Michigan Hopes to Reverse Florida Migration

Susan Hall
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When I interviewed Deborah Vazquez, CEO of Boca Raton, Fla., IT staffing firm Protech, last August, she made the case that tech pros don't have to wait until they retire if they dream of moving to Florida.


Yet the state of Michigan is recruiting tech pros from Florida's Space Coast. The Michigan Economic Development Corporate Talent Team is targeting laid-off shuttle workers in a recruiting event in Orlando. Dubbed MichAGAIN, the event is designed to woo people with ties to Michigan to return for positions in the IT, engineering and defense industries. Along with the automotive industry, Michigan has a richer mix of tech jobs these days, with clean technology including batteries, biofuels and wind turbine blades along with Internet gaming, computer design and more.


Companies such as Chrysler and Quicken Loans are among those recruiting there, according to cfnews13.com. The article states that Florida's 9.9 percent unemployment rate last year compared with 9.3 percent in Michigan. But the national tech unemployment rate was just 3.7 percent, making people with those skills highly sought after in any state.


Detroit's also getting a little buzz from the report on the "app economy" job engine. Released by trade group TechNet, it estimates that mobile app development has created 466,000 jobs in the United States since 2007. The report found that 1.1 percent of the Detroit-Warren-Livonia metropolitan statistical area's jobs come from the "app economy," reports The Huffington Post. While that sounds like a really small number, it's equivalent to that found in Phoenix and Austin, cities considered to have a high concentration of technology businesses. (The Michigan folks will be recruiting in Austin, too, at a March 10 event called MichAGAIN SXSW.)


John Horrigan, TechNet's vice president for policy research, told Huffpo's Kate Abbey-Lambertz:

It does suggest a vibrancy to the Detroit economy that's promoting people to have a demand for apps and seek out jobs in that area.

The article also quotes Nathan Hughes, co-founder of app-development company Detroit Labs, saying that many companies in the area are looking into apps for their business for the first time. The 8-month-old startup recently worked on Chevy's Game Time app, released for the Super Bowl. Hughes also says there's a wealth of talented app developers in the area and too few jobs for them right now, along with a lot of competition to lure them away.


In the TechNet report, Michigan didn't make the top 10 in app-development jobs, though you can see from GeekWire's list, Florida did.

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