EV boom sparks new supply base in Michigan

Crain’s Detroit Business
Nov. 29, 2021
Kurt Nagl 

The multi-billion-dollar commitments of automakers and their suppliers to an electric vehicle future has spurred a battery-powered gold rush in Southeast Michigan.

Vehicles with a battery core as opposed to an internal combustion engine require a new kind of supply base and pose a unique set of challenges, from combustibility and safety issues to longevity and range concerns.

The supplier with a solution stands to cash in on the industry’s new direction. Many are hoping to seize on the opportunity by expanding their scope of business and placing big bets on products and services.

Automakers are poised to spend more than $300 billion to shift production to EVs over the next five years, according to consulting firm AlixPartners LP. General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis NV have said they aim for up to 50 percent of new car sales to be EVs by 2030.

“You can always look at any disruption as an opportunity, and now is really a good time for a small supplier startup and also nontraditional companies usually outside the supply chain to enter into the game,” said Tingting Yan, professor of global supply chain management at Wayne State University. “All the OEMs and big tier ones, they are forced to think about how they need to restructure their existing supply base.”

Among the EV opportunists is Wei Wu, an entrepreneur who built a $100 million-a-year business and is banking on battery chemistry for the next chapter of growth.

His company, Ann Arbor-based Pacific Industrial Development Corp., started in 1992 as an importer of rare earth metals from China. It has grown into a major manufacturer of catalyst chemicals for the automotive and petrochemical industries.

Its next pursuit is solving one of the EV’s most worrisome problems: the potential for batteries to overheat and burst into flames. “Those are really critical things – to solve that safety issue and maintain the cost and also increase the battery cycle life,” Wu said.

GM’s EV production has been plagued by the issue. Other automakers including Volkswagen, Ford and BMW have dealt with similar problems.

A common cause of fires in lithium-ion batteries is when material from the battery’s two main parts, the cathode and anode, come into contact. Pacific Industrial is developing a ceramic-like, flame retardant material, whose composition is kept secret for competitive reasons, that is applied to the thin film separating the two, theoretically preventing that from happening.

Wu is confident in its application. Pacific Industrial this month opened a $2 million advanced battery materials lab in Ann Arbor, where a half-dozen Ph.D.-level employees are focused on developing the material. It could be the ticket to millions of dollars in new revenue — potentially $200 million in the next couple of years, Wu said, given the rapidly growing market.

The global market size for EV batteries is expected to grow from $27.3 billion this year to $155 billion in 2028, according to market research firm Fortune Business Insights.

“There’s a lot of players in those market segments,” Wu said of battery cell and pack supply. “In our area, this is still a niche market. It’s not very crowded.”

Wu’s battery material business is in the R&D phase and not generating significant revenue, but the company is engaged in joint development agreements and collaborations with local OEMs and startups. The company has several patents pending and expects the material to go to market within two years.

“People haven’t put a lot of effort in this area, and we think we are one of the leading players, actually,” Wu said.

American Battery Solutions, one of the new players in battery manufacturing, is seeing big growth and return on investment. The Orion Township-based battery maker started in 2019 with 12 employees and has expanded to 200 employees with an expected revenue of $50 million next year.

CEO Subhash Dhar is projecting $500 million in sales by 2025 and $1 billion by 2028 because, according to him, the market is ripe for the taking.

“It’s not a crowded space at all,” Dhar said. “There are a lot of people trying to get into this space but there’s not a whole lot of competition because to be in this space, you need three elements. You need the component supply agreement with suppliers, you need customers and you need the know-how to connect the two.”

Funding is another major factor. ABS is owned by principal investment fund KCK Group, which has invested $200 million in the company to date.

Most of the company’s sales are from battery supply deals for buses, delivery trucks and industrial equipment. Another prong of business is stationary grid-connected battery solutions, such as battery storage facilities for utility companies.

ABS declined to name its customers, citing nondisclosure agreements, but said it has around 15 clients with long-term deals.

Dhar said the company’s 120,000-square-foot plant in Michigan is focused on prototype production and testing, while its 180,000-square-foot plant in Ohio handles mass production. He said full-scale production of battery packs for buses and trucks is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2022. He anticipates hiring another 100 employees in Michigan in that time frame.

Entrepreneurs are also finding new ways to plug into the EV boom. The Biden administration’s recently signed infrastructure package included $6 billion for companies in the EV space. That’s helped sparked development in areas from new battery technology to charging solutions.

The EV charger market is expected to grow from $17.6 billion this year to $112 billion by 2028, according to Fortune Business Insights.

William McCoy left careers in the real estate and automotive dealership industries in hopes of carving out a piece of the EV charging pie. McCoy moved to Michigan from Washington, D.C., two years ago with his wife Marissa McCoy, assistant general manager at Heidebreicht Chevrolet in Washington Township in Macomb County.

“I had a passion for EVs, but I also realized the infrastructure wasn’t there,” he said. “Instead of me trying to create an EV charger, I decided to tackle the hardest issue, which is installation.”

The McCoys invested around $9,000 to start Current Dealers LLC, an electrical contractor and service provider for EV chargers. In the past six months, the company’s handful of employees have installed more than 100 residential chargers and made sales of around $250,000. McCoy said it is targeting dealerships and grocery chains for larger growth and is expecting upward of $10 million in revenue next year.

“This need for EV chargers came about because dealers ended up in a situation where OEMs are saying, look you got to get yourself ready and prepared,” McCoy said.

Investing in EVs is not without risk and should be done in a measured fashion, especially for big automakers, which still get most of their money from the sales of traditional engine cars, Yan said. At the same time, playing it safe isn’t a winning strategy.

“It’s very risky,” she said. “Whenever you’re doing innovation, that means you invest a lot and you get a little out of it.”

View the original article.

Michigan Matters: EV’s Supercharging Impact Across Metro Detroit

62 CBS Detroit
Nov. 28, 2021

As the electric vehicle revolution unfolds,  companies, suppliers and organizations are adjusting as Joseph Grace, Vice President, Head of Physical and Functional Design & Integration, Stellantis; Vuk Milojkovic, CEO, BASF Toda America LLC; Glenn Stevens, Executive Director, MICHauto and Vice President, Automotive & Mobility Initiatives at Detroit Regional Chamber; and Rod Alberts, Executive Director of Detroit Auto Dealers Association, discussed on “Michigan Matters” airing 8 a.m. this Sunday on CBS 62.

Grace talked with Carol Cain, Senior Producer/Host, about the company’s goal to bring more electric vehicles to the global market and how its wind tunnel at its Auburn Hills headquarters is helping in that effort.

Milojkovic talked how BASF, a 156-year old company that started in Germany and grown  globally to include important operations in the electric space in Michigan, has been evolving. He discussed its Battle Creek plant which is creating products used on EV batteries.

Stevens talked how his organization—part of the Detroit Regional Chamber — is helping to promote the region for businesses tied to mobility – and how the push for electric vehicles presents unique challenges and opportunities. Stevens also talked about the Biden administation’s push for EVs which has included his recent visit to GM’s Factory Zero.

And Rod Alberts, who stages the North American International Auto Show and Motor Bella – held for the first time in September at the M1 Concourse—talked how dealers are adjusting to mobility changes.

View the original article.

Glenn Stevens Joins WILS’s Dave Ackerly to talk about President Biden’s Visit to GM’s Factory Zero

On Nov. 18, Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto, was joined WILS’s Dave Ackerly to President Biden’s visit to totally remolded GM Factory Zero. Glenn discussed the history of the plant and what the President’s speech meant for Michigan’s automotive industry.

“Today’s announcement is good for Michigan, good for Michigan businesses, and another sign that Michigan’s signature automotive industry is the global leader in innovation,” said Stevens. “President Biden and GM’s Mary Barra highlighted the importance of the American worker and ingenuity, and MICHauto is proud to work with industry leaders to ensure our state is at the epicenter of 21st-century talent.”

While celebrating the opening of Factory Zero, President Biden promoted the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The President celebrated industrial innovation in green technology and argued it could all be done without increasing inflation or veering into significant debt.

“We’re going to make sure that the jobs of the future end up here in Michigan, not halfway around the world,” he said. “Here in Detroit, we’re going to set a new pace for electric vehicles. This is not hyperbole. It’s a fact.”

GM has committed to a future of electrification, dedicating $35 billion to electric and autonomous vehicle development and planning to launch 30 EVs globally through 2025. The automaker aims to have an all-electric light-vehicle portfolio by 2035.

 

MICHauto Investors Among CADIA 2021 Impact Award Winners

On Friday, Nov. 12, the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion, and Advancement (CADIA) announced winners of their annual Impact Awards. The CADIA Impact Awards recognize excellence in and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the automotive industry. This year, CADIA received more than 70 nominations for awards in four categories: Leadership Commitment, Systemic Change, Creating Inclusive Cultures, and Champion for Diverse Talent. Winners and runner-ups of this year’s awards included several MICHauto investor companies, including American Axle and Manufacturing Inc., BorgWarner, Brose, Stellantis, and Shape Corp.

 

Leadership Commitment Award

Winner: Stellantis

Runner Up: Mark White, President and Chief Executive Officer, Shape Corp.

Runner Up: Priya Gurumurthy, Director, IT, Yanfeng

 

Systemic Change Award

Winner: Seth Kaempfer, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Specialist, Walser Automotive Group

Runner Up: Amanda Ludwig, Human Resources Business Partner, Brose

Runner Up: Kevin Freeman, Chief Counsel, Securities and Transactions, Tenneco

 

Creating Inclusive Cultures Award

Winner: MacKenzie Gibson, Innovation Engineer, Yanfeng

Runner Up: Kristi VanWormer, Senior Sr. Manager, Marketing and Communication, AAM

Runner Up: BorgWarner Women in Science and Engineering

 

Champion for Diverse Talent Award

Winner: Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA)

Runner Up: Ashwini Balasubramanian, Global Director, Market Intelligence, Martinrea

Runner Up: Scott Thiele, Head, Portfolio Planning, Stellantis

 

In addition, CADIA presented the Power of One Award:

Winner: Comau

Runner Up: Patricia (Lani) Glancy, Vice President, Talent Development, DEI, and Communications, AutoZone

Runner Up: Kerri Wise, Vice President, Marketing, AutoFi; President, Women of Color Automotive Network (WOCAN)


For more on the 2021 winners, visit https://www.automotivediversity.org/impact-awards/.

Securing the Future of Automotive Tech: New Talent Attraction and Retention

On Nov. 18, Carolyn Sauer, senior director of MICHauto, took the stage during Automotive Tech Week to lead a conversation on Securing the Future of Automotive Tech. The panel discussion brought together experts from the automotive industry, state government, and education sector, to highlight the action that is needed to fill the automotive and mobility talent pipeline for sustainable growth and innovation. Panelists included:

  • Britany Affolter-Caine, Executive Director, University Research Corridor
  • Ryan Hundt, Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Works! Association
  • Ronia Kruse, President and Chief Executive Officer, OpTech
  • Joerg Weisgerber, Chief Executive Officer, HELLA

In opening remarks, Sauer touched on the substantial talent crisis with which the automotive and mobility industry is contending across the state of Michigan. There is a lack of workers to fill open positions and a shortage of workers with the “right” skills to fill the growing number of high-tech jobs.

While the talent shortage isn’t new, Sauer noted that it’s a topic that desperately needs a solution. In fact, in September Forbes reported that 54% of companies globally cannot find the talent they need, while The Wall Street Journal stated that 4.3 million workers have disappeared from the workforce.

Panelists highlighted the factors that have compounded the shortage, including:

  • Attraction to the industry is still impacted by perception, requiring the industry to be consistently branded as high-tech, growing, global, and inclusive.
  • Basic needs like child care, transportation, and housing make it difficult for people to get to work, leading to programs like Going PRO, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Extended competition with tech companies that offer jobs to students earlier in the pipeline.

In addition to industry-wide campaigns and state programs, employers are turning to more creative approaches to recruitment. Weisgerber highlighted two areas where HELLA is reaching back into the pipeline to secure talent, now and into the future: (1) HELLA Scholars, a program that secures high school graduates as interns during their four years of college in exchange for tuition reimbursement and the likelihood of full-time employment upon graduation; (2) working with students at an Inkster elementary school to get students engaged and excited about robotics earlier in their education.

