Gov. Whitmer Signs FY 2022 Budget With Significant Chamber And MICHauto Priorities

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the bipartisan Fiscal Year 2022 budget on Wednesday, Sept. 29, calling it an example of what can happen when officeholders seek “common ground.”

When combined with the K-12 school aid budget signed earlier this year, the total budget is $70 billion. The funding plan, which takes effect on Oct. 1, provides strong investments for the state’s economy. The plan will lower the cost of childcare for Michigan’s working families, invest in education and skills for Michigan’s workforce, protect access to affordable healthcare, and prioritize a significant investment in a holistic infrastructure package.

During a press conference at Lansing Community College, the Democratic governor said the budget approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature brings investments in “kitchen table issues.”

“This budget really is a testament of what we’re capable of when we put the needs of the people of our state first and foremost,” Whitmer said. “This budget shows that divided government doesn’t have to be dysfunctional government.”

The current year’s initial spending plan was $62.8 billion when Whitmer signed it into law last year. This year’s budget was based on increased federal COVID-19 relief funds and better-than-expected state tax revenues to expand investments in childcare programs, target millions of dollars for road and environmental infrastructure projects and boost the rainy day fund.

Investing in Chamber and MICHauto Talent Priorities

The budget fully funds Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners, providing direct support to help people get higher education or skills training as the state moves towards Sixty by 30 goal of having 60% of working-age adults earn a postsecondary education or skills training by 2030. This goal was first developed by the Chamber before being adopted by the state in 2019.

The investments in today’s budget will help the 167,000 Michiganders who have signed up for Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners pursue their potential and provide employers with the talent they need to succeed. The funding for Reconnect will provide a tuition-free path to an in-demand industry certificate or associate degree for Michigan adults aged 25 and older, Futures for Frontliners will pay for frontline workers to attend local community college tuition-free, and there is also additional funding for the Going Pro program, which backs employer-based training grants to help workers earn industry-recognized credentials and certificates.

“Solidifying Michigan’s role as the global mobility leader has to be a priority for our state, and that requires an investment in innovation and talent,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., Executive Director of MICHauto and Vice President of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “MICHauto applauds the important commitment that the Going PRO Talent Fund makes to the people of Michigan and the long-term competitiveness of our state’s signature automotive industry.”


Efforts to Expand the Labor Force

The budget expands low or no-cost childcare to 105,000 kids. During the pandemic Chamber, polling and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that thousands of Michigan women and men left the labor force to take care of children and older relatives. In the Chamber’s May Michigan Priorities Poll, 8.6% of respondents cited the need for child care as the most significant barrier to finding employment. The Chamber believes this will help entice people back to the labor force by expanding affordable child care.


The budget invests $196 million to repair or replace nearly 100 crumbling bridges in serious and critical condition and create 2,500 jobs. It also helps local governments prepare for climate change and extreme weather and fixes dams to mitigate flooding and other hazards. The Chamber and MICHauto continue to advocate for long-term, strategic investments in our state’s infrastructure to help spur long-term economic growth and development.

Applications for training grants through Going PRO Talent Fund accepted starting September 30

Training grants to upskill Michigan employees open to businesses focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Michigan employers looking to take advantage of the Going PRO Talent Fund program will be able to apply for a share of at least $40 million in competitive training funds available to Michigan businesses today, Sept. 30. The Going PRO Talent Fund helps individuals secure employment, industry-recognized credentials and strong wages by providing training grants to Michigan businesses to support employees in high-demand, skilled trades industries.

Going PRO Talent Fund provides grants to assist in training, developing and retaining current and newly hired employees. New this year is a priority on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion focused on providing grants for minority-owned, women-owned, Veteran-owned, Individual With A Disability (IWD) owned or a Geographically-Disadvantaged Business.

“It is our mission to expand economic opportunity and prosperity for all,” said Susan Corbin, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity director. “Focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion ensures these underrepresented populations stay competitive and are afforded opportunities to succeed. A more diverse workforce brings fresh ideas to businesses, leading to a stronger Michigan economy.”

Training must fill a demonstrated talent need experienced by the employer and lead to a credential for a skill that is transferable and industry recognized.

