Great Lakes State makes its pitch for American workers to take advantage of Michigan’s high-tech jobs, quality of life and welcoming communities
LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and leaders with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) today unveiled “You Can in Michigan” — a new talent attraction marketing campaign launching nationally to fill open jobs, grow Michigan’s population and drive the state’s economic future forward.
Comprehensively, it’s the largest state talent attraction campaign and effort in the U.S., according to the MEDC.
“Michigan is a welcoming, inclusive state with strong career opportunities for workers and resources for cutting-edge, high-tech industries that will define the future,” Gov. Whitmer said during a virtual news conference this morning.
“Our growth depends on growing and attracting new talent to the state, which is why we’ve worked hard to invest in the kitchen-table issues and pass welcoming policies — so anyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan,” Whitmer said. “From our great quality of life, good cost of living, tuition-free pathways to technical and higher education, and extensive advanced manufacturing infrastructure to, as we like to say, ‘make stuff and grow stuff,’ we are excited to share our story and build a brighter future for our Michigan.”
The $20 million campaign showcases what makes life and careers in Michigan so attractive. It includes new television commercials, radio spots, print placements, social channels and themichiganlife.org, a new website for job seekers to explore the state, calculate their cost of living, and define and reach their career goals with the support of the Michigan Career Portal, a one-of-a-kind, AI-driven platform powered by FutureFit AI to help with career navigation, job/training/education guidance and placement.
Michigan is the first state to use FutureFit’s technology for economic development purposes that are tied to talent attraction and retention goals. FutureFit maintains the highest industry standards for protecting user data, and users have the ability to access, update and delete their data if they choose.
The campaign features living and working in several communities across Michigan from Detroit and Grand Rapids to Traverse City and Houghton. In addition to television, print and radio, campaign tactics include addressable and connected television, online video, paid social, Meta, TikTok and digital display, as well as billboards at Michigan colleges and universities. Target markets for the national campaign include key Great Lakes border states (Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio) and 12 key designated market areas across the U.S. including New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Austin and Raleigh-Durham.
“We want people to know they can have it all in Michigan: a rewarding career, a fulfilling life, economic opportunity, fundamental freedoms — all with proximity to 3,000 miles of freshwater coastline,” said Michelle Grinnell, MEDC senior vice president of marketing & communications. “Our people are our strongest asset, so we are proud to highlight their real stories in our great state and look forward to inspiring thousands more to make Michigan their home.”
Michigan’s unprecedented marketing effort doubles down on talent attraction in policy, programs and marketing, including the creation of the Growing Michigan Together Council and first-ever state chief growth officer role — never before seen in the U.S. at this scale. The effort will evolve for years to come with an initial investment estimated at $59 million in 2023, including $20 million budgeted for the marketing campaign over the first two years through 2023-24 that will cover production and creative development costs and an initial $3.5 million in advertising through the end of this year.
“We’re tasked with addressing the state’s declining population head-on by identifying ways to attract new residents and keep those who already call this great state home,” said Michigan Chief Growth Officer Hilary Doe. “My top priority is to showcase Michigan’s strengths and attributes as the best place to live, work, play, raise a family or start a business,” Doe added. “To welcome the next generation of Michiganders, we must be loud and proud of this dynamic state and all it has to offer. Compiling statewide resources in a central location reduces barriers for future residents and serves as an essential step to help grow the state’s population.”
The “You Can in Michigan” marketing campaign, from the people behind the award-winning Pure Michigan brand and Pure Opportunity business marketing campaign, leans on career opportunity, quality of life and affordability to intrigue and inspire job seekers and entrepreneurs to consider Michigan as the ultimate destination to work, start or grow a business and play and thrive.
“I was proud to help bring to life a campaign that really embodies why I chose to put down roots in Michigan,” said Nando Garza of Ypsilanti, the professional actor who serves as the narrator and star of the campaign’s television spots.
“I hope the campaign inspires people to dream big and realize they can truly have a life with everything Michigan has to offer,” Garza said. “For me, that’s being able pursue the professional aspirations that nurture my soul and savor the joy of watching my family thrive in an affordable, vibrant community.”
The campaign is fueled by the dedicated efforts of the MEDC’s Talent Solutions division, in coordination with multiple state agencies, to create career pathways and retain talent in Michigan. This innovative approach brings together employers, education systems and universities, along with the bold “You Can in Michigan” campaign, to attract and train workers for high-tech jobs in industries crucial to Michigan’s economy. The economic development agency’s momentum is highlighted alongside Gov. Whitmer’s holistic approach to economic development through the “Make it in Michigan” strategy, a bipartisan effort designed to grow talent, improve communities and secure project investments in the state.
“Through this groundbreaking national campaign, Team Michigan is sending a message to all job seekers and entrepreneurs, from every background, from all over the world that when it comes to having a high-tech career and an unmatched quality of life – you can in Michigan,” explained MEDC CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr.
“This campaign demonstrates our commitment to creating economic prosperity across both our beautiful peninsulas, by showcasing what it means to live and work in several communities across Michigan,” Messer said. “Together, we’re inviting the world to join us in continuing the momentum that is writing Michigan’s next best chapter in innovation that will ensure the future continues to be made in Michigan.”
MEDC’s talent marketing campaign builds on Michigan’s existing efforts to showcase its leading ecosystem for business growth and attract employers from all over the world. One aspect, MEDC’s unique Talent Action Team, specifically brings together global employers, education systems and universities around this strategic campaign to attract and train workers for jobs in industries like mobility, electric vehicles (EVs), semiconductors/chips, biosciences and clean energy. Since launching earlier this year, the effort has already filled more than 500 new jobs with major EV/mobility companies, inspired more than 300 local college students to pursue careers in EV/mobility and awarded scholarships to keep engineering talent in Michigan.
MEDC worked with the Lambert Gravity Global, Güd Marketing, DCI and FINN Partners agencies on the campaign assets. Work began on the “You Can in Michigan” campaign in fall 2022.
About Michigan Economic Development Corporation: The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with a focus on growing Michigan’s economy. One of the MEDC’s talent programs, the Talent Action Team, works in coordination with Michigan employers, education leaders and training providers to assist prospective job seekers in pursuing career goals, including but not limited to Michigan’s EV and semiconductor industries. For more information on the MEDC and its Talent Action Team, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. Follow along and join The Michigan Life conversation on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook, or find out how you can in Michigan at themichiganlife.org.