The University Research Corridor (URC), a research consortium comprised of Wayne State University, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, recently released its annual economic impact report, which showed an economic contribution to Michigan totaling $20.6 billion in fiscal year 2021 — up from $19.3 billion in fiscal year 2019. During the last 15 years — a time that has seen a major recession and a global pandemic — the URC's economic contribution to the state has grown by 60%.
WSU’s economic impact has also increased: from $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2019 to $2.6 billion in fiscal year 2021, with $1.3 billion (half) of our economic impact accruing in Wayne County and nearly 90% accruing in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties.
“We recognize that our economic impact is considerable and that our commitment to our home city and state should be, too,” said Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson. “Economic development is a central feature of WSU’s new strategic plan and we recently developed and released a complementary economic impact strategy to guide our economic impact over the next five years.”
The strategy is inclusive of work happening across WSU and is organized around five high-level goals:
- Preparing a diverse student body for and connecting them to good, household-supporting jobs.
- Ensuring all WSU jobs are household-supporting jobs and accessible to a diverse workforce.
- Leveraging WSU’s purchasing power, research enterprise and entrepreneurship programs to create more household-supporting jobs and wealth building opportunities, especially for Detroiters and people of color.
- Retaining and attracting talent through investments and programs that improve quality of life in our neighborhood, city and region.
- Being a thought leader on and active partner in equitable economic development.
“Wayne State is already a vehicle for economic opportunity and social mobility for so many in our city and state, and this strategy encompasses the many ways that the university is furthering a vision for a vibrant Detroit and Michigan with equitable access to opportunity and lasting prosperity for all,” said Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development at Wayne State and president and CEO of TechTown Detroit.
These goals are informed by national and university best practices and respond directly to local needs, including those articulated in a report titled “The State of Economic Equity in Detroit,” by Detroit Future City, a nonprofit think tank and advocacy organization.
“Through this strategic work, Wayne State aims to move the needle on external metrics like degree attainment, labor force participation rates and wages,” Wilson said. “We also seek to decrease racial and geographic gaps, including those between Black and white Detroiters and Detroit and the region.”