Gov. Whitmer and Lt. Governor Gilchrist Continue Work to Bring Tech Hub Home to Michigan
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
State competing for its piece of $500 million national investment with massive economic impacts to bring good-paying, high-skill jobs home and grow tech industry
LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Castillo urging the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to designate a regional technology and innovation hub in Michigan. As part of $500 million national investment, a Michigan Tech Hub would create good-paying, high-skill jobs in industries of the future, building on the state’s economic momentum by expanding Michigan’s knowledge economy.
“Michigan is home to a talented, skilled workforce that is ready to lead the way in emerging industries, including tech,” said Governor Whitmer. “In just over a year, we won over $16 billion of investment and more than 16,000 good-paying jobs in battery technology, clean energy, and advanced mobility manufacturing. We also launched programs to ensure Michiganders can get the skills they need to land good-paying, high-skill jobs. Bringing a tech hub to Michigan will continue our economic momentum and help us build an economy of the future.”
“Michigan minds and muscle will lead the way as we pioneer cutting-edge technology and pursue transformative innovation,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “As the home of the #1 emerging startup ecosystem, the epicenter for mobility innovation, and the fastest growing clean energy sector in the country, there is no better place for an EDA tech hub than Michigan. Governor Whitmer and I are committed to working with anyone to bring a Tech Hub to Michigan.”
Excerpt from the letter:
While industry is a critical part of any consortium, so is having a community of great people focused on enabling us to remain a global leader in industries critical to our national security and global competitiveness. Our exceptional institutes of higher education continue to lead the way on educating and training the workforce of the future, and Michigan institutions rank near the top nationwide in STEM research and development, total STEM degrees awarded, and STEM research and National Science Foundation funding.
Michigan will always compete for good-paying manufacturing jobs, but the future of our state is dependent on diversifying our economy and increasing the number of good-paying, high-skill jobs that the Tech Hubs program will create. We will leverage our strong ecosystem of innovation to meet the needs of the EDA and harness our rich manufacturing heritage to build the industries of the future. As the Economic Development Administration finalizes the Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs program, we encourage you to consider proposals to house Tech Hubs in Michigan.
Statements from Michigan’s Congressional Leaders
“There is no better place for a Tech Hub than Michigan, where our workers continue to lead the way in research, innovation, mobility and emerging technologies,” said Senator Gary Peters. “Michigan’s impressive buy-in from public, private, and other partners would not only ensure a Tech Hub’s success, but expand economic opportunity and good-paying jobs for Michiganders. I’m proud to have helped champion the Tech Hub program as we enacted the CHIPS and Science Act to make this funding available.”
“Michigan is already a leader when it comes to critical innovation, research and advanced manufacturing technologies,” said Representative Dan Kildee (MI-08). “Thanks to new laws I helped pass, federal funding is now available for new regional hubs to help grow our economy and strengthen our national security. There is no better place than Michigan for a Tech Hub—our state is open for business! By investing in critical industries, we can help businesses start, grow, and create good-paying jobs in the United States, not overseas.”
“Michigan has long been a national leader in manufacturing and innovation, strengthening domestic supply chains, advancing cutting-edge research, and creating jobs across America,” said Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-06). “With the infrastructure and workforce that have driven the growth of the auto industry for decades, our state is uniquely positioned to become a one-of-a-kind industrial mobility epicenter. A tech hub in Michigan would empower our region to lead the world in clean energy and next-generation mobility technology, while investing in communities who have been left behind by modern industry in recent decades.”
“In line with its rich tradition of industry, Michigan is poised to lead a new era of American manufacturing, and there is no state better suited for an EDA Tech Hub,” said Representative Elissa Slotkin (MI-07). “From cars to batteries, Michigan is well on the way towards cementing itself on the cutting edge of innovation. And drawing from the best workers around and a steady pipeline of talent from two world-class research universities, a Tech Hub would pay dividends for decades to come.”
“I am proud to represent Oakland County, Michigan in Congress, the economic engine of the industrial Midwest, home of Automation Alley, and the heart of America’s advanced manufacturing sector,” said Representative Haley Stevens (MI-11). “We have a GDP higher than 12 American states and are innovating the future of clean transportation here in the heartland. However, 80% of all venture capital dollars are concentrated in California and New York state. The Commerce Department’s Tech Hubs program aims to change that and presents an incredible opportunity for our state. Nowhere would these dollars be better spent and present a greater return on investment for America’s taxpayers. Let’s invest in the Midwest.”
