

kindred spirit

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 11:10 p.m.

Exactly. When the middle class is gone, we all will be working in the 5%'s homes opening the door. That's all that will be leftr.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

The focus should be on educating MICHIGAN'S students and work force in order to fill these positions. Cutting school funding, and at the same time courting immigrant labor, shows MI residents where his true priorities lie. It is all about saving money, to the ultimate detriment of Michigan residents.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

Our governor clearly speaks for his class. It is cheaper to import educated &quot;entrepreneurs&quot; than it is to tax the capitalist class in order to pay for the skilled workers corporations need to thrive. There is plenty of room for immigrants in Michigan but while economically rational it is morally indefensible to consign Michigan's children to poor schools in order to save money for the 1%.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

We wouldn't need &quot;immigrant entrepreneurs&quot; if we would stop underfunding our public education system and replacing it with for-profit schools that care more about their income than the achievement of their students. But Snyder cares more about making his buddies a few bucks than actually helping the state of Michigan. He uses his position as nothing more than a tool to earn him money.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.

I went to the Job Portal linked to this article. Here are the first ten jobs posted: Resident Care Staff - Homestead - Westland Administrative Assistant - Senior Service America, Inc. - Ann Arbor J2EE Architect - ForeSee - Ann Arbor Mechanical Engineer - Amigo Mobility International, Inc. - Bridgeport, MI Production Manager - Amigo Mobility International, Inc. - Bridgeport, MI Customer Service Technician - Amigo Mobility International, Inc. - Bridgeport, MI Service Technician - Amigo Mobility International, Inc. - Wixom, MI Customer Service Business Unit Manager - Amigo Mobility International, Inc. - Bridgeport Mechanical Engineer - Manpower, Inc. of SE Michigan - Monroe, MI Outside Sales Representative - Amigo Mobility International, Inc. - Bridgeport, MI It would appear as though only three or four of these are entry level positions. Not only are these companies looking for educated applicants, they are also looking for experienced applicants. Ones that will come in and help lower cost wouldn't hurt either. Am I the only one who is frustrated that the recall didn't go through, but the legalization of pot could be on the next ballot?

hut hut

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:14 p.m.

Legalizing hemp could be a boon for Michigan agriculture. We currently import the majority of hemp used in the US from Canada. Hemp also produces a high quality oil from the seed that can be used for biodiesel fuel. It can also replace expensive and polluting paper pulp with an easily grown renewable crop requiring less water and less land than trees. There are many more reasons to legalize marijuana and hemp than for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Stan Hyne

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

Michigan seems to have trouble getting its students to attend class often enough to graduate from high school. It seems a waste to have any person graduate from our colleges and then send them out of the country to compete with the US. We would seem to be better served to have the best and brightest in our country working to benefit us instead of going somewhere else to compete with this country.

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:29 p.m.

My Michigan born son, grandson and son-in-law and daughter are in Arizona, Minnesota, and Virginia where companies were happy to have their Michigan university-educated skills - there were no jobs here. And we are worried that immigrants might leave!!!


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

Please. Unless you are a native indian you are of immigrant stock. Frankly, look around and see who iis taking advantage of the work that needs to be done - mostly immigrants. Low tech harmed by high tech? Come on what spends money employing / creating the need for low tech - people who create jobs in this case it's about a high tech person. What is it about Americans that makes them want to hold on to status quo? Not enough savings? Financially over-leveraged? The 'immigrant' starts fresh? Frankly immigrants have probably kept this country going since it's founding. The issue here is un-necessary difficulty in becoming a citizen. Slowing or stopping those who could start a business and employ more people high tech or low tech. The Governor is helping Michigan citizens by bringing over more of our relatives (immigrants). Vetoing the 'Gay' legislation is politics when you view the State as a whole. I don't agree with the legislation; but I only have to look at the make up of the State legislature to know why he didn't veto it. By the way there are Americans who are making a pretty decent living by taking advantage of some low tech opportunities. Those are available to you too.

