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      Program seeks to keep international students in state for jobs

      International students from Michigan Tech University, Northern Michigan University, and Finlandia University gathered on Tech's campus for a Global Talent Retention Initiative conference.

      GTRI director, Athena Trentin, said the program is to encourage international students to stay in Michigan for work and fill STEM jobs that need to be filled and require advanced degrees. â??We want the best. We want the brightest,â?? said Trentin, â??whether it's American or international. That's going to help us grow, that's going to help us create jobs, that's going to help us put everybody back to work.â?? GTRI also helps companies with the paperwork of hiring an international student because it can often be tedious and daunting. Some Michigan companies have committed to taking on international students with intentions of driving the state's economy. â??We have 75 spots in my company, most of them around six figures, that we could fill tomorrow. We are that desperate for people,â?? said Director of Business Development at Vectorform, Dan Bennett. â??So, I don't care where you came from, if you can program, we've got a great job for you.â?? Students said they want to stay here if the opportunity is available to help our economy and to further their education. â??I ended up getting a job here, so it allowed me to work for one year, get experience, and now get back to school to get my masters,â?? said NMU graduate student from Mexico, Juan Mendoza. Trentin said students from other countries tend to be naturally motivated and have a lot to offer many companies in our state. â??Not just anyone will pick up from their home country, leave, and go somewhere where they know nobody, they don't know the culture, they may not know the language very well,â?? she said. â??It takes a very courageous person who has a lot of self-confidence and a lot of motivation.â?? â??I think it's a great idea especially with the economy, and trying to keep those jobs, those talents here in the state of Michigan,â?? Mendoza added.