Southeastern Michigan Workforce Development Initiative

The Community

The heart of the nation’s automotive industry rests in the 13-county southeast Michigan region. The Advance Michigan region currently produces 22% of the vehicles made in America, and, at $14 billion a year, over 70% of the U.S. total auto R&D spending is invested in the region. Through the Advance Michigan initiative over thirty partner organizations are banding together to build the region’s capabilities to master the next frontier of automotive technology and manufacturing – vehicles that communicate with each other and with the open road to carry their passengers more safely and efficiently to their destinations.

The Vision

Advance Michigan will position its 13-county region in southeastern Michigan at the forefront of the automotive and digital technologies behind connected cars and infrastructure, technologies that will lead to a step-change in driving safety and efficiency. The initiative’s partners will deepen already significant workforce partnerships through $177 million in training, while connecting these efforts across all stages of skills development from high school on up. And the initiative will leverage over 50 labs and research facilities across the region to develop and deploy across its supply chains these new connected-vehicle technologies.

The Strategy

Workforce Development: Advance Michigan and its partners will invest $177 million in training and workforce development activities to upgrade the region’s talent infrastructure, attract a pipeline of younger workers, and develop curriculum and training in the latest manufacturing technologies, including training to upgrade the skills of incumbent workers. Advance Michigan will also invest in longitudinal workforce data tracking systems to help target its training efforts. 

Supplier Networks: To ensure that the automotive industry remains at the vanguard of advanced manufacturing, Advance Michigan will make connected-vehicle technologies a core focus of the Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) partnership and within other regional economic development and other non-profit partner groups. As new connected vehicle technologies and advances in lightweight metals are developed in the region, Advance Michigan will map the availability of capabilities related to these technologies in its supply chains and further their deployment through new capabilities at regional colleges and universities and the development of an incubator to connect entrepreneurs to these new technologies. 

Research and Innovation: The Advance Michigan region has over 50 labs and has received over $300 million in automotive research projects at its universities in the last five years. To make sure Michigan remains the nation’s automotive R&D hub, Advance Michigan will align university and/industry R&D including through the development of a research capabilities translator for industry seeking to navigate the university research landscape, the launch of R&D competitions requiring multi-partner collaborations, and the creation of internships, co-ops, and apprenticeships in company research. 

Infrastructure: Increased collaboration between the state, Advance Michigan, and private enterprise will support further infrastructure and site development by working to eliminate blight and to speed the redevelopment of vacant manufacturing sites, to upgrade the region’s transportation infrastructure to allow for connected vehicles and to close infrastructure maintenance gaps. Advance Michigan’s plan calls for laying 2,287 miles of fiber-optic infrastructure to the deployment of connected-vehicles. 

Trade and International Investment: To increase trade and international investment opportunities Advance Michigan will work to attract skilled immigrants; increase the number and frequency of international trade missions, increase cross border trade with Canada; and market the region to increase foreign direct investment. 

Operational Access and Capital Improvement: Michigan ranks 15th in the nation for venture capital investment, a position that Advance Michigan proposes to improve through securing additional capital for existing State Small Business Credit Initiative and the creation of a new $50 million venture capital fund focused on automotive technologies. In addition, Advance Michigan will expand services that reduce the cost of doing business for small manufacturers and efforts to capitalize manufacturing energy efficiency upgrades in the region, lowering energy costs.

The Partnership

Education: Lawrence Technological University, Macomb Community College, Michigan’s University Research Corridor, Mott Community College, OU INC ‐ Oakland University, University Research Corridor (URC); Washtenaw Community College; 

Industry: Ann Arbor SPARK, Automation Alley, Capital Area Manufacturing Council, Center for Automotive Research (CAR), EDSI Consulting, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Council, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, New Perspectives Group, Research to Practice Consulting; 

Government/ Economic Development Authorities: City of Flint, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, I‐69 International Trade Corridor Next Michigan Development Corporation, Lansing Economic Area Partnership, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development, Michigan Department of Transportation, Monroe County Business Development Corp, Oakland County Government, Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA), Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, Washtenaw County, Wayne County EDGE (lead submitter);

Workforce: Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN)