MICHauto Team Speaking at SPESA Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference on Sept. 13

Learn about the regional innovation in automation, workforce development, and more at this year’s SPESA Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference on Sept. 13 in Detroit, Michigan. Attendees will hear from SPESA members and other industry experts on the latest solutions, resources, and technology available for the entire sewn products industry, as well as new ideas and inspiration to keep us moving forward.

Drew Coleman, senior director of MICHauto, will lend his expertise to a panel on Detroit’s role in reshoring, nearshoring, and improving domestic and global supply chains. Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto, will join industry stakeholders to discuss where industries and innovation collide, which will serve as an opportunity to hear from significant stakeholders responsible for Detroit’s continued growth across fashion, automotive, and innovation.

This event is open to suppliers, manufacturers, and anyone interested in learning more about the future of the sewn products industry. Registration for the conference is now open. Your 2022 registration includes a full day of education, breakfast, lunch, and an evening networking reception. Your registration also includes a trip to the flagship Carhartt Store, a tour of the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC), and access to the North American International Auto Show on Sept. 14, 2022.

Click here to register, view the agenda, and book your hotel room. Use discount code michauto for $50 off your registration fee.


State of Michigan Announces Mobility Wallet Challenge to Improve Access to Transportation Services Statewide

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) are launching the Michigan Mobility Wallet Challenge to explore a Mobility Wallet Pilot Program, which aims to increase the interoperability of transit services and create greater access to personal mobility for Michigan residents.

The program’s goal will be to simplify the transit payment process by allowing riders or third-party stakeholders to load funds and/or connect bank accounts to a single platform and create a streamlined mechanism for fare payment/collection, thereby increasing access to vital mobility services in Michigan. The Michigan Mobility Wallet Challenge is a collaborative effort, including MDOT, OFME, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), and the Michigan Poverty Task Force (PTF).

The state will host two information sessions about the call for projects for interested applicants, vendors, mobility partners and organizations, and public transit agencies to learn about the opportunity, receive tips and best practices for submitting a proposal, and connect with other companies and Michigan partners to explore collaborations. The sessions will be held on Thursday, Aug. 11 from 1-2:30 p.m. EST and on Tuesday, Aug. 16, from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EST.

Registration for these information sessions are optional for applicants who may choose to attend one or both sessions. Attendance will have no impact on application outcomes. Mobility Wallet Pilot Program proposals must be submitted electronically to the Application Portal by Sept. 22 at 5 p.m. EST to be considered.

The Michigan Mobility Wallet Challenge builds on the state of Michigan’s commitment to building a mobility future that is more accessible and affordable for all. This includes a partnership with the National Park Service to collaborate on implementing safe, innovative technology to increase accessibility and equity in recreational and park settings.

Through the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform, the state also provides grants for projects and initiatives that, among other things, increase access to affordable and reliable transportation options and modernize existing transportation systems. Launched by the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME), in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform provides grants to mobility and electrification organizations looking to deploy solutions in the state of Michigan. Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis at michiganbusiness.org/mobility-funding.

To learn more about how Michigan is leading in transportation mobility and electrification visit www.michiganbusiness.org/mobility. For more information about the Michigan Mobility Wallet Challenge, email mobilitywalletChallenge@michigan.gov.


View the original release.

MICHauto Convenes Government, Industry, and Education Leaders to Discuss Michigan’s Potential to Become a Hydrogen Hub

During the Center for Automotive Research Seminars in Traverse City, MICHauto convened industry, education, and government leaders to discuss how Michigan can strengthen its strategy to receive a portion of the $8 billion set aside in 2021’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for hydrogen research, development, and production.

Utilize Michigan’s Vast Ports to Facilitate Hydrogen Transportation

Reuben Sarkar from the American Mobility Center opened the conversation by noting that clean energy options are not limited to just battery and electric power. He offered that a good starting point is leveraging how well we can facilitate hydrogen transportation as an aggregate from Detroit to Kentucky via our numerous ports. Sarkar further warned if Michigan doesn’t form a game plan for attracting hydrogen production investments, it will be looked over in favor of other states already preparing to apply for the funds. He suggested the need to develop a state-wide strategy incorporating a compelling narrative about why Michigan is the best candidate.