Silly Sally

Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

Sorry Gordon, I'm neither descended from immigrants or one myself. I'm a descendant of American colonist stock, the people who founded this great nation, turning it from a primitive, unsettled land into this modern nation with the best democracy in the world. These immigrants are not my relatives, nor the relatives of most Americans. While immigrants have made great contributions to this nation, it is a myth that it was built by immigrants, ignoring the far larger contributions of those who were born here. Governor Snyder's idea makes sense for a small, narrow range of graduates from masters and PhD programs in a narrow range. Unfortunately, I fear that this can turn into a low cost employee source for his big business cronies who want $25 per hour engineers and such. While some of these firms say that they cannot find people, they have such a narrow job description that they rarely do. Smaller firms, with much less rigid requirements, find good people with good basic skills and education and they grow into jobs.

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

Did he say it in English or Chinese?

Fire Rick

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:13 p.m.

Governor Snyder should be concerned about a million other things before importing talent to Michigan. To name a few: 1) Retaining the talent that we already have in Michigan that he and Republican lawmakers seem intent on driving out of the state. 2) Supporting an education system for Michigan children (with funding) so we can develop talent and educate our future workforce. 3) Creating jobs so we would actually have a need to import talent. You can import all the people you want, but with the unemployment rate hovering around 10%, we have no need for more workers. The list goes on ...

Basic Bob

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 5:18 p.m.

All the things Jennifer Granholm failed at. She should have been fired.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:09 p.m.

It is amazing how the rabid xenophobia that is rampant in our society prevents people from seeing how this initiative would benefit Michigan workers and our state. This is not about solving &quot;their&quot;problems, this is about solving Michigan's problems. While I disagree with Snyder on many issues, this is one that is easy to support. Michigan needs investment, jobs, and new companies, and there are foreign individuals and companies willing to provide us with that. There is no reason to oppose inviting foreign investors to Michigan who will create new companies, inject millions into our local economy, and hire thousands of Michigan workers. Thank you Snyder for trying to bring new investors, capital, and jobs into our state.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

Just this question: Are all immigrant workers smarter than Michigan people?

Wolf's Bane

Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

I would say not smarter, but in it for the long game. Whereas Michigan workers want everything immediately and don't bother investing in the most important person of all, themselves.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:25 p.m.

If they want to move TO Michigan, they can't be too bright.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

Disgusting. We should be keeping our Michiganders who are leaving the state because they can't find jobs. There is a fine talent of educated, willing individuals willing to work along with those with other skills. To out source our jobs is just what I said in the beginning -- disgusting.


Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 1:44 p.m.

Withreason -- maybe, but some how I don't believe it. Thank you for your comment though.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

This is not about ignoring Michigan workers. it is actually the opposite. This will bring investors who will create companies that will hire the fine, talented, Michigan workers we all love.

5c0++ H4d13y

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Oh and for those that still don't get it ... You can't grow a tax base with declining population. Simply retaining people already here is not enough. Duh.

Glen S.

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

I welcome talented, educated immigrants (and citizens of other U.S. states) who wish to invest in Michigan's economy. On the other hand I have to ask: Why aren't we doing more to make sure that more of our own, native Michigan residents receive the education and training necessary to be successful here? Likewise, why aren't we doing more to make Michigan a more appealing place to live and work for those Michigan residents who DO have the skills and resources to be &quot;job creators?&quot; Ongoing budget cuts are dismantling our system of public (K-12) education, and a decades-long disinvestment in public higher education, public transit, cities, infrastructure, etc., have all made Michigan a place where many young people -- as soon as they graduate -- feel their only option is to leave Michigan to find opportunities in other states and cities. So, recruiting immigrant investors if a fine idea -- but only if we also take steps to create more opportunities (and a more desirable state) for our own residents, and their children.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

After Eight Years of Governor Granholm, this may not be great but its a lot better than the ideas she and her party put forth!


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:05 p.m.

Worse than getting Toyota to build a Tech Center here? Worse than any of the unbalanced budgets brought to her by the GOP controlled MI congress?


