GM’s Mark Reuss Believes Talent Deficit Cost Detroit Potential Amazon HQ17
Cities across the United States rolled out generous incentives to attract Amazon‘s second headquarters. But, for all Detroit, Michigan, offered, it wasn’t enough.
But, General Motors product and purchasing chief, Mark Reuss, said there’s a clear reason why the company bypassed Detroit: a talent deficit. He told reported and industry professionals at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress earlier this month that Detroit fails to attract the right workers.
“Look, it’s no secret why we couldn’t even make the final 20 cities on the list for Amazon’s potential second headquarters site. It wasn’t because of a lack of mass transit, although that is important. It wasn’t because of a lack of cultural opportunities, or because of the weather. . . . It came down to a simple talent deficit,” he said.
GM and its core executives have been outspoken over the need for engineers and other STEM-related professionals. Reuss added that the U.S. currently faces an engineer shortage, and in two years, the country may be without 500,000 much-needed engineers.
He called for a renewed focus on education and tweaks to the system to introduce students to STEM fields at an earlier age.
However, Reuss’ diagnosis isn’t accepted by everyone. Dan Gilbert, chairman and founder of Quicken Loans, said Detroit’s old image plagued the city’s bid for the HQ from the beginning.
“Old, negative reputations do not die easily. I believe this is the single largest obstacle that we face,” Gilbert said.
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I think it will be better for Detroit in the long run (read: 50+ years) that it didn’t get the Amazon HQ2. Detroit seems to be recovering slowly but surely. I think we will all be highly impressed where Detroit is in another 10 years. These slow careful steps are allowing Detroit to create a solid foundation for growth and potential. While Amazon coming in would be Awesome, it would cause the city to grow much more rapidly; foregoing some of the more critical structure to support the new rapid growth.
I’m disappointed Detroit didn’t get it, but I think it will work our for the best over time.
I don’t think it was a talent issue. Amazon can bring their own people or recruit them nationwide if Detroit was a place anybody wanted to live. I know it’s improving but it’s a national tragedy what happened there. Detroit was the Silicon Valley of the early 20th Century; it was a place where all the entrepreneurs went to and made fortunes in the burgeoning automotive industry. Those profits, all that cash, got spent on monumental buildings and facilities and to build a beautiful city. The industry titans built virtual palaces to themselves and gave away large sums of money to fund great public spaces. As a lover of great architecture, Detroit is filled with it. Sadly, much of it lies in ruin today. A sad testimony to what poor management, corrupt politicians, globalization, and racial issues can do to even the best of places.
Detroit is a decaying shell of its former self and no doubt Amazon wanted no part of it not because there aren’t enough smart people there but because no smart people would want to go there at this point. I wish them well. I’d love to see Detroit returned to its former glory and Mike Duggan has miraculously turned the tide but Detroit has a long way to go before a company like Amazon would want to call The Motor City home.
It’s the weather. There is a seriously large percent of people who won’t relocate to the colder part of the country.
Much of the Midwest is an empty shell. Much is due to the Corrupt political people who served here as well as corrupt Union.
They both drove the companies mfg. out of the region. The Steel and Rubber industry saw the same thing.
The major issue is people left and with poor weather in the winter, the cities that are now broke and can hardly afford to give incentives to new business as well as the fear of the union mentality that drove business out in the first place.
Dan Gilbert has done much for Detroit and Cleveland as the Cavs owner and has really help bring downtown Cleveland into a place you would like to go. He has added many good jobs there. The new large building he is building in Detroit will help do the same for them.
Youngstown today was a hard nosed Union city and today no one wants to move there for fear they will face unions again. Murder rates and drug use it at all time highs it is not exactly Shangri-La.
Cheap labor in the south that is resistant to Unions in most cases is much more appealing.
Why do you think Cadillac left for New York City , young talented people are needed to make the company grow! Young people want a future ,it is going to be some time before talented people start moving back to Detroit!! t.y.
While some of it was to distance itself from “GM’s Detroit” JDN spent a lot of time there and it was the exact opposite of Silicone Valley’s Tesla…If we recall, GM spent over a $1M to create a team to study Tesla…
He’s pushing his STEM agenda which I believe is great, however he’s doing so in a very disingenuous way…Amazon TOLD cities exactly what they want, financial incentives…In Amazon’s Request For Proposal/RFP, it mentions incentives 21 times…The 20 cities have all offered incentives in the Billions…
Exactly. When it comes to negotiating, the pendulum has swung so far in corporations’ favor it’s insane, if not criminal. In addition to a union free workforce, most of these corporations took bribes in the way of huge incentives to relocate south years ago. Now incentives/giveaways are just part of doing business, even up north. Ask Scott Walker who promised nearly $3 billion in cash, plus permission to dump industrial waste into non-federal wetlands and waterways, for a Foxconn plant that may or may not materialize.
We’re sinking closer and closer to third-world status with each passing day. I don’t think there’s any stopping it either.