Zach Kolodin from Gov. Whitmer’s office shared that the state has reached a similar conclusion that transportation is the most compelling narrative. He said we could increase our chances by focusing on existing projects in development that the state can create policy and financial support for.

Sarkar emphasized that Michigan’s ports are an asset because of their potential to be an inter-mobile freight clearing house for rail, boats, and trucks.

Kolodin added Michigan is uniquely positioned to speak to all different parts of the transportation ecosystem because of its international airport, strategically located ports, international border crossing, and OEMs.

Create Incentives for Companies with Transportation and Logistics Solutions

The group agreed that critical move to enhance Michigan’s chances of becoming a hydrogen hub would be getting insight from transportation and logistics companies who can speak to the key corridors and provide numbers. But first, they will need an incentive to participate.

Sarkar said the companies interested in pursuing hydrogen are still seeking one legal entity to be the applicant for the region that everyone is convening with, not to create competition within the same area.

When asked if Michigan has considered entering a memorandum of understanding with other states, Kolodin theorized, “This MOU would create a framework for bringing and supporting hydrogen in the region while providing a communications platform for the state to market itself as a place to attract investment.”

Glenn Stevens Jr. from MICHauto agreed, saying that businesses will be attracted to investing in a region with a focused commitment to hydrogen and a body that ties it together.

Misty Matthews from FORVIA shared that her company is working with the state to get funding for a $20 million R&D facility for hydrogen tanks that would bring at least 80 high-wage, high-skilled engineering jobs to Michigan.

Kolodin closed the conversation by citing New Mexico’s new hydrogen production tax credit bill and adding, “One thing that would help our hub application is if the Michigan legislature began to talk about supporting the hydrogen industry.”

Michigan is the #1 State for Energy-Sector Job Growth

Michigan has been ranked #1 in the nation for energy job growth according to the U.S. Energy and Employment Jobs Report (USEER). The state added 35,463 energy sector jobs from 2020 to 2021, more than any other state in the nation. Michigan’s job growth boosted total energy jobs in the state by almost 10%. Michigan’s 393,207 energy workers represent 5% of all U.S. energy jobs and 9.5% of state jobs.

“Michigan’s economy is on the move. Unemployment is low, small business growth is booming, and we had strong job growth last year. This report shows that Michigan is number one in the nation, adding over 35,000 good-paying energy jobs,” said Governor Whitmer. “When we invest in the future of mobility and clean energy and face climate change head-on, we can create tens of thousands of jobs, build prosperity in every region of our state, and ensure that we remain competitive for future business investment and economic development. I will work with anyone to keep growing Michigan’s economy and energy sector.”

“This report confirms what we already know – Michigan continues to be the number one state to live, work and play,” said Susan Corbin, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity director. “We are committed to making sure everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed in these in-demand, rewarding careers in the energy sector and beyond – building a talent pool that’s second to none and driving the talent to meet employer needs.”

“This report shows that Michigan has a competitive edge in advanced energy and a vibrant industry that continues to create well-paying jobs,” said Dr. Laura Sherman, President of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. “We must continue to establish supportive policies, set ambitious goals, and invest in training and infrastructure to ensure that the advanced energy industry continues to grow and thrive in our state.”

“These numbers demonstrate that the transition to EVs continues to spur job growth in multiple sectors of the economy,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., Executive Director of MICHauto. “The big investments made by Michigan’s automobility industry in electrification are now yielding tangible results. Michigan must continue this momentum by solidifying industry and government partnerships to bring more mobility investment, innovation, and jobs to our state.”

Background on U.S. Energy and Employment Jobs Report 

The report combines employer surveys with public data to track energy job growth in key areas, including electric power generation and transmission, fuels, energy efficiency, and motor vehicles. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the energy sector was a fast-growing part of the economy, with employment growth rates at 3% — double that of the economy as a whole. While the energy sector was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, data shows that the sector has begun to rebound, employing 7.8 million Americans in 2021. The motor vehicle sector in particular grew 9.8% from 2020 to 2021.

Read the full report and coverage here.

