Michigan’s University Research Corridor ranks first with the number of graduates it is producing with bachelor’s and advanced and professional degrees when compared with seven other research university corridors, according to a report to be unveiled Thursday at the Mackinac Policy Conference.

The report — being released by the collaboration of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University — shows that the state’s three largest public universities are an epicenter for the elusive trait that is needed for the contemporary economy to attract businesses to the region, officials said.

“It’s showing that these three world-class universities are attracting, retaining talent, reproducing talent and really are a magnet for talent,” said Jeff Mason, executive director of the URC, formed in 2006. “It means very positive things for the companies here in the state that are looking to hire the talent, as well as the students who are staying here in the state and starting their own companies.”

The eighth report of the URC is an unconventional examination of a human attribute, and how the three URC universities cultivate it for the state’s economic growth. Previous reports, produced by the Anderson Economic Group, have examined issues in alternative energy, life sciences, the Great Lakes’ “blue economy,” the number of startup companies produced by the universities, and the number of entrepreneurs.

This year’s talent report looks at the URC’s production in two ways: through the size of the graduating classes and alumni, along with graduates with advanced degrees, especially in high tech, medical and other high-demand degrees such as business, computer science and engineering.

MSU, UM and WSU produced 19,676 bachelor’s degrees in 2013, placing them third when compared with seven other research university corridors nationally. The number of advanced and professional degrees was 12,887, also putting the URC in third place nationally. But when the total number of graduates was combined — 32,563 — the URC placed first nationally.

“Talented individuals are as much or more important than raw material,” said MSU President Lou Anna Simon. “The most direct way universities support a talented workforce is by producing it through the education of students.”

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