Hire An MPP, Student Profiles

Hire An MPP: Hui Huang

Many of Michigan State University’s second-year Master of Public Policy students will be graduating this May. They have a wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion that will allow them to put the skills they’ve acquired to good use. We’re posting profiles of all our soon-to-be graduates so you can get to know them—and maybe find the next addition to your firm or organization!

huiName: Hui Huang

Ideal Job Location: Michigan; United States

Ideal Job: Hui Huang has flexible skills and is open to policy and data analysis work on many subjects. Her main interest, however, is in immigration and international education policy. She has had the opportunity to work on these issues at Michigan State University, which has given her a solid background in understanding how policy affects the lives of everyday people. She has also developed a strong interest in parental leave policies.

Hui’s skills in data collection, her understanding of sound research methods, and her ability to combine concern for the public with objective research and analytical skills will make her an asset to any organization.

She would most like to work in government, with an NGO, or at an institute of higher education.

Work Experience: Hui has engaged in several internships and jobs during her time in the MPP program.

She worked as a policy intern for the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness and also served as a Research Assistant for the Chinese International Students Research Group. These experiences gave her insight into diverse state, local, and international policy issues.

Currently, Hui works as a student assistant in Michigan State University’s WorkLife Office. In this role, she researches paid parental leave policies and performs essential data collection work for members of the Association of American Universities.

“Paid parental leave policy is an important topic which will need more attention in the future,” she notes.

Skills and Academic Training: “The MPP program is a great program to help us prepare for a career,” Hui says. She has completed all three courses in Quantitative Methods, which provide training in data analysis and statistical software. She also notes that the PPL 891 special topics courses, performance management and social policies, taught her important critical thinking skills.

“Public policy will make society better and it’s meaningful for me to change something in the world,” Hui says. In her future career, she plans to make a difference by applying her skills to critical policy issues. Her commitment and abilities will allow her to perform well in a variety of policy positions and organizations.

MPP Speaker Series

Director of Michigan Office for New Americans to MPP Students: “Your Generation Will Drive Immigration Reform”

Last week students in Michigan State University’s Master of Public Policy program got to meet with the director of one of Michigan’s newest Executive agencies: The Michigan Office for New Americans. MONA was founded by Governor Rick Snyder in January 2014 to “help propel Michigan’s comeback by attracting and retaining highly skilled immigrants.”

MONA director Bing Goei is a living embodiment of the immigrant success stories his office works to facilitate. Goei was born into Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese community. In 1954, when he was a young boy, his father, a schoolteacher, became concerned about the direction the newly independent country’s leaders were taking. He moved the family to the Netherlands for five years, and then to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the family was sponsored by Fuller Avenue Christian Reformed Church.

Goei worked his way through college, and by the 1980s had built up a large, profitable wholesale floral business. He took 7 years off from his business career to serve as the director of the Christian Reformed Church’s race relations committee. Then he dove back into business, turning around an ailing business in Chicago and then buying Grand Rapids business Eastern Floral and turning it into a major enterprise with 5 locations and over $5 million in revenue. He also started an incubator to help minority entrepreneurs launch businesses in Grand Rapids, and continued to serve on various boards and committees.

Making Michigan Welcoming

In his current post with MONA, Goei works to help immigrants get integrated into the Michigan economy. He also works to dispel myths about immigration and show U.S.-born Michiganders, based on facts, how immigration helps all of us.  His central message, he says, is that “immigrants and refugees add to our quality of life.”

“In the four counties around Detroit, the Arab American contributes $7.7 billion to the community and pays $540 million in State taxes! Have you ever heard that statistic?” Goei asked. He said that side of the story needs to be told more loudly in public debate that too often smears immigrants as potential terrorists.

Goei highlighted the need for immigrant workers to fill vacant positions in employment areas from agriculture to medical positions in rural areas to high-tech industries. There are simply not enough U.S.-born workers willing or able to fill these positions in Michigan, Goei said, and leaving them unfilled has negative effects on all Michiganders.

Michigan is constrained by Federal immigration policy—which, for example, limits H-1B visas (temporary work visas for high-tech workers) to 85,000 per year, far below national demand. Goei points to a recent study that found that between 2007 and 2008, computer industry employers in the Detroit metro area “saw an average of more than 5,300 H-1B applications eliminated in the lottery each year”; according to the study’s authors, approving those visas would have also generated up to three times as many jobs for U.S.-born workers, and added millions of dollars to the local economy.

Despite such federal constraints, Goei told MPP students the state has been able to make some progress in improving its ability to attract and integrate immigrants.

For example, Goei highlighted Michigan International Talent Solutions, a free program run by MONA that helps immigrants with professional degrees or technical skills, but who face language and accreditation barriers, to be able to practice their profession in the U.S. The program just started this year, and has already placed four graduates in high-paying professional jobs, he said.

Goei also mentioned the importance of making Michigan a more welcoming place. “Michigan, like many other states in our nation, struggles with the value of diversity and inclusion,” said Goei. “Michigan’s inability to resolve this issue has made our work in developing a welcoming state for new Americans very challenging.”

Civil, Informed Dialogue a Key to Better Policies

Goei said that much of the controversy surrounding immigration policy could be dispelled if legislators were more willing to engage with different points of view and put themselves in other people’s shoes.

“Sometimes it feels like we are not willing to have a frank, civil discussion where we value the opinions of others who don’t agree with us,” Goei said. “Especially as our world is growing smaller, more diverse, more interdependent, we should not be saying ‘it’s my silo, get out.’”

Goei encouraged MPP students to put their analytical skills to work to help drive more informed, objective debate surrounding immigration. “You’re going to have to be the ones who will drive this, because I don’t know if my generation of people are going to be able to change their ways,” he said.

Capstone Ideas

Goei said he would love to have more data highlighting the role of immigrants in Michigan’s economy and social fabric.  He said better information on businesses started by immigrants, patents and inventions created by immigrants that benefit everyone, and other such statistics would be very helpful.

“We would also love to know how other states are creating welcoming environment for immigrants and refugees,” he said.

Two students in the MSU MPP program’s 2016 cohort are currently working on their capstone projects in collaboration with Goei and MONA, and Goei said he would be happy to work with more students in the future.