Motor City on the Move: Jobs

By CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor

The city of Detroit is going through changes. There are projects all around, especially Downtown and Midtown, which is what we looked at last week. So there are projects going on, people want to move here, but what’s the reasoning?

If you want to move somewhere, the main reason to move is for a job, because you found one in that certain city. Detroit does have jobs, and that’s something that surprises people.

Detroit started out as a logging community and there were many lumber barons in the city. The David Whitney Building and Whitney Hotel are named after a famous lumber baron from the city. When manufacturing hit, Detroit was one of the leading producers of stoves and soap, yes soap.

But that’s not what made Detroit what it was. The birth of the automobile was what happened to this city. In 1910, the city had nearly half a million people. Twenty years later, that number jumped up to about nearly one and a half million. That’s a very significant jump in population in a short period of time.

The Compuware Building in Downtown Detroit from Campus Martius Park.

Jobs were created because of Henry Ford’s $5 a day wage for working on the assembly line, building Model T’s. Cars built this city, and eventually, brought it to it’s knees. Yes, there were more factors than just the automobile contributing to the downfall of the city, but regardless, the city fell on hard times after the riots of 1967.

People moved away, jobs went elsewhere, and it looked bleak from the 1970s onward. Today, things are much different. Although there are still empty buildings and the population is still declining to now under 800,000 people, the city is coming back.

You are probably asking yourself how this is possible. One word: jobs. Yes, there are jobs in this city, and they aren’t the same ones that left this city over 40 years ago. There are new jobs, technological jobs that are going to propel this city and this country into the 21st century.

When Quicken Loans moved to Detroit from the suburbs in 2007, the company started a slow drip of companies moving into the city that has since turned into a full-on waterfall of companies and jobs coming to Detroit.

The headquarters of Quicken Loans is located in the Compuware Building in Campus Martius park, the heart of Downtown Detroit. Dan Gilbert, who is the chairman and founder of Quicken Loans has bought many buildings in Downtown Detroit, trying to entice companies to relocate to the city and brand it as a city with technological jobs.

MORE: Detroit: A City on the Rise – Dan Gilbert

Chrysler now has offices in Detroit, and has a building named after them. The former Dime Building is now Chrysler House. One of the former empty buildings in Detroit is now over 100% full and also owned by Gilbert.

Lots and lots of technological jobs are coming to Detroit, lots of technology companies are making Detroit home and Gilbert is just one of the people making this a reality. Keeping young people in the city is the main priority and that’s because the younger the people are, the better chance of a revival of Detroit, because they are the future.

Detroit isn’t garnering the same attention it once did when the automobile business was booming, but it is certainly gaining some national attention and becoming the main competition to Silicon Valley in California. Detroit might just become the next Silicon Valley, and it starts with jobs, new jobs, and people, young people.

To read the original post that appeared in the seventh edition of The Michigan Journal, on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, go to www.michiganjournal.org

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