Creating Clean Energy Jobs Governor Whitmer is committed to growing Michigan’s economy and creating clean energy jobs. Early in her administration, she made administrative changes to help build the largest solar array East of the Mississippi River. The governor also took steps to ensure that all State of Michigan facilities will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025 and worked to responsibly deploy solar and electric vehicle charging stations on state-owned property and land.

The governor has signed four bipartisan budgets since taking office, investing tens of millions of dollars in clean energy improvements and upgrades for state facilities, families, local governments, houses of worship, and small businesses. Her budgets have also consistently invested in Michigan Saves, the nation’s first nonprofit green bank supporting small businesses and working families with financing energy improvements.

In April, Governor Whitmer unveiled the MI Healthy Climate Plan, a roadmap to grow Michigan’s economy, lower costs for working families and small businesses, create clean energy jobs, and achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050 with interim goals in 2025 and 2030.

Investing in the Future of Mobility and Electrification 

Governor Whitmer has helped Michigan build on its legacy and leadership in mobility. Last year, she worked across the aisle to pass a historic, bipartisan economic development package that empowers Michigan to win big projects and create thousands of good-paying jobs. This package helped Michigan compete for and win an historic $7 billion investment from GM, creating and retaining 5,000 jobs; a $1.7 billion investment from electric vehicle battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution creating 1,200 jobs; and a $2 billion investment from Ford that will create more than 3,200 jobs.

The governor has also launched mobility-focused workforce and talent initiatives like the EV Jobs Academy and the Mobility Talent Action Team to prepare Michigan’s workforce for future electric vehicle and component manufacturing jobs. She has also spearheaded a number of public-private partnerships including REV-Midwest, a 5-state regional electric vehicle charging network; the Lake Michigan Circuit, an electric vehicle route around Lake Michigan with electric vehicle chargers in state parks; and pioneering projects like CAVNUE, a corridor for autonomous vehicle testing, and a road that charges electric vehicles wirelessly while they are moving.

The recent bipartisan budget she signed—her fourth since taking office—included funding for a transformational education project focused on research and mobility centric workforce training at the University of Michigan.


2022 MICHauto by the Bay: Outdoor Mobility Industry Roundtable Round-Up

Over 40 government, industry, and academic stakeholders convened in Traverse City on Aug. 1 to discuss Michigan’s leadership in the outdoor mobility industry, which has an incredible depth of specializations, including ORV and marine vehicle electrification, multimodal charging, and much more. 

Capitalize on Michigan’s Distinctive Outdoor Characteristics and History 

Kicking off the conversation, Warren Call of Traverse Connect asked the group about the values Michigan brings to the outdoor mobility industry compared to other national and international locations.  

Chris MacInnes of Crystal Mountain called Michigan’s value proposition “three-fold,” hinging upon the state’s great outdoors and engineering talent strength. Along with believing that Michigan is a “maker-state” with its advanced technology and testing capacity, she complimented Michigan’s geographic, cultural, and economic diversity, making it a “perfect destination” for the outdoor mobility industry and its incoming talent. 

“Michigan is surrounded by 20% of the world’s fresh water, and our northern geographic location will be a long-term benefit as people migrate from warmer climates to take advantage of what Michigan offers,” MacInnes said. “For Michigan to attract the talent needed for this industry, we need a laser-focused strategy to help talent see the opportunity to live, work, play, learn, and call Michigan home.” 

Quentin Messer Jr. of Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) added the need to “capture the value of our creativity,” citing the modern snowboarding industry’s 1965 founding in Muskegon.  

Michigan Technological University’s Jay Meldrum highlighted the natural resources that Michigan offers to this industry but also noted the infrastructure challenges we face in electrifying this ecosystem and that tackling the infrastructure will be critical to this strategy. 

Nick Thomas of Newlab Detroit noted that connecting the dots between the vast amount of industry specializations is both an opportunity and a challenge. 

Today’s Small Steps for Mobility, Electrification, and Outdoor Recreation in Michigan 

This critical conversation also focused on how businesses and industry leaders can ensure that Michigan is ground zero for mobility, electrification, and outdoor recreation.  

Charlie Tyson of the MEDC’s Office of Future Mobility and Technology noted the State of Michigan and the National Parks Service’s most recent partnership to identify accessibility challenges in our state’s ecosystem and find businesses that could solve those challenges. He also mentioned his office’s partnerships with the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform, their Testing Site Network, and EGLE’s Charge Up Michigan Program. 