“Since the program’s launch, Going PRO Talent Fund has provided training for more than 121,000 Michigan workers, supporting the needs of over 40,000 business, upskilling the workforce and contributing to the increase in post-secondary credentials supporting the Governor’s Sixty by 30 educational attainment goal,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, Director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training.

Going PRO Talent Fund grants are awarded to employers through the Michigan Works! network (MWAs). Participating employers play an integral role in defining their key training needs, then work with the local MWAs and other partners to develop an appropriate, realistic training plan.

“The Going PRO Talent Fund is essential to helping Michigan businesses meet the growing demand for skilled workers and provides individuals with industry-recognized credentials that lead to higher wages,” said Michigan Works! Association CEO Ryan Hundt. “Employers increasingly seek out Michigan Works! services and see the workforce system as a partner to better support their business goals and the goals of their employees.”

Among other responsibilities, employers are expected to provide financial or in-kind contributions in support of the training project, as well as use Pure Michigan Talent Connect ( and MWAs to recruit for job openings.

Businesses interested in learning more or applying for funding should contact their local Michigan Works! Service Center. Contact information can be found at

The application period ends Oct. 28, and selected applicants will be announced in December 2021.

To learn more about the Going PRO Talent Fund, visit

The Governor’s Sixty by 30 program aims to help 60% of working-age Michiganders achieve a certificate or postsecondary degree by 2030. Find out more at

The Future of Mobility Takes Center Stage at Motor Bella

Motor Bella, the Detroit area’s newest automotive experience, powered by the North American International Auto Show, kicked off Sept. 21 through Sept. 26 at M1 Concourse Event Center. The outdoor, auto-centered event featured hundreds of vehicles, immersive ride-and-drive activations, next-generation mobility, and more. To keep interest in a post-internet era and prioritize showcasing new technology, like electric and autonomous vehicles, show organizers turned to offering unique driving experiences.

“Being able to actually experience the vehicle and what it can do is a really exciting opportunity, and it helps connect Motor Bella to today’s automotive consumers,” said Tammy Carnrike, chief operating officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

This year’s show felt more like a festival, featuring various activations including:

  • Camp Jeep Experience to show off the all-terrain, new electric Jeep Wrangler 4xe.
  • Ram TRX Experience, a half-mile course of hills and turns.
  • Ford Bronco Off Road Experience to take on Bronco Mountain with a 38-degree incline-decline.
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E Experience to get drivers excited about electrification.

“It’s really an intersection of auto shows as we know it, cultural events – like South by Southwest – and also a technology event – like a Consumers Electronics Show,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto.

In addition, Motor Bella kept the focus on mobility, showcasing more than 15 technology and startup exhibits inside the M1 Concourse. Mobility panel discussions and presentations provided attendees with an opportunity to learn about the future of mobility and transportation. Exhibitors included:

  • ADASTEC Corp
  • Aira Inc.
  • APiS North America, LLC
  • ai
  • CAPSolar Technologies Inc.
  • Detect-It
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • EV Cable Glide, LLC
  • FleetLab
  • !Important Safety Tech
  • NIRA Dynamics AB
  • Northwood University
  • Seoul Robotics
  • Shockwave Motors, Inc.
  • Square One Education Network
  • Tappy Guide

Various major announcements by automotive and technology companies alike came out of this year’s Motor Bella, shifting the industry’s focus to the future of mobility throughout the state.

Major Announcements During Motor Bella

The New Teijin Automotive Technologies

Five organizations – Continental Structural Plastics, Inapal Plásticos, Benet Automotive, CSP Victall, and Teijin Automotive Center Europe – have come together under a single brand to form Teijin Automotive Technologies, a global leader in composite materials and solutions for the worldwide mobility industry. Read more.

The All-New 2022 Toyota Tundra Debuts at Motor Bella

The all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra made its auto show debut at Motor Bella. The briefing was spearheaded by Joe Moses, general manager of Toyota marketing, vehicle marketing, and communications for Toyota Motor North America. Read more.

Motor Bella 2021: Bosch Technologies Support the Continued Proliferation of Electrification

At Motor Bella, Bosch offered a glimpse into the future of mobility through its innovative solutions for sustainable transportation and enhanced safety. This year, Bosch will spend $800 million (700 million euro) on developing electrical mobility solutions, including fuel cells, an increase of nearly 40% over 2020. In North America, Bosch has continued its commitment to its mobility customers by investing more than $250 million in capital expenditures in 2021. Read more.

