GM wants to battle 'brain drain' from Detroit, CEO Barra says

GM fighting the Detroit brain drain
GM fighting the Detroit brain drain

The Detroit automotive industry is closely tied to General Motors, especially now that the Motor City is reviving itself after filing for bankruptcy in 2013.

GM CEO Mary Barra said people continue to come to southeast Michigan, noting that GM remains true to its general philosophy of "we are going to build where we will sell." Barra touted GM's facilities that remain in the Detroit area even as it and competitors move some operations out of the country.

"We build plants in Detroit Hamtramck. We have our Renaissance Center, we have over five thousand people. And then in southeast Michigan, in Warren we have our engineering center. So we have people all across this area," Barra told CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Barra added that GM has tried to fight the "brain drain of Detroit" through investment in education.

She explained that over the last five years, GM has donated more than $27 million dollars to Detroit. By working with seven high school, GM has helped to improve graduation rates in Detroit. Barra said "we know that is still not good enough, but a great thing that is happening now is that with the state, the city and local businesses, we are all working together" to improve schools.

With plans to keep more jobs in Michigan, GM is looking at innovation and technology. Barra added that GM wants to lead in autonomous cars.

Said Barra: "General Motors is dedicated to leading in this area, but doing it in a safe fashion ... I would say though that our core business of cars, trucks and crossovers that you buy and own is going to be our business for a very long time."