Blog: John Austin

John Austin is our guest blogger this week. John is a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and vice president of the Michigan State Board of Education.

John has been examining the economic strengths and opportunities of the Great Lakes region as detailed in the Brookings Institution report: The Vital Center, A Federal- State Compact to Renew the Great Lakes Region

Post No. 2

 I'd like to share with you some of the analysis and insights gleaned from the Brookings year long-study of economic strengths and weaknesses in the Great Lakes economic region.

You can read this study-- The Vital Center: A Federal- State Compact to Renew the Great Lakes Region --by clicking the link.

In identifying the region's core strengths, the Great Lakes communities are still considered an economic powerhouse and great social innovators. We are recognized as central to the future prosperity of the US as a whole. 

Ongoing innovation is the coin of the realm in today’s global knowledge economy.  And central to innovation is talent; well educated people.

The Great Lakes States are the nation’s largest talent-creation platform. With 33 percent of U.S. population, they produced 38 percent of U.S. bachelor degrees, 36 percent of science and engineering degrees, and 37 percent of advanced science and engineering degrees in 2003—outstripping all other regions. 

According to the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 19 of the world’s 100 top-ranked universities are Great Lakes institutions (21 including those on the Canadian side)—compared with only 15 in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, and 13 on the West Coast. 

The great public and land-grant universities in the region are truly global, advancing intellectual discourse and discovery, and facilitating the exchange of people, ideas and commerce across the world —while being firmly anchored in America’s heartland.

Joined with more than 300 of Fortune 1000 firms, and bountiful private sector R& D centers headquartered in the region, the Great Lakes States create 32 percent of the nation’s new intellectual property, ideas and technologies.

This talent and innovation infrastructure make the Great Lakes region, the potential source and site for innovation in emerging sectors like energy and transportation, IT, life/bio/medical science, and new materials, products and processes.