Over the past 10 years, China has had a significant impact on the world economy. Many businesses in the United States, especially those whose success has been dependent upon manufacturing, have felt the effects the most. Although many feel that the shift in Chinese economic power has adversely impacted the United States, it is also important to highlight the positive aspects of these changes. One of the great success stories comes from Michigan, in the heart of the Midwest.
Michigan State University started as a land grand institution, primarily focused on agriculture. Since its inception, Michigan State has transformed into a much more globally focused university, now being dubbed by its president as a “World Grant” school. This year 2,300 Chinese students will be enrolled at Michigan State, representing a direct local contribution of $95 million to the local economy. Further, these students have proven to be great contributors to the United States economy. In fact, 33% of Michigan high-tech firms have been created by immigrants!
The United States continues to represent immense opportunity to the world community. Schools such as Michigan State University have found ways to not only embrace the diverse and challenging environment, but leverage it to bring innovation and economic prosperity as a result of it. In my view, future success will be determined not solely by a country’s raw materials or manufacturing capacity, but also by its ability to integrate strengths and ideas of individuals from around the world. Michigan has a great start at organically rebuilding its economy using diverse and innovative initiatives.