Crain’s Detroit Business,
The University Research Corridor (URC) is an alliance of Michigan’s three largest academic institutions: Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. The purpose of this alliance is to accelerate economic growth in Michigan by educating students, attracting talented workers, supporting innovation, and facilitating the transfer of technology to the private sector.
This report is part of a series of special topic reports that began in 2007 and are released by the URC in early summer of each year. The purpose of each report is to highlight the URC’s contributions to a specific industry important to Michigan’s economy. This year’s report focuses on how the URC is shaping Michigan’s Information and Communication Technology industry (ICT) through its educational programs, research, and support for entrepreneurs.
We begin this report by developing a rigorous, comprehensive definition of the information and communication technology industry. This industry consists of the study, design, development, implementation, and management of information systems. It focuses on communication technologies, including the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and computer-based information systems.
Manufacturing is embedded in our state’s history, and in our national consciousness, as the engine of economic growth for much of the 20th century. Michigan was the “arsenal of democracy” in World War II, where Henry Ford’s revolutionary wages brought immigrants from numerous countries, and where companies like General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford grew into global enterprises.
Michigan is also the place that, far too often, is saddled with a reputation for being very good at something that is no longer relevant, modern, or particularly useful in the 21st century. In particular, we suffer from the misguided notion that manufacturing is not a “high tech” or high-value-added enterprise. This report provides, in great detail, hard evidence that manufacturing is alive and vital in Michigan today, and that much of the manufacturing done in Michigan today is high-tech, high-productivity advanced manufacturing.
Indeed, there are numerous places in the world where low-tech manufacturing can take place, often where labor and other costs are much lower than in the United States. Manufacturers in Michigan, therefore, must produce high-quality products using high-productivity techniques, and advanced technologies. As we note in this report, advanced manufacturing in Michigan is:
- An important industry that employs over 10% of the state’s workforce;
- A productive industry where over half of the employment is in firms whose productivity is growing faster than the average U.S. manufacturing firm;
- A highly-skilled industry where over one-third of the research and testing jobs in the Midwest are located.
Northern Michigan University retained Anderson Economic Group to conduct a market study and strategy for the development of university owned property in Marquette, Michigan. The commission of this report opened the opportunity for the proactive planning of future development efforts, the return of underutilized property to productive uses, and the physical and social connection of the campus and community.
Our approach began with a field assessment in Marquette, followed by community outreach through online surveying, meetings with community stakeholders, and focus groups for the business community, area residents, university faculty and staff, and students. Findings from the community engagement helped to qualify results from our retail and residential supply and demand analyses, which identified opportunity for growth in various retail categories and housing value brackets to complement the existing stock. Our recommendations included illustrative development plans for the property, and specific development guidelines and tenant recommendations to enliven the area, connect the campus to the community, and bring in each element of living, working, and playing.
We provided the university with a full report which included an executive summary and appendices that contained explanations of the methodology used, detailed findings from the analyses, custom maps, and results from the community engagement process. We also provide pro forma financial models for the development to illustrate the financial considerations related to the project.
The Detroit News,