May Mobility Announces the A2GO Autonomous Shuttle in Ann Arbor

May Mobility, Mcity, and Ann Arbor SPARK, announced the launch of A2GO, an autonomous vehicle shuttle service set to become available to the public on Oct. 11, at the 2021 Motor Bella auto show. The program, which will launch through a free app, will employ four Lexus RX 450h vehicles that will service downtown Ann Arbor, Kerrytown, the University of Michigan Central Campus, and the State Street Corridor. The AV shuttle service was made possible in part to a grant through the mobility efforts of the state of Michigan. Read more.

Lyten Announces Development of Lithium Sulfur Batteries with 3D Graphene

Lyten, an advanced materials company and Department of Defense contractor from California, introduced at Motor Bella its LytCell EV lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery platform. This latest Silicon Valley battery innovation is optimized specifically for the electric vehicle market and is designed to deliver three times the gravimetric energy density of conventional lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Read more.

‘Maybe this is the future’: Detroit auto show leaders reimagine event that draws 800,000

Sept. 23, 2021
Taylor DesOrmeau

Electric vehicles are on the rise. Self-driving vehicles might not be far behind.

Automakers are investing heavily in both paradigm changes – or they risk becoming obsolete once the new technology becomes the norm.

It’s not so different for auto shows.

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit is one of the most famous industry exhibitions in the world, drawing more than 800,000 people most years during the 16-day event. Its economic impact on the area is roughly $450 million per year, industry leaders estimate.

“In 2005, when Detroit hosted the Super Bowl and the auto show, it was like the equivalent of hosting two Super Bowls,” said Claude Molinari, president and CEO of Visit Detroit, the city’s travel bureau. “That’s what it means to the region.”

Attendance dipped into the 600,000s during the recession, but topped 800,000 every year from 2014 through 2018. The crowd thinned in 2019 to 774,179.

Detroit’s auto show was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 – but changes were already on the horizon, with plans to move parts of the event outdoors, and to hold it in June, rather than the dead of winter.

Organizers opted for more dramatic changes in 2021. This year’s event was scaled down under the name “Motor Bella” and is being held this week, Sept. 21-26, outdoors at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, rather than the traditional location in downtown Detroit.

With unique driving and ride-along experiences being offered, organizers hope to draw 150,000 to the six-day Motor Bella event, said Rod Alberts, executive director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which puts on the show.

Auto shows worldwide are rethinking their purpose as manufacturers get more comfortable unveiling new vehicles virtually – and concept cars wane in popularity.

“I don’t think attendees have lost their appetite for auto shows,” Molinari said. “But I do think the OEMs may have lost their enthusiasm for some of the large displays where they’re trying to outdo their competition and put all that money into an event with an arbitrary date.”

Stationary displays thrived in the pre-internet era. They don’t offer as much when auto enthusiasts can watch vehicle unveilings from their phone.

To survive, auto shows have to pivot to a new draw – or risk becoming little more than a dealership showroom.

The answer could be offering “experiences,” Alberts said.

“The inside (portion of the auto show) is nice. You can look around and you can sit in a car,” said Tammy Carnrike, COO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “But for a lot of folks, being able to actually experience the vehicle and what it can do is a really extra opportunity.”

Consumers like interaction. And manufacturers can use activations to showcase new technology – like electric and self-driving cars – to help people to buy in.

“This is a time where (auto technology) is changing so quickly – how do you make people comfortable with it?” Alberts said. “That’s what we want to help out with.”

Vision for the 2022 show

Organizers are planning the 2022 Detroit auto show for September, Alberts said.

The traditional January date won’t work, since DADA wants an outdoor component. The June idea wasn’t popular, Molinari said, since many conventions already book up the summer in Detroit.

Expect a hybrid of the 2019 show with the 2021 Motor Bella show.

“Being outdoors opens new opportunities,” Alberts said. “You can get imaginative.”

This year’s show has more than a dozen “activations,” with various free ride-along opportunities – like flying over jumps in a Ram truck or plunging through mud and climbing hills in a Ford Bronco. Some manufacturers also allow test driving new models on Woodward Avenue, which runs parallel to the property.