While programs like HELLA Scholars have been successful, more needs to be done to support the industry. Panelists noted the need for action to continue to build Michigan’s talent pipeline in automotive and mobility tech. Short-term solutions can be implemented in the industry, but longer-term solutions will require funding at the state-level to widen the pipeline of young talent, by engaging students as young as kindergarten in STEM and STEAM programs. All panelists agreed that with funding opportunities ahead, the industry, educational sector, and state need to be in the same room to develop a collective solution. And, most importantly, all agreed that there must be less talk and more action.

President Biden Celebrates Michigan’s Global Automotive Leadership At GM’s Factory Zero

President Joe Biden came to Michigan on Wednesday, Nov. 17, to help open General Motor Co.’s retooled Factory Zero Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center. The President was joined by GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, United Auto Workers President Ray Curry, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation, MICHauto executive director Glenn Stevens Jr., and more at the event. It is GM’s second EV plant so far within its North American footprint and is central to the company’s plan to pivot from gas and diesel-powered vehicles to EVs.

Production is now set to begin at the former Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, less than two years after GM announced the massive $2.2 billion investment to fully renovate the facility to build a variety of all-electric trucks and SUVs.

“GM’s U.S. manufacturing expertise is key to achieving our all-electric future,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “This is a monumental day for the entire GM team. We retooled Factory ZERO with the best, most advanced technology in the world to build the highest quality electric vehicles for our customers.”

The name Factory ZERO reflects the significant role the facility plays in advancing GM’s vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion. Factory ZERO will be home to the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV Pickup, 2024 GMC HUMMER EV SUV, Chevrolet Silverado EV, and the Cruise Origin, an all-electric, self-driving, shared vehicle. When fully operational, Factory ZERO will employ more than 2,200.

What it Means for Michigan

“Today’s announcement is good for Michigan, good for Michigan businesses, and another sign that Michigan’s signature automotive industry is the global leader in innovation,” said MICHauto’s Glenn Stevens Jr. “President Biden and GM’s Mary Barra highlighted the importance of the American worker and ingenuity, and MICHauto is proud to work with industry leaders to ensure our state is at the epicenter of 21st-century talent.”

While celebrating the opening of Factory Zero, President Biden promoted the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The President celebrates industrial innovation in green technology and argued it could all be done without increasing inflation or veering into significant debt.

“We’re going to make sure that the jobs of the future end up here in Michigan, not halfway around the world,” he said. “Here in Detroit, we’re going to set a new pace for electric vehicles. This is not hyperbole. It’s a fact.”

GM has committed to a future of electrification, dedicating $35 billion to electric and autonomous vehicle development and planning to launch 30 EVs globally through 2025. The automaker aims to have an all-electric light-vehicle portfolio by 2035.

IHS Markit expects battery-electric vehicle sales to make up 15 percent of U.S. light-vehicle sales by 2025 and 34 percent by 2030.

Factory ZERO – a commitment to sustainability

As an EV assembly plant, Factory ZERO plays a direct role in GM’s commitment to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035 and become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040. The company has already committed to invest $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles and plans to introduce more than 30 EV models by 2025. Factory ZERO serves as a real-world proof point for GM’s commitment to running its business in a sustainable manner.

Factory ZERO highlights include:

  • GM reused or recycled almost every material that came out of the facility during conversion, including crushed concrete from the old plant floor, which was repurposed for temporary roads around the facility.
  • Storm water will be recycled to reduce discharge costs and offset the cost of potable water.
  • Treated storm water will be used in cooling towers and the plant’s fire suppression system.
  • The site features a 30-kilowatt solar carport and 516-kW ground-mounted photovoltaic solar array from DTE Energy.
  • Factory ZERO’s site has a 16.5-acre wildlife habitat that is home to monarchs, foxes and turkeys.

Through Factory ZERO, GM is showcasing its manufacturing leadership capability and readiness for what will be a fundamental shift in mobility as the company transitions to an all-electric future.

Ford sets COVID-19 vaccine mandate for ‘most’ salaried U.S. employees by Dec. 8

Crain’s Detroit Business
Nov. 3, 2021
Michael Martinez 

Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will require most of its salaried employees in the U.S. to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8, in line with the Biden administration’s deadline for federal contractors.

“The health and safety of our workforce remains our top priority and we have been very encouraged by the support of our employees to comply with our protocols, including the more than 84 percent of U.S. salaried employees who are already vaccinated,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “As we continue to put measures in place to protect our team, Ford will now require most U.S. salaried employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8, which also aligns to federal contractor guidelines.”

