Annual Talent Attraction Event Series Returns

By Rachel Gray October 24, 2023
People gather and talk at a Back to Michigan networking event

LANSING, Mich. – From October 13 to November 30, organizations from eight different regions will host Back To Michigan, a series of nine in-person and virtual career networking events for people interested in relocating back to Michigan.

The Back To Michigan event series is the umbrella brand for the regional events that typically happen the week of Thanksgiving or around college homecomings across Michigan. Each regional event has its own regional brand. This year, the events range from networking events with employers to activity meetups with community ambassadors.

Thanksgiving is usually a time when former Michiganders visit “home.” Together with over 70 companies, communities will convince job seekers that it is time to consider a move to Michigan. Job seekers can talk 1-on-1 with recruiters from hiring companies, and community ambassadors will be on hand to answer questions about the area.

“With the recent launch of the “You Can in Michigan” campaign, a lot of people are getting the Michigan message right now,” said Rachel Gray, Executive Director of Hello West Michigan. “For people who are seeing that message and are interested in learning more, attending a Back To Michigan event is a great next step to explore relocation. You can connect with employers, talk with community ambassadors, and get a sense of what it’s like to live here.”

The tradition of Thanksgiving eve events for “boomerangs” started in 2012 with ReThink West Michigan, hosted by Hello West Michigan. The successful program spread to multiple regions in Michigan over the last 12 years. In 2021, Back To Michigan was recognized as a best practice by the International Economic Development Council with awards for innovation and cross-border collaboration.

The events are targeted to people living outside of Michigan, people who recently relocated, students, or people who are local and unemployed. Companies are hiring in many fields, including IT, engineering, finance, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, art and design, professional services, government, hospitality, and more. The events are free to attend, only requiring interested attendees to register online at:

“If you have a Michigan decal on your car, wear a Michigan hoodie, or use your hand as a map, you know how great it is to live here. Now it’s time to tell others,” said Gray.

At a time when many companies are struggling to find talent, Back To Michigan is an opportunity to access a new talent pool of out-of-area candidates. Booth space is still available at many locations. If your company is interested in participating, reach out to your host organization contact listed on

Details on the event series:

Event Dates:                  

October 13 – Great Lakes Bay, Mt. Pleasant

October 26 – Great Lakes Bay, Tri-Cities

November 3 – Traverse City

November 21 – Detroit

November 22 – Ann Arbor

November 22 – Lansing

November 22 – West Michigan

November 30 – Upper Peninsula

August 26 – November 30 – NE Michigan (Meetup Series)

 Time:    Event start times vary and are open-house style (attendees do not have to be logged on or attend the entire time).

Registration:      Job seekers register for FREE at

For more information, please contact Rachel Gray – Hello West Michigan, Executive Director at 810.931.5782 or

People gather and talk at a Back to Michigan networking event


About Back To Michigan,

Back To Michigan is a coalition of fourteen regional talent attraction organizations in Michigan. The partnership united in 2020 as an umbrella brand for the talent attraction events happening around Thanksgiving and college homecomings. The event series aims to promote Michigan as a great place to live and work. By providing job connections and relocation resources, Back To Michigan aims to attract talent to Michigan. It is a collaborative effort by fourteen organizations: MTEC SmartZone, Innovate Marquette SmartZone, Traverse Connect, Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, Northeast Michigan, Hello West Michigan, Saginaw Future, Middle Michigan Development Corporation, Hey Bay City, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Lansing 5:01, Southwest Michigan First, Ann Arbor Spark, and Let’s Detroit.

About Hello West Michigan,

Hello West Michigan is a non-profit that seeks to increase the rate of success member companies have in their effort to recruit top talent and help new residents and those interested in relocating find their fit in West Michigan. Hello West Michigan started the first Thanksgiving weekend event in 2012 with ReThink West Michigan, which was recognized as a best practice by the International Economic Development Corporation in 2019.

About MEDC,

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in collaboration with more than 100 economic development partners, markets Michigan as the place to do business, assist businesses in their growth strategies, and fosters the growth of vibrant communities across the state.