Visitors can ride along in luxury cars like Lamborghinis and McLarens, too, at the M1 Concourse racetrack.

“You’re going to hear cars going around the track. You’ve got all the sights, sounds, smells and just the feel of the product. The energy level is going to be huge,” Alberts said before the event. “Maybe this is the future … (for) where we’re headed.”

There are benefits to the inside component of the show. Some manufacturers still prefer the traditional method of showing off their products, DADA organizers said.

Indoor displays also avoid weather problems.

Organizers are in talks with Detroit’s TCF Center to bring the event back downtown in 2022. But they’re also considering having experiences at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, too. Or possibly closing some downtown Detroit streets to set up the activations there and in Hart Plaza, Alberts said.

Future auto shows could feel more like festivals, multiple industry leaders said.

“It’s really an intersection of auto shows as we know it, cultural events – like a South by Southwest – and also a technology event – like a Consumer Electronics Show,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto, the statewide mobility industry association.

The success of Motor Bella will play a big role in how the 2022 show looks. Organizers are even considering hosting it on two separate weekends, Alberts said, with one weekend indoors at the TCF Center and the other at the M1 Concourse.

Also in question – what will the event be called? That’s still to be determined, Alberts said, noting the show was renamed “Motor Bella” for 2021 to give it a different feel.

The first iteration of the show was in 1907, and was called the Detroit Auto Show. It was renamed the North American International Auto Show in 1989, as it embraced foreign auto manufacturers.

A flourishing auto show drives tourism dollars for the Detroit area. It helps manufacturers engage with potential customers. And it gives Michiganders an additional entertainment option.

But it also generates pride for Detroit and cements its claim as the epicenter of the auto industry, city business leaders said.

NAIAS typically draws 5,000 credentialed press members and 35,000 industry experts from dozens of countries.

“They walk away with a new view of Detroit,” Carnrike said. “It’s a way to show the world what we really have here in Detroit. And that helps our employers to recruit talent, to find new opportunities for customers, etc. because their name just gets out there.”

Detroit business leaders want to show off the city’s transformation from the past decade. The Detroit auto show helps change the narrative.

“There’s a perception change,” Molinari said. “It’s not a 180 (degree) perception change – but it’s like a 150. And getting closer.”

View the original article.

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $4 Million to Support Electric Vehicle Manufacturing in Detroit, Michigan

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $4 million grant to the city of Detroit, Michigan, to reconstruct deteriorating roads in support of an automobile manufacturing plant that will begin producing all-electrical vehicles. This EDA project, to be matched with $6.7 million in local funds, is expected to create 810 jobs, retain 300 jobs, and generate $45 million in private investment.

“The Biden Administration supports efforts to boost electric vehicle production to create good-paying jobs and enable a clean transportation future,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment in Detroit is critical to handle the increased truck traffic that will result from a major automaker’s move to retool its facility to produce all-electrical trucks and SUVs.”

“The Economic Development Administration is pleased to support Detroit as they make important infrastructure upgrades that will yield more high-skilled manufacturing jobs and move us toward our clean energy goals,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “The roadway improvements will support the existing automotive manufacturing facility, facilitate future business growth, and build upon a legacy of EDA investments that support automotive manufacturing reinvestment in Detroit, including creation of a revitalization strategy of the nearby Mt. Elliott Industrial Corridor and the Georgia Street industrial road expansion project.”

“With this critical investment from our federal partners at the Department of Commerce, we are continuing to fix the damn roads and build the future of mobility right here in Michigan,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I am proud of this collaboration that will expand on our ongoing statewide economic development efforts as we usher in a new era of prosperity for our families, communities, and small businesses.”

“This important investment will support GM’s Factory ZERO, where our talented Michigan autoworkers will be making all-electric SUVs and trucks,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow. “This revitalization project will not only create new jobs, it will also further Michigan’s continued leadership in electric vehicle manufacturing.”

“The future of mobility is electric, and I’m excited that Detroit workers are going to continue building the vehicles of the future,” said Senator Gary Peters. “This grant will not only create jobs and bring in economic investment into Detroit – but will also expand manufacturing and transportation opportunity. I’ll continue working to ensure Michigan remains a global hub for mobility, logistics and innovation.”