The news was first reported by Detroit radio station WWJ.

Previously, the automaker had encouraged its U.S. workers to get the shots but had not mandated it, aside from certain employees who travel internationally. So far, the Detroit 3 have not required U.S. unionized factory workers to receive the vaccine, and the UAW has said it has not tracked how many members have been immunized.

But in Canada, the U.S. automakers are moving forward with a vaccine mandate at their plants despite the call from the Unifor union for a pause.

The automaker said it was continuing to evaluate its policy for employees in manufacturing locations, parts depots and Ford Credit, including analyzing federal and collective bargaining requirements.

Ford has delayed return-to-office plans for its salaried workforce until January.

View the original article.

CEO Spotlight: Axion’s Jim Lill

Jim Lill is the chief executive officer of Axion. MICHauto spoke with Lill about his leadership style and how he keeps his team motivated when faced with adversity.

What single person or leader has been instrumental in shaping your leadership style as CEO?

My father who said, “Wake up, work hard, and do the right thing.” I believe in leading by example. I’m the first one to the office in the morning and the last to leave. I take time to meet with employees and congratulate them on their successes and help them overcome their challenges. When faced with a compromising situation, making the morally right decision will pay dividends now and in another life.

What is an important lesson you learned early in your career?

Good things take a while. Be patient, be professional, and be honest and you will be successful.  Have a plan. Stick with it. Tweak the plan when need be. Stay a step ahead of your competitors. Respect all those around you because without them you are on an island.

What are the most important attributes of successful leaders today?

On a very practical level, successful leaders must be adapting to the market quickly and with prescience. Technology and communications make for a rapidly changing business environment and require adaptation. A static business plan is one that goes backwards. Take some risk. Don’t be afraid to be innovative, but also be prepared to pull back when you need to. Intuition is a good thing, use it to evaluate people and situations.

What advice do you have for the next generation?

This might sound like I’m a contrarian, but good things come to those who are patient and stay the course. If you are good at something stick with it. If you’re with a good company, be loyal. Never stop learning.  Knowledge is power. Seek mentorship and offer it, too. Seek other interests as the renaissance man always has a place in the business world and personal life.

What unique skillsets is the next generation of workforce bringing with them?

100% their ability to leverage technology, be creative and innovative, and to be generally “quick studies.” I’ve noticed that young people can easily pivot. They know where to find answers. They are more likely to speak up.

How do you keep your team motivated in the face of conflicts or obstacles?

“Slow and steady wins the race” is our mantra. There will be nexuses and nadirs, for each high and low there is another opportunity. Be ready, have a plan, then execute the plan. Be prepared to teach your co-workers about the failures of the past. Great leaders mostly have failed many times before they find real success. Steve Jobs came to mind, he had been fired from the company he founded and then was called back to the glorious leadership of his company and took it to unimaginable heights.

MICHauto and the Chamber Join Gov. Whitmer in Supporting ‘Jobs Court’ Pilot Program to Keep Communities Safe by Putting Michiganders to Work

LANSING, Mich. — Today, as part of Governor Whitmer’s MI Safe Communities Plan, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II joined Attorney General Dana Nessel, MICHauto, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, Detroit Manufacturing Systems, Goodwill Industries, the United Auto Workers, other businesses across state, and representatives from the law enforcement and criminal justice communities to announce a new proposal called Jobs Court, which would put Michiganders accused of low-level, nonviolent offenses in good-paying jobs to reduce recidivism and help businesses staff up.

“The Jobs Court proposal we unveiled today will make a crucial difference for Michiganders, their families, and communities,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Jobs Court will help address the backlog in our court system, fill job openings across the state, grow our economy, and connect those in need with critical resources. I’m thankful for the hard work of Attorney General Nessel in putting this proposal together and look forward to working with the legislature to get it done.”

The new proposal, part of the larger MI Safe Communities framework the governor laid out in August, would make a $5.5 million investment to establish Jobs Court, a pilot program to give up to 450 eligible defendants in Wayne, Genesee and Marquette counties accused of low-level, nonviolent crimes an opportunity to obtain and maintain gainful employment.

