MichAuto > Blog > Advocacy > Gov. Whitmer Launches New Office to Help Michiganders Benefit from Transitions in the Auto and Energy Sectors

Gov. Whitmer Launches New Office to Help Michiganders Benefit from Transitions in the Auto and Energy Sectors

February 14, 2024

LANSING, Mich. – As Michigan continues to win major investment from high-tech companies, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer launched the state’s new Community & Worker Economic Transition Office to develop proactive strategies that help companies and Michiganders take full advantage of the high-tech, high-paying jobs coming to the state.

“Michigan can lead and build the future of clean energy as we bring home more critical supply chains and create thousands more good-paying jobs,” said Governor Whitmer. “To ensure that Michiganders can get these jobs, we launched the new Community & Worker Economic Transition Office. Their mission is to connect workers to the in-demand, high-skill jobs that will be created right here in Michigan in the decades ahead building electric vehicles, batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, and so much more. By working closely with our workers and manufacturers, we can expand opportunity and grow Michigan’s economy. Let’s get it done.”

The office is an important piece of the Clean Energy and Jobs Package and aims to support communities, workers and employers by ensuring they can proactively prepare for, benefit from and shape Michigan’s future economy. The 2023 Clean Jobs America Report stated that clean energy businesses in Michigan added more than 5,400 workers in 2022 and now employ 123,983 Michiganders. Michigan now leads the Midwest in number of clean energy workers. According to the World Resource Institute, by the year 2040, the state could create 41,000 new jobs as it advances electric vehicle manufacturing and with the build-out of renewable energy, like solar and wind.

Housed within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), the office will lead efforts to develop a statewide plan for upcoming advancements into high-tech EV manufacturing and clean energy opportunities. The office will help build a more resilient state workforce by helping workers access high-quality jobs and providing employers with proactive direction to funding and resources to retool their equipment and train their employees to keep up with the evolving demand for electric vehicles and clean energy technologies.

While other states have created Just Transition offices with a narrower focus, Michigan’s Economic Transition Office is the first in the nation to address shifts to renewable energy in both the utility and auto sectors, making up more than 20% of the state’s economy.

“The new Economic Transition Office will not only allow us to effectively address the shifts happening in the utility and auto sectors, which are vital components of our state’s economy, but it will also ensure the communities, workers and employers who stand to be impacted the most from these changes have the tools and support they need to take advantage of this new future,” said Jonathan Smith, senior chief deputy director at LEO, who is leading the launch of the new office.


The Economic Transition Office will continue to prioritize collaboration with community leaders and stakeholders to co-create a clear vision for a vibrant diversified economy and design and execute a strategy to address the most pressing risks facing our state’s regions. The office will also centralize information on regional and federal resources, track initiatives, provide technical assistance and capacity building support to connect communities to resources and centralizing best practices.

“The shift to renewable energy and electric vehicles to address climate change is going to have a major impact on our state’s economy and create new opportunities,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “I appreciate the Governor’s leadership in creating an office within state government that is dedicated solely to helping companies and their employees successfully navigate this transition.”


The Economic Transition Office will help workers on their path to these high-tech, high-pay jobs by increasing awareness of, and decreasing barriers to accessing resources, as well as partnering with community leaders to influence design of new programs that fill gaps. The office will collaborate with workforce partners, ensuring priority populations receive proactive outreach.

“Good union auto and manufacturing jobs are part of Michigan’s DNA and are what put the world on wheels and gave rise to the American middle class,” said Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber. “As we race to combat climate change and make Michigan a leader in clean energy, the Economic Transition Office will help make sure the workers who built this state are part of building its future.”


In advancing Michigan’s economic and equity goals, the office will also include a focus on targeting opportunities to support small and medium-sized businesses, women and minority-owned businesses, and those that have already experienced losses from the decline of manufacturing jobs. The office is also committed to promoting businesses that prioritize paying good wages, providing decent benefits and ensuring the fair treatment of workers.

“MichAuto looks forward to providing input and guidance to the Community and Worker Economic Transition Office as it undertakes its important mission,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., Executive Director of MichAuto and Vice President of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives at the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Embracing clean energy technologies and sustainable practices will support the evolution and longevity of Michigan’s signature automotive and mobility industry as it continues to evolve.”

The Economic Transition Office will also create a data-driven central source of information including perspective on likely economic scenarios regional opportunity and most effective interventions.
To learn more about the Community & Worker Economic Transition Office and to sign up for updates, visit www.michigan.gov/EconomicTransition.