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

What about retraining and helping the MI residents that are already here? Restoring funds to education to better prepare youngsters for these high paying jobs that will be available.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

Great sentiment (and I agree to a point) but there are problems with that idea and the biggest one is why should we use our tax dollars to train other states' workers? There is a dearth of high tech jobs here. Most good paying jobs here are in sales (no education required) and medicine, a field that itself needs massive reform due to becoming unaffordable to most. It really doesn't make too much sense to dump $$$ into education just to see the talent leave. As for retraining the current workforce for jobs that ARE here, that would be money well spent IF attitudes change as well (where I work, UAW janitors get $36/hr for overtime, degreed engineers get $25/hr for overtime -- for the life of me, they should fire the janitors and have the engineers empty the trash cans and clean the toilets) -- unskilled labor is SO used to being grossly overpaid here.

5c0++ H4d13y

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

Are you people still ignorant of the fact that Michigan is the ONLY state in the US to lose population in the last census? If smart people want to come in, create businesses and pay taxes should we turn a cold shoulder to them or put out the welcome mat?

David Paris

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 10 p.m.

You mean, as opposed to giving life-long residents, or college graduates a reason to stay?


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

xenophobia makes people stupid. or the other way around. The reality is that people don't understand how this will benefit them. For many hearing the word &quot;alien&quot; or 'foreign&quot; is enough to elicit an immediate rejection of any proposal, even when the proposal would improve the quality of their lives.

E. Crowe

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

High-tech, skilled immigrants to compete with high-tech, skilled US Citizens so Rick and friends need not pay the traditional levels of compensation these positions demand. The 77,000 unfilled jobs include the $30,000/year engineering jobs and the $8.50/hour technician positions... There are people here to do these jobs, but not for free.

Wolf's Bane

Sat, Dec 31, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

Yeah.. really. These newly minted graduates have NO relevant experience nor any real hands-on training. These are just facts.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

Really? Really? You can't hire grads from UM, EMU, MSU, CMU, Wayne St. etc.? Please.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

No, we don't have the skilled people needed to do these jobs. If we did, my company, as an example, wouldn't have 15% immigrants. By the way, these folks are NOT cheap. Michigan's population needs to get school'ed in more ways than one!

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

You can be an immigrant--just don't be GAY. The Governor has sent a very clear message on that with his gutless refusal to veto the domestic partnership benefits bill. Gutless is too diplomatic of a word for his lack of leadership. But if you are heterosexual and have money--welcome.

Basic Bob

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 5:08 p.m.

Gay entrepreneurs are welcome to stay and create jobs. But like all other entrepreneurs, they will need to buy their own insurance for their officers and employees. I wish them the greatest success.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

My wish.... Repeal the new tax on pensions.!!!!! Helloooooo. I'm broke... no jobs ... and now my pension is being taxed.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

At least you have a pension.

Ron Granger

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

&quot;The federal government to lift its cap on H1-B visas&quot; Snyder - same old sellout to business at the expense of American workers who pay the taxes that fund this country.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 11:43 a.m.

the new Governator

David Paris

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 11:37 a.m.

This is a problem that really does not need to be addressed. I can't think of a single Michigan resident that is suffering from this issue, but according to The Detroit News our state is suffering from high tuition costs, more so than most states. I think Rick needs to reassess the states needs, and addressing unemployment FROM THIS ANGLE is not one of them.

Lac Court Orilles

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 11:25 a.m.

How can anyone trust &quot;our&quot; Governor. Why isn't he focused on helping his own citizens?

hut hut

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

SmartLogic Please answer the last part of Lac Court question. It's a simple question and deserving of an answer without making a hot button wedge political issue from a question a lot of people are asking.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

Remember he ran Gateway? He's focusing on out-sourcing all the citizens.

Smart Logic

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

You can't have it both ways. Liberals are always screaming about Conservative immigration policies like those in Arizona, for instance. Now a Conservative expresses a pro-immigration stance, and people are opposed to that too. Good grief.