“Providing people with another chance in life and an opportunity to contribute to society is good for businesses and communities throughout Michigan,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives Detroit Regional Chamber. “MICHauto is proud to support the Jobs Court initiative and applauds Gov. Whitmer and Attorney General Nessel for their leadership in developing the program. Companies throughout our state need talent, and this pilot program has the potential to change the trajectory of people’s lives, and help grow Michigan’s economy and labor force.”

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward in our efforts to reform Michigan’s criminal justice system so that it is focused on rehabilitation and positioning people for success,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. “Jobs are the key to success, and Jobs Court will support eligible Michiganders by connecting them with good-paying jobs, benefits, and the social services assistance they need to support themselves and their families. With today’s proposal we are addressing a root cause of public safety issues by connecting eligible offenders with the support they need to find and maintain employment.”

“Jobs Court is an innovative program that checks all of the boxes: it’s smart on crime, reduces the burden on our criminal justice system, puts offenders on a permanent path to success, helps our local businesses, and makes our communities safer,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. “I am grateful to Governor Whitmer for including my proposal as part of her MI Safe Communities framework and I look forward to working with the Legislature and our local law enforcement partners on this groundbreaking new initiative.”

Individuals who qualify and are selected for Jobs Court would be matched with participating employers to work a good-paying job with benefits, opportunity, and training to learn transferable career skills. They will be required to maintain frequent and open communication with their employer and with the State of Michigan to ensure accountability and compliance with the requirements of the program and will be eligible for wraparound services such as mental healthcare, transportation to and from work, and access to a social worker. Prosecutors will be offered the option to dismiss charges against Jobs Court participants who successfully complete the one-year program.

“Survey after survey tell us that the public wants courts that are engaged with local communities and connected with the people they serve,” said Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack. “Jobs Court provides exactly what the public is asking for – courts that are community resources, helping to connect people with jobs and the support they need to get their lives back on track. This is not a free ride but a common sense approach that solves problems and strengthens communities.”

The Jobs Court proposal is modeled in part on the successful programs the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) has launched to provide prisoners with education, skills, and job training in high-demand fields. Since 2016, MDOC programs such as Vocational Village have delivered training in automotive technology, welding, robotics, computer coding, commercial truck driving, forklift operation, carpentry, plumbing, electrical trades, and concrete and masonry work. MDOC’s work in this field has resulted in higher employment rates for released prisoners and Michigan’s lowest recidivism rate in state history.

“What an amazing opportunity! A good-paying job with benefits is everything,” said N. Charles Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Detroit & Southeastern Michigan. “This Jobs Court prosecutorial diversion program will help Michiganders who have committed nonviolent offenses earn a good wage with benefits, learn new employable skills, and get back on their feet, setting them up for success, period. This is a bold initiative that targets criminal justice issues at their roots. We’re very appreciative for the partnership of Attorney General Nessel and Governor Whitmer in proposing this crucial, much needed reform to our criminal justice system.”

“At DMS, we are passionate about helping others reach their full potential to succeed in life,” said Bruce Smith, majority owner, chairman & chief executive officer of Detroit Manufacturing Systems (DMS), a Chamber member and MICHauto investor. “Having the opportunity to partner with the MI Jobs Court to provide program participants with an opportunity to obtain gainful employment is exciting because we enjoy helping people grow, rise and give back. Accordingly, we are grateful to be a part of the Governor and Attorney General’s MI Jobs Court program.”

MI Safe Communities
The $75 million MI Safe Communities proposal was the result of hundreds of conversations the governor and her team had with law enforcement officers, community leaders, faith leaders, and families over several months. Based on those conversations, the governor announced the three-pillar MI Safe Communities framework in July.

MI Safe Communities would:

  • Invest more money into Michigan’s police departments to strengthen training policies and programs and foster collaboration between the Michigan State Police and local departments on specialty services.
  • Increase the number of visiting judges with funding for prosecution and defense to tackle the backlog of criminal cases that has piled up during the pandemic, to protect the rights of defendants and help the justice system operate more efficiently while maintaining public safety.
  • Make comprehensive investments to expand opportunity through Michigan’s education, jobs, and justice system including Collaborative Community Violence Intervention Programs, counseling, peer support, mediation, and social services to hospital patients recovering from violent injuries and prevent further violence and injuries.