Additionally, Scott Canning of Aqua superPower mentioned his company’s progress in making northwest Michigan the nation’s first corridor for electric boat charging. Canning further suggested finding anchor projects, like specific trails to electrify and charge ecosystem pilots, as small but leveraging first wins. 

Josh Stevens of Polaris said the company was drawn to Michigan because of its engineering and design capabilities. For the future, sustainable talent will be key for not only them but the industry at large. Stevens also highlighted some concerns for the outdoor mobility industry that mirror concerns for the electric vehicle industry, like range anxiety, and pressed the need for ample infrastructure to deploy these vehicles across Michigan. 

Additional Considerations That Can Lead to Tomorrow’s Big Wins 

Julie Clark of TART TRAILS noted the challenge of older trail networks that need upgrades for e-bikes. There, the discussion touched on developing loops and nodes that connect across the state to enable deployment in targeted areas that lead to broader coverage. 

Reuben Sarkar of the American Center for Mobility added the consideration of being consumer-driven, like adding focus groups alongside pilots, saying, “we need to keep in mind the financial value proposition for these initiatives so that they are sustainable.” 

Similar discussions like this roundtable will continue at the 2022 North American International Auto Show.  

Governor signs bipartisan legislation to promote autonomous vehicle technology in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed into law a bipartisan effort sponsored by Sen. Ken Horn that will help pave the way for autonomous vehicle roadways in Michigan and keep the state at the forefront of growing automotive technologies.

“Michigan put the world on wheels, but the automotive industry as we know it is beginning to take new forms. We need to solidify Michigan’s role in the future of vehicle technology as well, and this legislation does just that,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “Adapting and testing our roadways goes hand in hand with emerging vehicle technologies, and this law gives us the ability to test smart roads as well.”

Kathryn Snorrason of the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification said the legislation will help secure Michigan’s leadership in the quickly advancing sector.

“We are thrilled to continue growing Michigan’s leadership by setting new global standards for automotive safety, mobility infrastructure and smart cities, through policies like Senate Bill 706,” Snorrason said. “We appreciate the partnership of Gov. Whitmer, Sen. Horn, the Michigan Department of Transportation and others throughout the industry in helping us take this significant step forward as we continue developing, testing and deploying the future of mobility here in Michigan.”

Senate Bill 706, now Public Act 179 of 2022, will set the stage for the development of a connected and automated vehicle corridor in Michigan. The new law will allow the Michigan Department of Transportation and Office of Future Mobility and Electrification to work jointly with the private sector to create and put into use automated vehicle roadway technology in the state.

Under the law, MDOT will have the authority to designate a segment of roadway under its jurisdiction as an AVR.

The legislation was drafted based off of recommendations from the Council on Future Mobility and Electrification and builds on previous efforts initiated by Horn that brought the autonomous vehicle industry to Michigan. In 2016, Horn was one of the sponsors of a bipartisan package that allowed “real world” testing of autonomous vehicles on certain roadways, so long as specific safety measures were met.

“These new technologies are expanding and bringing with them highly skilled jobs — and Michigan workers are ready to take on the task,” Horn said. “This will be another tool we can use to help grow Michigan’s economy long into the future.

“We’ve pioneered the development of automated vehicle technology, and with this step, we’re letting the world know our doors are open, and that we’re ready to take on the next chapter.”


UPDATED: CHIPS Act Signed Into Law

Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022

On Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS Act into law. Biden was joined by lawmakers, local politicians – including Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan – and other business leaders.

Congress passed the CHIPS Act on Thursday, July 28, representing the most significant investment in domestic technology manufacturing in U.S. history. It will provide $52 billion in funding that will spur semiconductor manufacturers across the country to build vital components in America, creating thousands of jobs and securing a supply chain for American industries that rely on them.  

“MICHauto and its members celebrate the passage of this key bipartisan legislation,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “The CHIPS Act will strengthen domestic resilience by onshoring production of the most vital components to the automotive industry while reducing reliance on foreign suppliers at one of the most challenging periods of international economic competition. By bolstering production capabilities, this investment will secure Michigan’s continued automotive manufacturing leadership.” 

