Gov. Whitmer details MI New Economy plan to grow our middle class, support small businesses and invest in our communities

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. – Today at the Mackinac Policy Conference, Gov. Whitmer detailed her economic agenda, including the unveiling of the three pillars of her bold $2.1 billion MI New Economy plan to grow Michigan’s middle class, support small businesses and invest in communities.

“I am laser-focused on tackling these big, structural challenges by growing Michigan's economy, creating good-paying jobs and building industries of the future,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “The MI New Economy plan is a good start, and I look forward to working with key partners, the legislature and anyone who wants to put Michigan's families, communities and small businesses first as we make these investments.”

The plan recognizes a strong economy isn't only about creating jobs, but requires a focus on our state's people and communities as well. That's why MI New Economy has three pillars, each of which has specific and ambitious goals that will help state officials track progress on efforts to build a stronger and more resilient Michigan.

Pillar 1: Grow the Middle Class - No economic vision for the state can be complete if it doesn't focus on eliminating poverty and lifting families into the middle class.

  • Goal: 60% of adults with a postsecondary credential by 2030
  • Goal: Lift 100,000 families out of working poverty during the next five years (FY22-FY26)
  • Goal: Provide access to low or no cost childcare for 150,000 more families by 2024

Pillar 2: Support Small Business - To supplement the great economic development work our state already does, Michigan needs a focus on creating and growing more Main Street businesses.

  • Goal: Top 10 state for small business job growth and revenue growth from 2022 to 2026
  • Goal: Top 10 state for household income growth during the next five years (FY22-FY26)
  • Goal: Top 10 state for growth in venture capital funding over the next five years (2022-2026)

Pillar 3: Build Strong Communities - Michigan's residents deserve to live in vibrant communities with the kinds of services and amenities associated with a high standard of living.

  • Goal: 100% access to high-speed internet and 95% adoption by households during the next five years, while continually investing in higher quality access (FY22-FY26)
  • Goal: 75,000 new or rehabilitated housing units in five years (FY22-FY26)


“This plan will result in better jobs, better skills, more people re-entering the labor force and more people staying – and moving to – Michigan,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “It will result in a new economy, a better economy, one that expands economic opportunity and prosperity for all.”

These pillars address the state’s largest economic challenges:

  • There are too many jobs that don't pay enough – over 1 million households are living in working poverty.
  • Too many Michiganders are forced to delay life-saving medical procedures and car repairs, skip prescription refills and meals, and make incredibly difficult choices to meet their basic needs.
  • In 2019 before the pandemic, 38% of households did not make enough to make ends meet, and an additional 10% are right on the edge.
  • There aren't enough workers to fill open jobs. Our unemployment rate is lower than the national average, but our labor force participation has been behind for a decade.
  • Today, it stands at 59%, or 42nd in the nation. At the turn of the century, it was 68.8% and has fallen since then.
  • There aren't enough Michiganders with the skills necessary to fill high-skill jobs. We need to meet our Sixty by 30 goal to boost incomes and improve long-term outcomes for working families.
  • There isn't enough entrepreneurship in Michigan. For several years, we have been below average job growth for microbusinesses and second stage companies.
  • Housing is unattainable or unaffordable in several communities. High-speed internet connection is lacking in certain areas and we face an above average shortage of renters and potential homeowners.

MI New Economy also builds on some of the most recent initiative successes that have helped Michigan build back successfully:

  • Michigan established Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners to put 167,000 Michiganders and counting on a tuition-free path to higher education and skills training. Nearly 23,000 were already enrolled in classes last winter and summer semesters.
  • The Poverty Task Force released its first set of 35 policy recommendations designed to drive down Michigan's 37% ALICE (asset limited, income constrained, employed) rate with sustainable strategies that center equity as a goal.
  • Through a $1 million investment, the MI Tri-Share pilot program has helped Michigan families afford childcare by dividing the cost equally between employees, their employer and the State of Michigan.
  • From March 2020 through March 2021, MEDC launched 23 economic relief programs and deployed nearly $240 million in small business relief across all 83 Michigan counties.
  • To address housing needs, MSHDA has financed $637.2 million in housing projects that created or preserved 7,467 units since Fiscal Year 2020.
  • Governor Whitmer created the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI) to make high-speed internet more affordable and accessible.

"Michigan cannot achieve a prosperous, equitable economy without vibrant communities. Investments in core assets like housing and broadband internet are essential to making our state more attractive both to existing residents and the entrepreneurs and workforce of the future,” said Luke Forrest, Executive Director, Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM). “On behalf of hundreds of community-based organizations, we stand ready to help achieve this MI New Economy vision.”

To learn more about the MI New Economy plan, the state’s economic and workforce challenges and successes the state has seen to date, visit

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.