Funding Law Enforcement
Since taking office, Governor Whitmer has signed budget bills delivering $1.4 billion to local governments to help them fund local police, fire departments, and emergency medical services. She has also delivered $40 million in COVID hazard pay for local officers and first-responders and over $10 million premium pay for MSP troopers. These dollars help ensure police are better equipped to fight crime today and have the resources to fight crime tomorrow.

Budget
Earlier this month, the governor signed the Fiscal Year 2022 budget bill that delivers more resources to state police to help them hire more troopers and expand and improve training. The latest budget also invests in 911 system upgrades and delivers on the kitchen-table fundamental issues that make our communities stronger: putting 167,000 Michiganders on a tuition-free path to higher-education or skills training, expanding low or no-cost childcare to 105,000 kids, repairing or replacing 100 bridges while creating 2,500 jobs, and more.

Earlier this year, Governor Whitmer and legislature worked together to put Michigan students first and passed the largest significant education investment in state history, closing the funding gap between schools in Michigan and including a historic amount of resources for schools to hire more nurses, counselors, and social workers. Early investments in mental and social health help reduce crime in the long run.

Coalition urges Michigan to invest $600M for EV infrastructure, workforce training

The Detroit News
Nov 1, 2021
Breana Noble 

A coalition of nonprofits and businesses on Monday called upon the state legislature to invest $600 million for electric-vehicle and alternative fuel infrastructure, workforce training and site preparation to preserve Michigan’s mobility leadership.

The 28 organizations’ proposal builds upon existing programs and recommendations made recently by the Council on Future Mobility and Electrification report as the transportation industry undergoes a historic transformation toward alternative fuels with fewer emissions that require different workforce skills, charging stations and new facilities. The proposal comes as the legislature discusses how to use funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and excess money from the general fund.

“This a historic opportunity for us,” said Frank Houston, regional program manager for the BlueGreen Alliance, an environmental and labor organization. “We’re Michigan; we’re positioned to come out ahead of this, but every report, every white paper, everything we’ve put out shows failure to invest now in the changes underway will cost our communities, our workers far more than making the $600 million investment we are calling for today.”

The MI Clean Future proposal would allocate $100 million for site development. This comes after the state said it didn’t compete for an $11.4 billion investment by Ford Motor Co. and partner SK Innovation for a new EV assembly plant and three battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky.

The $100 million would ready six large sites and 30 smaller sites that could generate $11.4 billion in private investment, create nearly 20,000 jobs and support $10 million in public-private match funds, according to the report.

“This proposal will help Michigan be a real contender for the next big electric vehicle manufacturing facility,” Jane McCurry, executive director of nonprofit Clean Fuels Michigan, said during a news conference from the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing.

Another $100 million would go toward recruiting and retaining jobs in the transportation sector, which accounts for 20% of Michigan jobs. That includes $30 million for helping to transition workers for the new technologies and $10 million for public education efforts.

There would be $100 million for clean school buses and transit buses and $100 million for clean municipal and state fleet vehicles.

The proposal also includes $50 million for EV chargers and other alternative-fueling stations, which could function as matching funds should the federal government pass an infrastructure spending bill, and $40 million for EV chargers at low-income and multifamily housing. Pilot infrastructure projects also would receive $15 million, including charging hubs, in-road charging, connected vehicle projects and more.

There also would be a $5 million study and pilot to find a long-term solution for road funding in light of falling revenue from gas taxes.

“We have an opportunity today,” Joshua Bylsma, CEO of Tradion, a Grand Haven-based EV charger provider, “to make the investment for our future tomorrow.”

Member of the coalition include the following:

  • Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America — Michigan Chapter
  • Blink Charging
  • BlueGreen Alliance
  • CALSTART
  • Ceres
  • Clean Fuels Michigan
  • Ecology Center
  • Environmental Law and Policy Center
  • EVHybridNoire
  • Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association
  • Icom North America LLC
  • ITC Holdings Corp.
  • Lion Electric
  • MI Air MI Health
  • Michigan Clean Cities
  • Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action
  • Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council
  • Michigan Environmental Council
  • Michigan Propane Gas Association
  • Michigan Soybean Association
  • Navistar Inc.
  • Navya Inc
  • Powerlink Systems
  • Rhombus Energy Solutions
  • Roush CleanTech
  • The Electrification Coalition
  • Tradion
  • ZappyRide

View the original article.