The Chamber and MICHauto’s Role 

In March 2022, MICHauto hosted Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) for a field hearing at the Detroit Regional Chamber headquarters in Detroit, offering testimony on the industry’s most pressing issues, including supply chain shortages and how the CHIPS Act could resolve those challenges.  

Additionally, in May 2022, the Chamber joined over 200 organizations to sign the “CHIPS for America Act” coalition letter sent to Members of the United States Congress. As stated in the letter, “The demand for semiconductors has outstripped supply. Approval of funding provisions would help meet this long-term challenge by incentivizing semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing in the United States.” 

Economic Impact 

The shortage’s impact has affected every corner of the state. Of the $52 billion of funding within the act, $2 billion will be dedicated to the production incentivization of the “mature node” semiconductors used by automakers and parts suppliers. For Michigan, it means its automakers can ramp up manufacturing efforts, creating thousands of good-paying jobs for Michiganders, and lowering the price point of their vehicles.  

Further, other Michigan business sectors will once again be able to get the silicone supply they need to produce other essential and critical products such as medical equipment, agricultural machinery, and radiation-proof chips for our national defense industrial base. This will strengthen the U.S. economy, national security, and supply chain resilience and increase the supply of chips crucial to our entire economy. 

Glenn Stevens Jr. On WPHM With Caleb Gordon: How Will Electrification Affect Automotive Suppliers?

Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives at the Detroit Regional Chamber, spoke with Caleb Gordon at WPHM about the latest happenings in the automotive and mobility industry. Listen to the full episode below.


Chamber, MICHauto Priorities Included In Bipartisan 2023 State Budget

On July 20, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a balanced, bipartisan state budget of $76 billion for the Fiscal Year 2023, which includes funding for several Detroit Regional Chamber-aligned initiatives and reflects business priorities the Chamber advocated for on behalf of its members.

According to the press release issued by the Governor’s office, this budget makes a $180 million deposit to the Budget Stabilization Fund, bringing the rainy-day fund balance to an all-time high of $1.6 billion.

Further, the Economy and Workforce budget investments focus on building substantial talent in the workforce, regional economic development, and ample support for small businesses.

These investments include record funding for Michigan Reconnect, a program that has offered tens of thousands of Michiganders a tuition-free pathway to higher education and skills training. The Chamber operates the Detroit Reconnect program through Detroit Drives Degrees to offer similar support on a more regional level.

The budget also funds Going PRO, which helps small businesses develop in-house talent and fill high-skilled, good-paying job openings in high-demand industries like advanced manufacturing, construction, and automotive. MICHauto and its members directly advocated for this funding, playing a key role in its prominent inclusion in the budget and forthcoming expanded capacity.

“Michigan’s leaders are investing in the priorities that matter to Michigan businesses,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber. “Employers are crying out for talent and investing in programs that have proven records of success like Reconnect and Going PRO will help employers fill urgent talent gaps.”

The budget also kicks off a “Buy Michigan” campaign to support Michigan-grown and raised products, funds the Pure Michigan campaign to promote and boost local tourism, and funds the Office of Rural Development, which provides support for food and agriculture businesses through economic development.

“I am pleased we were able to effectively use taxpayer dollars to provide critical everyday services while also improving our infrastructure, protecting our communities, and building a stronger economy,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas (R-Midland) in the press release from the Governor’s office. “We have achieved a transformational state budget focused on long-term results and economic growth. And it does it all while living within our means, setting aside resources to provide future tax relief to struggling Michigan families and saving for a rainy day.”

To further add to the pro-Michigan initiatives, there is $75 million dedicated to the Community Development Financial Institution, $500,000 to Mack Avenue Corridor Improvement’s Engineering Phase, $4 million to the Detroit Historical Society Museum, and $100 million to the University of Michigan Innovation Center.

“In Michigan, we have proven once again that Democrats and Republicans can come together to get things done,” said Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) in the state’s release. “This bipartisan budget will make a real difference in the lives of Michiganders. With investments in workforce programs, key regional projects, public safety, and so much more, we are investing in the people of Michigan.”

Click here to read the full press release.