The greater Rochester area has led the Oakland County economy in recent years and is poised to take advantage of an improving economy in the year ahead. There is no question that Michigan, particularly its manufacturing sector, has had challenging times in recent years, but the Rochester area remains poised to overcome the challenges. The region is rich in automotive research and development, along with emerging sector commercialization. The focus around the automotive industry is primarily due to the nearby location of the Chrysler Corporation Headquarters, the accessibility to major automotive centers such as Detroit, Lansing, Flint and Port Huron, as well as the proximity to essential engineering and research and development centers of Chrysler and General Motors at the GM Tech Center in Pontiac. This global presence has certainly made a mark on Rochester’s landscape, as many foreign-owned companies have established operations in the area.
The availability of prominent institutions of higher learning within the area also has played a significant role in the economic development of the region. Highly rated K - 12 public school districts, Oakland University, Rochester College, Oakland Community College, and Cooley Law School are key in producing educated, highly skilled employees. Additionally, the facilities provided through these entities are unmatched and of high value to the diverse business community.
Existing and new technology-based and life science corporations in the area are afforded numerous resources through the Rochester Hills SmartZone™ and Oakland University’s Smart Zone Business INCubator (OU INC). Fostering economic development in the region, particularly through its centers of excellence and spin-off companies, OU INC offers support to businesses by allowing access to university laboratories and faculty, decision support technology, business counseling services and assistance with financial and capital acquisition—among other programs and services. On top of incubating start-up companies, OU INC is equipped with an exceptional support system on-site, including the Small Business and Technology Development Center and the Great Lakes Angels. Adding to this, OCC-Auburn Hills has a Michigan Technical Education Center (MTEC), which offers a variety of training options for local companies—some even customized to meet specific needs. In fact, MTEC provides training, designed to support the engineers of the region.
Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township all work together with many business resources, including the Chamber, to develop new and innovative programs for new businesses. Additionally, Oakland County provides plenty of small business counseling services and programs via its offices in Waterford. Another supplemental business-focused resource in the area is Automation Alley, the state’s largest technology-based association. Located in nearby Troy, this 900-member regional technology organization is focused on the economic vitality of southeastern Michigan, bringing together business, education and government in order to fortify and enhance the area’s business environment. Automation Alley, a region that is home to 8,000 technology businesses employing over 312,000 technology workers, stretches over eight counties (including Oakland County), and the city of Detroit.
This prime business climate places Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township in an advantageous position. The region’s location within one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S., the presence of Automation Alley and the extensive list of benefits and supportive organizations have all played a role in making the area attractive to businesses of all kinds leading to ongoing economic development initiatives. The high quality of life here only adds to the benefits, as such aspects as outstanding parks and trail systems, safe neighborhoods and a walkable, lively downtown district continue to draw in prospective employees. What’s more, relocation and development are certainly welcome here, as Rochester Hills alone has over 15 industrial parks and corporate centers, and is equipped for more growth in the future. A number of smaller industrial and commercial sites are ready for redevelopment, boasting choice locations near the area’s prime shopping and recreational centers.
Collectively, these resources and advantages have poised the Rochester area for continuously unprecedented growth and economic prosperity.