Michigan #1 State for Automotive Manufacturing According to Business Facilities

For the second consecutive year, Michigan holds the #1 ranking Automotive Manufacturing Strength according to the Business Facilities’ 17th annual Rankings Report for 2021. Over the past three years, Michigan created 11,000 new auto and mobility jobs. Additionally, the first new auto plant in Detroit in 30 years is simultaneously under construction and already in operation. The Big Three automakers have made firm commitments to electric vehicles and the future of mobility.

MICHauto Perspective
The recognition of Michigan’s excellence in manufacturing reflects the growing strength and competitiveness of Michigan’s economy. In CNBC’s Top States for Business annual ranking, Michigan improved 13 spots from 2019, to move up to 11th. The jump in the rankings was driven by high scores in the categories of technology and innovation, cost of living, and cost of doing business.

“A century of manufacturing expertise built Michigan’s reputation as the center of the automobility industry. MICHauto is proud to see our state ranked number one in the Automotive Manufacturing Strength by the Business Facilities Rankings Report,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director for MICHauto. “MICHauto’s committed advocacy for innovation, talent attraction, and investment will allow Michigan to maintain our global leadership.”

Leadership in Manufacturing Translates to a Strong Economy
MICHauto’s Mobility Industry Economic Contribution to Michigan report outlines the mobility industry’s economic contribution to the state. It is clear from the data how critical the mobility industry is for the state. Michigan’s mobility industry total economic output was $304 billion in 2019, which makes it larger than Germany’s $250 billion. That $304 billion represents 23% of Michigan’s gross state product, and more than 1.1 million jobs are either directly or indirectly tied to the industry. This is more than 25% of Michigan’s 4 million private-sector jobs. These are also some of the highest-paying jobs in our state. The average compensation for a worker in the industry is $65,000 compared with the state average of just under $30,000.

Michigan not only maintained its leading position in automotive manufacturing strength, it also held steady in the top 5 states for manufacturing relative to employment (#4) as well as manufacturing output (#4). This strong showing in the manufacturing sector, in spite of the impacts of a global pandemic, demonstrates the commitment Michigan’s business and political leaders have towards growing the industry.

“These Business Facilities rankings reaffirm what we already know: Michigan’s manufacturing workforce is who you turn to when you want to get the job done,” said Gov. Whitmer. “We are building on our rich manufacturing heritage as we jumpstart our economy, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and position Michigan as a top state to start and grow a business. As Michigan builds our way out of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to build a nation for the next generation and create economic prosperity for years to come.”

MICHauto has played a critical role in the strength of Michigan’s manufacturing through advocacy on next-generation mobility initiatives, attracting and retaining talent, and convening leaders from the industry.

LISTEN IN: Glenn Stevens Jr. Joins Paul W. Smith at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars

MICHauto Executive Director Glenn Stevens Jr. spoke with WJR’s Paul W. Smith Showtoday in Traverse City during the 2021 Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars. During the interview, Stevens shared MICHauto’s five new priorities including focus on:

  • Attracting the next generation of industry talent
  • High-tech talent
  • Supply chain solutions
  • EV impact on manufacturing
  • Influencing policy

Listen to the full discussion below:

MICHauto Priorities for the Automobility Industry Coming Out of CAR MBS

DETROIT (Aug. 3, 2021) – Today, MICHauto, a statewide initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, released five priorities for the automobility industry as leaders gather for the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City this week.

“The automotive and mobility industry has shown remarkable resilience over the past 15 months during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Chamber. “While challenges still remain, MICHauto is excited to work with key partners around our state to transform the industry into an innovative hub for data science, automation, and artificial intelligence that ensures Michigan remains the global mobility leader.”

Attracting the Next Generation of Industry Talent

MICHauto’s Discover Auto: You Drive the Future campaign is a unique initiative to connect young automotive professionals with youth to help them imagine a career in the automotive and mobility industry. The program’s goal is to attract, develop, cultivate, and retain key people that will help drive Michigan forward.

Workforce diversity is a major topic at CAR MBS, and the Discover Auto campaign focuses on attracting individuals from all backgrounds to find a home in the industry. The campaign solidifies Michigan’s and the automobility industry’s position as a high-tech, inclusive, global, solutions-oriented profession for economic opportunity.