"Having federal dollars directed to our State through a Regional Tech Hub would be critical to ensuring that we can continue to focus on the growth of our local economy and create sustainable, accessible economic opportunities for our communities,” said Representative Rashida Tlaib (MI-13). “This program is a demonstration of the partnership our federal government and state government can produce to generate equitable access to resources to support our industry innovation with meaningful union-led jobs here at home."
“Michigan has been the heartbeat of American innovation for over a century — now we are working to bring federal dollars home that would make West Michigan a mainstay for tech innovation and good-paying jobs,” said Representative Hillary Scholten (MI-03). “West Michigan’s greatest innovators and entrepreneurs are all hands on deck as we work to put our community on the map and successfully secure this grant.”
"I fully endorse the MI Tech Hubs program, launched by the Biden-Harris administration through the Economic Development Administration,” said Representative Shri Thanedar (MI-13). “This initiative creates technology hubs nationwide, driving innovation and ensuring economic and national security. By stimulating investment, creating jobs, and revitalizing manufacturing Tech Hubs remain essential to Michigan's 13th Congressional district."
Statements from University and Business Leaders
“I agree with Governor Whitmer that there is no better location for a regional technology and innovation hub than here in Michigan,” said Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson. “Our universities are already focused on accelerating innovation in the key industries that the U.S. Economic Development Administration seeks to advance. In addition to the development of new technologies, we also prepare the skilled workforce necessary to fill knowledge-based and high-tech jobs.”
“Our state is a leading force in the technology revolution, and MSU is cultivating the next generation of leaders and innovators that will solidify Michigan’s position as the global leader in nuclear science and accelerator technology, mobility and automation,” said Michigan State University Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “With efforts like MSU’s Engineering and Digital Innovation Center and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, investing in our state through a Regional Technology Hub is an investment in strengthening our nation’s presence as the global epicenter for this critical work.”
“Traverse Connect is prepared and motivated to partner with the administration and regional partners to drive technology innovation and skilled talent programs in the Grand Traverse region through the designation of a regional technology and innovation hub in Michigan,” said Warren Call, President & CEO, Traverse Connect.
Last year, Congress appropriated $500 million to launch the Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) program to accelerate innovation in key industries of the future such as automation, AI, nuclear technology, and more. The Tech Hubs Program will make place-based investments in regions with the assets, resources, capacity, and potential to become globally competitive. Funding could generate a significant indirect knock-on impact of an estimated $1.5 billion.
As the state that put the world on wheels, innovation is part of Michigan’s DNA. Michigan is talented, with 50% of residents having higher education, and Governor Whitmer is working to grow that number to 60% by 2030. Employment in Michigan’s engineering, development and design industries is almost twice as concentrated in Michigan as the national average, with over 89,000 engineering jobs located in metro-Detroit.
The Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration is focused on growing and diversifying Michigan’s economy, winning over $16 billion of investment and more than 16,000 good-paying jobs in battery technology, clean energy, and advanced mobility manufacturing in just over a year.
Governor Whitmer is focused on improving quality of life for every Michigander. This includes protecting and expanding rights to personal freedoms including access to reproductive healthcare, LGBTQ rights, and more.
Whitmer Administration’s work to bring a Tech Hub to Michigan
Last week, Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist announced MI Tech Hub, a series of meetings to drive regional collaboration and secure funding for a Tech Hub in Michigan. Sessions were held for Detroit on May 5, East Lansing on May 10, Grand Rapids on May 12, Northern Michigan on May 16, and today in Ann Arbor. The meetings included discussions surrounding key learnings, data, opportunities, and more. Using feedback from the meetings, the Michigan Infrastructure Office seeks to create a shared understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of Michigan, help organizations capture available funding, and establish a framework of continued engagement to secure funding for additional projects that drive economic mobility.
On May 12, the EDA published the Tech Hubs Phase I Notice of Funding Opportunity, which will lead to the agency designating at least 20 regional Tech Hubs later this year. A statewide strategy session will be hosted in Detroit on June 9th to align on a path forward for the state of Michigan and ensure that each region has access to the resources and support needed to secure funding.
Click to view the full letter.
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 www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.
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