“I am thrilled that this $4 million EDA grant is coming to Detroit,” said Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14). “Our infrastructure is in need of repair, and this investment to fix our roads goes a long way to support electric vehicle manufacturing and create jobs. As the Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue to champion investments like this that will help our communities build back better.”

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.


Automotive Roundtable: Forging Pathways to Developing Michigan’s Robust, Diverse Talent Pool

More than 100 automotive professionals gathered for MICHauto’s annual Automotive Roundtable at MICHauto on the Island during the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference. Kristine Coogan of KPMG set the stage with thought leadership on investing in the talent pipeline process. Brief “Talent Talks” from HELLA’s Madison Weston, OpTech LLC’s Ronia Kruse, Ford Motor Company’s Marjace Miles, and Global Strategic Supply Solution’s Lisa Lunsford, chair of the MICHauto Board of Directors, addressed the need for a pathway to developing a robust and diverse talent pool here in Michigan.

Coogan highlighted that automotive and mobility companies are now competing with tech giants for talent as product innovation moves toward electric vehicles and enablers of autonomous driving. Citing a 2021 KPMG Survey of Automotive HR Executives, Coogan stated that 76% of human resource executives say they are competing for talent with technology companies. With increased competition for talent, automotive and mobility organizations need to tout compelling employment experiences that combine recognition of employee efforts and skills with the connection to making an impact.

HELLA’s Weston, a featured emerging young professional in the Discover Auto: You Drive the Future campaign, talked about the importance of showing young people what the automotive and mobility industry looks like today.

“I grew up in Plymouth, Michigan, 20 minutes from Dearborn, and automotive never crossed my mind. I never learned about what the automotive industry is today, only the 20th century version,” Weston said.

She also said we need to teach kids about the automotive and mobility industry as it is today because it is all about the technology that goes into a vehicle.

Kruse stated that the demand for talent continues to grow, with over 9 million open jobs in the U.S., a record high as of April 2021. By 2030, there could be as many as 85 million jobs that go unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled people to take them. This is an opportunity for more collaboration between industry, academia, and government to fill the high-tech talent pipeline. Programs like ReturnPro can help fill the high-tech gap, Kruse says, but we also need to retain more Michigan students.

Miles agreed sharing that only 5% of his graduating college class stayed in Southeast Michigan. Miles believes that we must control the narrative to solve this problem, and we can do that by focusing on community, culture, and careers. As a Let’s Detroit Ambassador, Miles connects with people considering opportunities in Detroit and talks to them about the multitude of opportunities to live, work, and play in Michigan.

Lunsford wrapped up the talent talks by discussing the importance of taking an approach to diverse talent through open and candid conversation. A member of the CEO Coalition for Change, Lunsford says there is a clear relationship between workforce development and social justice. Sharing a recent, personal example on why it is important to keep the dialogue open, Lunsford calls for change in a push for industry collaboration.

After the panel discussion, Steven Kiefer, founder of the Kiefer Foundation and president of General Motors International, took the stage to talk about the importance of legislating a hands-free Michigan to save lives. Sharing an impactful video of an accident resulting from driving while distracted, Kiefer shared his own personal story about losing his son Mitchell five years ago to a distracted driver. Statistically, 94% of drivers admittedly know that driving while distracted is highly dangerous. Yet 84% of those surveyed still drive distracted. Passing House Bills 4277, 4278, and 4279 to protect Michigan drivers is the next step in saving lives. Kiefer closed with a call to action for everyone to reach out to their legislators to press for a floor vote, and to tell friends and loved ones to put down the phone and Just Drive.

Michigan is Automobility Report: The Home for Automotive Talent and the Industry’s Electric Future

DETROIT (Sept. 20, 2021) – Today, MICHauto, a statewide initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, released its annual Michigan is Automobility report, which comprehensively explores the state of the automotive and mobility industry in Michigan. The report shows the remarkable strength and resilience of the industry in Michigan despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a global supply chain disruption of semiconductor chips, and a labor shortage. The assets and resources of the automobility ecosystem in Michigan are unparalleled. There is no greater density of research, design, engineering, testing, and advanced manufacturing anywhere in the world.