Well companies are looking to cities or regions that want to be competitive.
So many are way over taxed so they can cover their goverment waste and burdens of people who are trained to be a victim.
Work ethic is also lost in some areas too.
Many of the eviromental laws much is also over zealous as if you really look at the the restrictions they will really do little damage in most cases. Many are to save some frog no one ever knew was ther or missed anyways. The truth is the environment is much more resilient than some will give it.
We are far from Third World as I have been there and it is a marked difference.
The economy is now global and business is going to do what it takes to be competitive. If someone will not make them selves relevent or affordable they will not get the work.
Life is not going to had it to you on a gold platter.
The day comes where you are promised a job for life you will find it will not be the job you want.
Or maybe it’s because Detroit is a cesspool of idiots who murder and shoot people. Lol!
You and Scott3 must be related.
Pretty sure I’m not but he had a very smart reply compared to you.
You been to down town Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Youngstown or Toledo lately? It is not exactly where Mensa meets.
Clark st has a real Robo Cop feel to it.
Or it may be the number of city officials that have been indited or convicted in these cities. They just put away the former 25 year mayor of Warren Ohio for a number of felonies as the city rots.
Mark, you’ve been in a position, for quite a while, to help make Detroit a talent destination.
I guess it’d be more impressive if you followed your observation with 4-5 steps you & GM (and Detroit’s business leaders) are already taking to remedy the situation as you see it.
Mr Reuss, it ain’t only Detroit…
From Business Insider about PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) Dec 2016: “When looking at a comparable sample of countries that participated in the PISA exam in both 2012 (the last time the test was administered) and 2015, the US ranking fell to 35th from 28th in math. The US underperformed the OECD average in math. “Scores were relatively unchanged in reading and science compared to 2012 — down one point in each.” “Asian countries again topped the rankings across all subjects, and Singapore was the top performing country across all three subjects.”
From Brookings Institution April 2017. Although they are rightly very critical of America’s performance on PISA, Brookings writers are more complimentary of America’s performance on TIMSS, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. However: “Singapore, the highest TIMSS scorer for both grades and both sections, scores between 44 and 103 points better than the U.S. on any TIMSS section, the latter number constituting a difference of more than a full standard deviation.”
Pew research:“The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.”TIMSS, has tested students in grades four and eight every four years since 1995. In the most recent tests, from 2015, 10 countries (out of 48 total) had statistically higher average fourth-grade math scores than the U.S., while seven countries had higher average science scores. In the eighth-grade tests, seven out of 37 countries had statistically higher average math scores than the U.S., and seven had higher science scores.”
Here’s Dr Jean Twenge – “A” averages for 12th graders in America in the period 1960-2005 increased from 18% to 48%. In the same period, SAT’s declined.
Oh dear, what is forcing America’s teachers to inflate their grades at the expense of real learning for America’s kids? My contention is that a small fraction of overly demanding parents who want “A”s for their kids without making their kids work for it (gaslighting the teacher), and administrators who back these demands instead of training parents to deal with reality, are the problem.
The countries scoring higher than America include Australia, and Vietnam, while Turkey, and Romania are improving rapidly while America continues to decline.
I was a teacher in Australia for 10 years, and I was awarded a cultural medal for my teaching by the government. I then taught in Vietnam for 2 years, Turkey for 4 years, and Romania as well. I have had my students go to Oxford, Harvard, MIT, Sorbonne, Wall St, I wish I could claim all the credit but of course other teachers, great teachers, also taught these kids. I then taught in Washington DC’s rich schools for 8 years, and now California’s charter schools.
Given the international trends cited above, and my experience in some of those countries with great education systems, I thought that American schools might be interested in my experience and advice. Hahahahaha. What I fool I was to think that. And let me tell y’all, (certainly not all, but) many American administrators didn’t hesitate to call me foolish out loud and humiliate me and manipulate me, and rip me off financially, all the time calling me lazy lazy lazy. All my American colleague teachers are utterly exhausted and teach in a state of anxiety and insomnia. I know personally of one teacher who died by suicide after a school humiliated him, and I’ve seen research on many more. American teachers leave the profession in droves, 30% after three years of service, 50% after 5 years. Many still owe thousands in student loans, and they would rather clean toilets to pay their debts than teach in America.
In Vietnam, I had a full-time assistant who had command-power over 25 staff of photocopiers/order-clerks/maintenance-engineers etc. In Turkey, teachers are revered as “Hocam” (Hojam) which is similar-but-different to “Professor”. Hocams get all the student discounts, special hotels built just for them, and privileged access to monuments. When ever I showed my teacher-card at the Hagia Sofia, I was taken out of the line, through a special gate, the guide pool was told “Hocam” and guides would fight to be assigned to me, and my tour would be all about how I can prepare my class to come and visit themselves, and could this guide be chosen for my class, please please please.
