September 14, 2015 – Crain’s Detroit Business, By Chad Halcom
Southeast Michigan military manufacturers hit hard by federal spending cuts could benefit from workforce retraining and market analysis to help shift into high-demand defense markets, under a new $5.97 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense this week.
The Pentagon’s Office of Economic Adjustment awarded the grant to the Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Development Board to establish an Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative in the region, with management assistance from the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. will provide about $300,000 matching cash funds, while WIN and the Michigan Defense Center will offer personnel assistance, for a total program value of about $6.75 million.
The two-year grant will go to various projects in a 13-county region of Southeast Michigan. These include retraining assistance for displaced workers, market analysis of the region including a skills gap assessment and some supply chain and asset mapping to help connect bidders with potential customers in emerging defense markets.
Target industries for new skills and business opportunities for the Defense Collaborative will include lightweight materials manufacturing, autonomous transportation and connected mobility (particularly the electronics, sensors and components), and information technology such as cybersecurity for transportation systems and products.
“Southeast Michigan has been an important defense asset for generations, and the Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative will help ensure that this crucial sector of our economy can continue to grow …,” U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said in a statement. “(This) will help promote the development of new technologies and create job opportunities in areas from cybersecurity to autonomous vehicles and smart mobility that will ensure our state and our country continue to benefit from the experience and knowledge that Southeast Michigan’s companies offer.”
Michigan, home to the U.S. Army Detroit Arsenal in Warren, also houses thousands of contractors, consultants and other companies and other government agencies that support more than 52,000 jobs statewide.
“Thanks to the work of the Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Development Board and Workforce Intelligence Network, this project will help strengthen the connections between defense, advanced manufacturing and cutting-edge research that is truly unique here in Southeast Michigan,” U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow said in the statement Monday.
The Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Development Board will administer the grant, on behalf of the government of Macomb County. The board of the Advance Michigan initiative, announced last year to boost advancements in connected and automated vehicles, supply chain and logistics systems and other business segments for the manufacturing industry, will oversee the new grant program.
The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.