“The strength of Michigan’s automotive and mobility industry has led to a faster and more robust economic recovery for Michigan than the nation as a whole,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “The report clearly shows the importance of innovation and talent attraction for the industry and our state. Investing in mobility will lead to an expansion of data science, robotics, artificial intelligence, and automation that positions Michigan for sustained economic growth.”

Released in coordination with the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference and the MICHauto on the Island convenings taking place Sept. 20 and 21, the report explores the continuous transformation of the industry. Some key statistics and trends highlighted in the report include:

Michigan’s Automobility Ecosystem

  • The mobility industry’s total gross economic output was $304 billion in 2019, representing 28% of Michigan’s gross economic output.
  • 1 million automotive or mobility jobs representing 20% of Michigan’s employment.
  • 26 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) have headquarters or technology centers in Michigan
  • 96 of the top 100 automotive suppliers to North American have a presence in Michigan, and 60 are headquartered here, with more than 2,200 engineering, design, and testing facilities.

Leading the Electric Future

  • Michigan is paving the way for greater EV advancement through investments in new facilities that will produce all-electric vehicles and their components. $10.6 billion invested in electric and autonomous vehicle firms in Michigan from 2010-2020.
  • One-third of all battery production and development in the U.S. takes place in Michigan, positioning the state to be at the epicenter of the next decade of automotive production and innovation.
  • One area of opportunity for the state is the expansion of EV charging infrastructure. Currently, Michigan ranks 32nd in public EV charging stations per capita, with just over 720 stations available.

Michigan’s Strength in Manufacturing Talent

  • Michigan has the highest number of mechanical engineers (40,300) and the second-highest concentration of industrial engineers (25,380) employed in the U.S.
  • Michigan has the third-highest number of engineers in the nation, with 104,870 working in the state.
  • State higher education institutions awarded 133,579 degrees in 2020, and more than 8,500 were in engineering.
  • However, the industry continues to suffer from a labor shortage. In the first six months of 2021, there were 8,194 unique engineering job postings available in Michigan.
  • In addition to engineering talent, more than 1.2 million people are working in the skilled trades in the state.

 Steps to Increase Diversity and Gender Balance

  • Women make up 28% of automotive manufacturing jobs, compared to 49% of all industries.
  • 32% of Michigan’s automotive manufacturing jobs are filled by racially diverse workers, compared to 22% of jobs across all industries.
  • MICHauto partnered with the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion, and Advancement to create the CEO Coalition for Change in 2020. The coalition is committed to making meaningful strides in diversity, equity, and inclusion to become a more inclusive industry, leverage diverse talent, and better engage the workforce.

For more information, including the full Michigan is Automobility report, visit

MICHauto is a statewide economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, dedicated to promoting, retaining, and growing the automotive industry in Michigan. MICHauto embodies a public-private strategy, championing Michigan as the global epicenter of the automotive and mobility industry and providing a platform for collaboration on advocacy, business attraction and retention, and talent attraction and development. Serving as the unified voice of Michigan’s automotive industry cluster, MICHauto works closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Original Equipment Suppliers Association, Center for Automotive Research, and other Michigan and national organizations. To learn more, visit

Governor Whitmer Announces Grants to Accelerate Mobility and EV Investments in the State

More than $444,000 in grant funding awarded to test mobility and EV solutions in Flint, East Lansing, Detroit and Southeast Michigan and Washtenaw County

Flint, Michigan – Governor Gretchen Whitmer was joined by state, local and university officials at Kettering University’s GM Mobility Research Center in Flint today to announce the first round of Michigan Mobility Funding Platform grants. Five mobility companies – MUVE, Airspace Link, KUHMUTE, GreenRoute and Michigan Flyer – received more than $444,000 in funding to deploy mobility pilots in Michigan that alleviate mobility barriers and help accelerate electric vehicle adoption.

 “These grants are securing a foundation for mobility companies across the state that builds on our reputation as a global leader in testing and deployment of future mobility solutions, but also create a runway to future growth and jobs right here in Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer. “These five companies will help bring Michigan closer to our goal of providing sustainable, equitable and accessible transportation options for all residents, and I’m confident this technology will have a lasting positive impact on our communities.”

The Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan Department of Transportation, launched the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform to provide grants to mobility and electrification companies looking to deploy their technology solutions in the state of Michigan. This first round of grants is awarding $440,000 to five deployments that will help to accelerate investment in mobility and electrification and support high potential mobility and electrification companies who anticipate long-term growth in Michigan.

“Michigan entrepreneurs and innovators are leading the way in mobility and electrification transportation solutions that will have an impact around the globe, while creating economic opportunity here in the state,” said Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. “We are excited to be able to support these deployments through a commitment to public/private partnerships as we continue to make Michigan a state where mobility solutions are born.”

Today’s announcement of the first round of grants through the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform builds on the success of an earlier mobility initiative of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The Michigan Mobility Funding Platform grants focus on catalyzing and scaling mobility solutions that improve environmental sustainability by encouraging electric vehicle (EV) adoption and the buildout of EV charging infrastructure, alleviate mobility barriers and increase access to affordable and reliable transportation options and modernize existing transportation systems. OFME has partnered with NextEnergy and Newlab to help review and administer grant applications, which are accepted on a rolling basis at

KUHMUTE, which received an $89,005 grant has partnered with the city of Flint, the Flint DDA and Helbiz to support the installation of multimodal charging hubs throughout the city of Flint and encourage the adoption of sustainable first-last mile transit and increase accessibility to public transit and local businesses. Micro-transit such as electric scooters and electric bikes will be able to park and charge at KUHMUTE charging hubs located near key destinations, including bus stops, apartments, restaurants and hotels.

“In 2018, we started KUHMUTE to increase accessibility and sustainability for how people move in the ‘first and last mile’ with a charging network for anything smaller than a car. Our team is extremely pleased to be partnering with the community where we started,” said Peter Deppe, Co-Founder and CEO of KUHMUTE and alumni of Kettering University. “A charging network that is agnostic to electric scooters, electric bikes, wheelchairs, delivery robots and more enables communities to choose the mode of transportation that is most convenient for their trip and abilities. Providing choices is a powerful way to increase the adoption of the most sustainable forms of mobility, and our team is excited to play a role in this.”

Kettering University has continued to be a leader in both mobility and technology research at the GM Mobility Research Center, as well as training the next generation workforce with programs like the Master of Science in Engineering with a focus on Mobility Systems now being offered by the University. Earlier this year, University President Dr. Robert K. McMahan announced a “Bright Future” initiative that evolves curricula and hands-on cooperative experiences for students that focus on the emerging industry needs of engineering, human factors, computing, software, AI and more.

“For more than a century, Kettering University has exemplified innovation and education within the automotive and engineering industry here in Michigan and around the world,” said McMahan. “As an institution, we are committed to embracing every facet of mobility to prepare the most highly qualified, forward-thinking leaders in this vital industry.”

Further demonstrating the state’s leadership in workforce training around mobility and electrification-related careers, Michigan’s University Research Corridor today released a report showing the alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University leads the nation’s top university innovation clusters in preparing the greatest number of graduates for careers in the mobility industry – 14,824 total, more than university clusters in California, Texas and Massachusetts. It also prepares more than 46% of Michigan graduates who hold degrees in high demand by the mobility industry, such as business, computer science and engineering degrees.

Additional Michigan Mobility Funding Platform Grant recipients are as follows:

MUVE ($125,000)

Together with W.A.V.E (Western-Washtenaw Area Value Express), MUVE will help bring more accessibility options to riders, dispatchers and drivers and enhance operational efficiency through technology that allows transit and on-demand ride-hailing to be fully integrated to help users of all abilities, including seniors, veterans, and others living with mobility challenges, get to their destination safely.

“MUVE is grateful for the continued support from OFME and MDOT in furthering our mission of putting inclusive mobility and community building at the forefront in Michigan,” said Anthony Shannon, Co-Founder of MUVE. “We see the State of Michigan as the leading market for mobility innovation globally and we are looking forward to deploying our solution with WAVE as well as with the community partners in surrounding areas. We look forward to continuing the important work MUVE is doing in mobility, community development and inclusion while working to scale this innovation throughout the State of Michigan and beyond.”

