Whitmer Reels in Hundreds of Jobs as More Big-Name Companies Rush to ‘Make it in Michigan’

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said companies picked Michigan over other states for their recent expansion projects because of "strength in the future of mobility and the semiconductor supply chain.” (Governor Gretchen Whitmer via Facebook)

By Kyle Kaminski

June 30, 2023

Three new business expansion projects are set to bring nearly 700 new jobs to Michigan after they received several million dollars in state economic development grants from the Michigan Strategic Fund this week.

LANSING—The word is out: Michigan is open for business.

This week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration awarded millions of dollars in economic development grants designed to boost the state’s economy and create more jobs for Michiganders. Three of the projects—supported by about $7 million in grants—are set to generate a private investment of $108 million and lead to the creation of at least 681 new jobs.

In a statement, Whitmer said the latest investments will help the state “drive economic growth by boosting support for our state’s small businesses and high-tech entrepreneurs, expanding on our leadership in the critical future mobility industry, revitalizing communities around the state, and supporting training and apprenticeship opportunities for our world-class workforce.”

She added: “We will keep our foot on the accelerator to continue winning projects, creating good jobs for our residents, and investing in vibrant places so we can build a brighter future.”

READ MORE: More Companies Plant Roots in Michigan—and Create More Jobs

Here’s a quick look at the latest business expansion projects to be lured into Michigan:

196 New Jobs in Oakland County

Expleo USA announced plans this month to establish its first North American research and development facility at a yet-to-be-determined site in Oakland County. And this week, it received a $3 million economic development grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund to seal the deal.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent back some valuable souvenirs from a recent trip to Europe—in the form of new jobs. (Governor Gretchen Whitmer via Facebook)

The Paris-based company has a long history in vehicle engineering and testing, and is reportedly experiencing increased demand for its electronic, mechanical, and digital engineering services. Whitmer said she clinched the deal during a visit to France and Germany this month. 

State officials said Expleo decided to pick Michigan over competing sites in the US and Canada in order to stay closer to the Motor City and the state’s automotive supply chains. 

“Expleo chose to invest in Michigan because of our strong mobility business environment, inclusive laws, skilled workforce, and ongoing economic momentum to ensure anyone can make it in Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Together, we have created powerful economic development tools to bring supply chains of cars, chips, and batteries home.”

The project is expected to create at least 196 “high-wage” jobs in Michigan, Whitmer said, adding to the 82,000 jobs that have been announced across the state over the last year. 

“Everyone knows that in Michigan, we make things. But Expleo’s choice to plant their North American flag here in Michigan is a huge testament to our talent, unparalleled creativity, and our future,” state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) said in a statement. “It’s a sign that Michigan is the ideal place to imagine, design, engineer, and dream up what’s next—and a tremendous sign that we’re well on our way to securing our future in the knowledge economy.”

The 11-member board of the Michigan Strategic Fund meets monthly in Lansing, and wields the authority to direct millions of dollars in state appropriations designed to support business and community development, workforce development, and state promotion and marketing activities.

Need a job? Click here to check out career opportunities with Expleo.

370 New Jobs in Livingston County

The Operating Engineers’ Local 324 Journeyman and Apprentice Training Fund plans to construct a new $25 million training facility in Howell to help prepare engineers for new jobs. The facility will include a training arena and wash bay, as well as classroom and office spaces. 

Local 324—which represents more than 14,000 engineers and employs 425 Michiganders—offers training at two facilities in Detroit and Howell. State officials said the expansion project will ultimately create 370 jobs. The Michigan Strategic Fund approved $3.25 million in collateral support as part of a bank loan to fund the construction of the new building. 

“Today’s agenda demonstrates Team Michigan’s commitment to the Make it in Michigan strategy by investing in the kinds of projects that will support our vibrant places and world-class people for generations to come,” said Michigan Strategic Fund President Quentin Messer Jr. 

Need a job? Click here to check out career opportunities with OE Local 324. 

115 Jobs in Bay City and Greenville

On Thursday, Whitmer announced the creation of another 115 new jobs in Bay City and Greenville—part of a new, $81 million expansion project from Mersen USA, a subsidiary of Le Carbone Lorraine in France, which specializes in semiconductors and chip manufacturing.

The company already employs 304 Michiganders at its two facilities—and due to increased demand, now plans to build out four new buildings across five acres at its Bay City location. The Greenville location is also set to add space (and capacity) to its main production facility. 

State officials said the company decided to expand in Michigan rather than a competing site in Tennessee, in part, because it received a $1 million state economic development grant and is set to receive tax abatements from the local governments of both Bay City and Greenville.

Whitmer added: “Michigan was chosen for these expansions over Tennessee because of our talented workforce and strength in the future of mobility and the semiconductor supply chain.”

In September, Hemlock also announced plans to invest $375 million and create 170 jobs at its facilities in Thomas Township. In March, California-based indie Semiconductor also announced that it was investing $12.5 million in Michigan and creating up to 180 jobs in Auburn Hills, where it plans to expand its office to include a best-in-class semiconductor design and testing facility.

Need a job? Click here for more information on careers with Mersen. 

Make it in Michigan

With Michigan’s population growth lagging behind many other states across the country, lawmakers also earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars in the latest budget toward attracting additional investments—including from both private businesses and the federal government.

Senate Appropriations Chair Sarah Anthony, right, speaks to the media along with Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, center, and Democratic state Sen. Darrin Camilleri after the passage of a record $82 billion budget Wednesday night at the state Capitol. (AP Photo/Joey Cappelletti)

A $500 million annual deposit in the Make it in Michigan Fund and a $350 million deposit in the Make it in Michigan Competitiveness Fund are designed to help the state secure some of the billions of dollars in federal funding still available through the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as entice more private businesses to expand in Michigan.

Statistics show that more than 82,000 jobs were created in Michigan between May 2022 and May 2023. John Walsh, president of the Michigan Manufacturers Association, said the latest budget will only work to expand the state’s business potential—and inevitably create more jobs.

“As we stand at the cusp of the most transformative time in the history of manufacturing, there is perhaps nothing more impactful to the future success and prosperity of Michigan and its citizens than a thriving manufacturing sector,” Walsh said in a statement after the budget was passed.

READ MORE: 6 Ways Michigan Lawmakers Are Spending Your Cash

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Follow Political Correspondent Kyle Kaminski here.

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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