High-tech jobs: they're supposed to be the saving grace for Michigan's economy. But Pfizer's announcement Monday they're cutting 2,400 positions is yet another scuff mark for the state.
"Psychologically, it's a setback."
So says Kelley Bishop, director of career services at MSU. He says Pfizer and other high-tech companies have always recruited at MSU. They'll continue to do so, but the jobs will be outside of Michigan.
"Students are going to go where the opportunities are," Bishop says. "I don't see our students reluctant to take an opportunity if it's the right opportunity and leave the state."
It's worse news for the state than the students. Michigan State's engineering program is one example of bright students graduating and not having opportunities here.
"Probably the majority aren't getting jobs in Michigan," says chemical engineering professor Robert Worden.
But Worden says the Pfizer losses don't indicate a dark future for Michigan's fledgling high-tech sector.
"These things are cyclical," Worden says. "Michigan has outstanding potential."
Economists say that potential is being overshadowed by bad news, and that will take a while to change. Local economist Okan Kavuncu, who works for Lansing's Public Sector Consultants, says the hurt is real.
"This is such a major blow to the state. It's impossible to ignore the consequences."
And students see those consequences.
"These students have spent time and a lot of money, and they're looking for a job that will take them somewhere for challenging work," says Bishop, who adds that "somewhere" has historically been Michigan.
"Sixty-six percent of students found jobs in Michigan in the graduating class of 2005."
The question is: Will those jobs be around for the graduates of 2007 and beyond?