Airspace Link ($125,000)

Airspace Link will be collaborating with a select group of drone operator partners, health care systems and other enterprises to establish an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) delivery network in the Southeast Michigan/Detroit region, to transport urgent medical items for improving the timeliness of patient care. The project will entail a phased approach, starting with simple point-to-point deliveries that will later be expanded to include multi-point and longer-range deliveries that can be scaled over time.

“We knew Michigan would be a great place to start our business with its deep roots in mobility and have continued to see extraordinary growth for our business in this state,” said Michael Healander, CEO of Airspace Link. “The willingness to embrace new technology and advancements from both the public and private sectors has been critical in fueling our success and placing Michigan as a top choice for these types of technology pilots and new infrastructure. The awarding of this grant helps move us closer to our vision of a world where the safe integration of drones fuels human progress, advancing social equity, the environment and the economy. We’re proud to provide solutions that can increase the safety and speed at which these solutions can scale and can’t thank MEDC enough for their support in advancing this mission.”

GreenRoute ($40,000)

GreenRoute has teamed up with DTE to provide customers within DTE’s EV Connections Community complimentary access to GreenRoute’s energy-efficient EV routing via an iOS app. The routes are customized to the exact year, make and model of the vehicle and are expected to save drivers 15-20% in battery consumption, which will help alleviate range anxiety and accelerate adoption of electric vehicles in Michigan.

“GreenRoute technology is an inexpensive way to improve fuel economy and extend EV range without paying for a larger battery,” said Sudhindra Uppuluri, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of GreenRoute. “The driving directions we use today were created two decades ago considering the speed of travel and not the energy consumption in the route. GreenRoute leverages 20 years of advanced automotive vehicle math models along with traffic, predictive driving behavior, and your exact vehicle to offer a fast and energy-efficient route to the destination. We are excited to be partnered with DTE Energy to pilot this technology in Southeast Michigan.”

Michigan Flyer ($65,000)

With frequent daily round trips each between East Lansing, Brighton, Ann Arbor, and Detroit Metropolitan Airport and more than 200,000 passengers a year, Michigan Flyer—along with its parent company Indian Trails, Inc., and technology partners VIA RIDE and Turnit Reservations—will develop an API (application programing interface) that enables the reservation systems of different transportation providers to exchange data and coordinate with one another. This API will allow passengers will be able to reserve and pay for end-to-end trips using multiple providers on a single e-ticket. Phase I will focus on providing cross-regional connections for people who live and work in the Greater Lansing and Ann Arbor metropolitan areas.

“Michigan Flyer is uniquely positioned to lead the development of an integrated, multi-modal system that finally goes the full distance for passengers,” said Chad Cushman, president of Indian Trails. “It has longstanding public-private partnerships with the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority and Livingston Essential Transportation Services to operate daily service between their regions and Detroit Metro Airport. Since 2016, it has been testing multi-provider arrangements through which door-to-door transport services can be offered. And it has the support of folks representing several organizations of people with disabilities, including veterans, who will serve as a user testing group for the integrated system.”

MBN Speakers Series Mobility Panel Webinar

Michigan Business Network
Sep. 9, 2021

Michigan Business Network hosted another amazing virtual event for you, yesterday, September 8th. Shared below is the video capture from the ZOOM webinar.

Chris Holman was joined by a pair of engaging and knowledgeable panelists, to discuss and learn what is going on right now across our state in this sector.


Carla Bailo is the President and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) and is a leader in engineering and vehicle program management with 35 years of experience in the automotive industry.



Glenn Stevens Jr. is the executive director of MICHauto and serves as the Detroit Regional Chamber’s vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives. In this role, Stevens provides strategic direction and leadership to the MICHauto program in its efforts to promote, grow and retain Michigan’s automotive and next-generation mobility industries.



Click play on this YouTube video to watch the Mobility Panel Webinar.

Unable to join, on Wednesday was:


Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer, Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, his office works across state government, academia, and private industry to enhance Michigan’s mobility ecosystem, including developing dynamic mobility, and electrification policies and supporting the startup and scale-up of emerging technologies and businesses.



The event included: 
Welcome discussion with the attendees
Community Roundtable with leaders across Michigan
5-minute remarks from each panelist
40-minute Panel Discussion about Mobility issues across Michigan
Q&A engaging the attendees.

View the original article.