And although only 10% of American parents have treated me to abuse, in front of their own kids and classes full of other parents’ kids, these 10% don’t get community outrage like they do in other cultures. On my first day in one American rich school I was vigorously shouty-reprimanded for not immediately giving a 12yo $200 of equipment without any proof that the kid owned the equipment. “You’ve been TOLD” the parent shouted to me, about me failing to follow his kid’s hinted/muffled/foot-shuffling request. At least 20 times per year in America I have parents reprimand me for something I literally have no power to control, like other teachers’ kids in the hallway, not favoring their kid over others, not letting their kid physically hit other kids, etc etc. Other parents watch and don’t care, and let their own kid watch the teacher get abused by other parents. And then, the Principal or level-Administrator tells the teacher either it was their fault and fix it, or, it wasn’t their fault but the teacher has to fix it anyway.
In Vietnam, parents line up to meet each year’s new teachers. They perform a ritual where the parents bow to each new teacher, introduce their kid, and then turn to the kid and say they will trust what the teacher reports about their kid. The kid then looks the teacher in the eye and says “I hope to earn a good report”. I literally never once had to use disciplinary techniques in Vietnam. The student diversity in this particular school was 40% Japanese, 40% Korean, 20% others including Viet Khieu.
In America, parents expect to send unruly (not able to follow rules) kids to school in the morning and expect to receive back angels ready for Downton Dinner in the evening, and the teacher is supposed to ‘magic’ the transformation. In Asia and Continental Europe, parents send kids to school who are ready-to-learn and expect to receive back learners who are ready for explorations of the world in the company of their family.
I call America’s culture “school-based parenting” and I call Asia and Continental Europe’s cultures “parent-based parenting” cultures.
Ready-to-learn =1. Sit or Stand Still. 2. Be Quiet. 3. Pay Attention. 4. Complete the Work. 5. Even if you (the kid) don’t like the lesson, never EVER stop the other kids from paying attention to the teacher. Just learn to wait and accept boredom. It’s called self-regulation, and it’s a lesson from the International Baccalaureate’s Geoff Thompson and his research on Interstitial Curriculum.
The real issue with Americans and American students is the lack of work ethic and drive.
Here teachers are dealing with so many kids with little to no parental involvement. It has lead to kids with no drive or goals. They fail they do not care.
Broken families, working families, single parent families, parents that are more self involved intemselves. Etc. these all contribute to this.
The Asian families in our area make sure their children learn and work with them. Not just the parents but the Grand Parents also are involved. It is a disciplined family unit.
Americans have gotten lazy and expect so much to be done for them vs earning it themselves. This is why many Asians are persecuted as they prove they system works if you are willing to work for it.
In this day and age we can not get people that want to work or show up everyday. We have had it too easy for two long. Hard times will come and it will really get ugly.
scot3, that’s a pretty broad, blanket statement that exaggerates a portion of the truth, if I may.
As a “generation X-er” who was described this way broadly by “trend experts” and is now raising two hard working early college teenagers, who have jobs, who hang and compete with a lot a kids just as motivated, my view is history has always shown there are always strata of parents/family, producing generations who make up our society. But there are plenty of winners out there among those you describe broadly as “Americans.”
If social services were a truly enlightened organization, let’s say Tim Cook takes that on when he retires from Apple at 85 or 90. He institutes a credible, respected, honest parental grading system. We all get one issued when (tragically in some cases, if) a child reaches 21. You get and A, B, C, D F. Of course you can appeal, this is America. But you’d have 12 months to make your case, otherwise, you will be graded. Publicly.
As usual…. you’d have… 5% who are straight up A parents. maybe 20% are B. I’m trying to be generous, my fellow Americans. You fill in the rest, if you’re following me so far. Plenty of C, D, F parents. Now, plenty of great kids overcome rough upbringings, so these aren’t absolutes or straight trend lines either, but you get the hypothesis we’re discussing; bad parenting leads to further future disadvantages.
Are more American parents these days more foreign born, first or second generation Americans (e.g. the Asian parents you mention above, let’s say part of the top 5%, “A” class of parents)? Probably. This is the country with a Statue of Liberty in the arbor, referred to as a “melting pot,” so while I’m not up on the latest census figures, I would’t be surprised if our population is becoming more diverse in all ways.
So then we ask… who is the majority of the trend group of those going down in parental grades? Who falling from B to C, C to D, Do to F? Somebody in some think tank must be studying this stuff, but when you mash up all the broad behavioral trends out there, from social media emotion provoking to psychologically numbing violence in all media to widespread mood-changing substance abuse, to the further dividing of wealth which distributes stress, strife and desperation, it’s not hard to image that some socio-economic groups, and sub-sections of all economic strata, … has produced totally sh*t parents of one generation and background or another.
It’s work being a good parent, always has been always will be.
But, there are plenty of us out there in A, B and hell I’ll even give a shout out to the C+ parents out there. Hopefully our kids will cary the rest by inventing Googles and Amazons, reinventing Apples and AT&Ts, and shooting battery cars into Space (for real, not Kubrick propaganda).
– Born in 1970, labeled a “slacker”.