High-Tech Talent

While MICHauto is positioning the industry and Michigan to attract the next generation, the industry needs to compete for and cultivate tech talent now. “Tech Talent” is a phrase used to describe the highly sought after workforce with the skills to drive growth and innovation at technology companies. This could include various roles, including IT professionals, computer science professionals, software developers, engineers, data scientists, and many more emerging positions.

“MICHauto applauds the important investment in the entry-level and mid-level skills by Michigan, but the state and industry must make a commitment to invest in the high-tech talent sector to maintain our position in a competitive global marketplace,” said Stevens.

Supply Chain Solutions

Solving the short-term challenge of the semiconductor chip shortage remains priority number one for the industry. However, the medium and long term will be all about critical minerals and components needed for increasingly complex vehicles. The minerals required for the EV industry battery demand will be a significant issue for years to come. The supply chain of the future will design for recyclability, mineral sources, vertical integration, new propulsion, and battery technologies.

EV Impact on Manufacturing

The transition to more electric vehicles will have a significant impact on manufacturing in Michigan and around the globe. MICHauto’s Mobility Contribution Report explored the full extent the industry has on the state’s economy. In 2019, employment in the mobility industry helped generate total direct and indirect employment of almost 1.1 million people in the state, approximately 20% of Michigan’s total employment. Investment in next-generation manufacturing and training for workers focused on internal combustion engines will be critical for the state and the industry to ensure continued economic growth.

Influencing Policy

Much of the next generation of transportation and automotive and mobility investment will come from the Biden Administration and federal agencies like the Department of Transportation and Department of Energy. Michigan has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to use money from the American Rescue Plan and a proposed bipartisan infrastructure bill to make the transformational investments for the automotive and mobility industry to grow and thrive. MICHauto’s ability to convene industry, municipal, state, and federal leaders will be critical to ensure wise and effective use of this investment.

Commentary: Hands-Free Legislation Still Needed to Save Lives

Crain’s Detroit Business
Aug. 1, 2021
Glenn Stevens Jr., MICHauto

It’s been nearly five years since Paula Kiefer experienced every mother’s worst nightmare. She arrived home to a police officer waiting for her in her driveway to give her the news that a distracted driver had just taken the life of her son — 18-year-old Mitchel Kiefer — the namesake and inspiration of the Kiefer Foundation and its work to end distracted driving.

Sadly, Mitchel’s story and the devastating loss experienced by his family remains far too familiar. In 2019, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Eight times a day, a police officer in our country must have a conversation just like the one with Paula. Now is the time for legislative solutions that save lives.

We urge our partners in the Michigan Legislature to support and pass House Bills 4277, 4278, and 4279, prohibiting drivers from using a mobile electronic device unless they are using it in a “hands-free” mode such as Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto.

While more people today recognize the dangers of using mobile devices while driving, too many still use them while operating their vehicles. This often occurs at high speeds on the freeway where drivers don’t appreciate what a difference even a few seconds can make. Imagine this: at 55 mph, taking your eyes off the road for only five seconds is essentially driving an entire football field with your eyes closed! Many people drive much faster than that to and from work each day.

Some people have asked why we need a new law when Michigan already has a ban on texting while driving. The answer is simple: that law was passed in a different era, before phones had internet. Today, it is very difficult for an officer to determine when drivers are texting (which is illegal) and when they are on email, Facebook or shopping on Amazon (which is not).

Due to the urgency of this issue, 24 states — Republican and Democrat — have adopted more comprehensive hands-free laws. Recent studies consistently show that these laws are dramatically reducing the rate of crashes and fatalities as a result of distractions caused by mobile devices.

MICHauto has heard people say that innovation can solve a problem that technology created. They contend that innovation in the form of autonomous and self-driving vehicles is right around the corner. As the voice of our state’s signature industry, MICHauto advocates for the bright future of autonomy and mobility. However, while we share the excitement about the potentially revolutionary impact autonomous vehicles will have on the world, full implementation of the technology is likely decades off. In the meantime, more Michigan motorists, passengers, and pedestrians will die from entirely preventable accidents until this legislation passes.

This September will mark five years since a distracted driver killed Mitchel. Together, we can honor Mitchel and those like him and ensure this senseless, preventable, and unimaginable tragedy doesn’t happen again.

*View the original article.