Michigan Moving Forward

With a robust transportation system in place, the Great Lakes State is a prime location for electric vehicles and other advanced manufacturing.

By Roneshia Thomas
From the July/August 2023 Issue

Home to 33 deep water ports, 18 commercial airports, and 3,600 miles of railroad track, Michigan has a robust infrastructure in place. The Great Lakes State is home to nearly 19% of all U.S. auto production, more than any state in the nation, in part due to less restrictive laws for testing self-driving vehicles.

Michigan Electric Vehicles
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

The auto industry presence allows Michigan to also attract semiconductor manufacturers that center around the automotive industry. The semiconductor industry alone brings in $4.6 billion in gross regional product for the state with the greatest number of OEMS in the country.

Due to the growing demand of electric vehicle charging networks, Michigan has begun to participate in the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Grant program. The NEVI charging station deployment program is funded by President Joe Biden’s trillion-dollar Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), signed into law in late 2021. The BIL allows Michigan Department of Transportation to receive and distribute $110 million in federal formula funds for electric vehicle charging infrastructure over the next five years.

“Michigan will lead the future of mobility and electrification and today’s announcement will help us bring home federal resources to build out our statewide electric vehicle charging network,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer in May. “As a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Michigan will receive $110 million in federal resources specifically to build out electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Launching our state’s NEVI grant program will help us get these dollars into communities efficiently so we can help drivers making the switch to electric traverse our two peninsulas without worrying about where they’re going to charge.”

In addition to the booming semiconductor and automotive industries, Michigan has targeted the outdoor recreation industry. In 2021, outdoor recreation added $10.8 billion to the economy and supports almost 110,000 jobs. Home of the modern snowboard and synthetic fly line, Michigan’s outdoor industry continues to evolve and address current sustainability standards. Outdoor recreation supports healthy living and contributes to a high quality of life.

“Make It In Michigan” Strategy Outlines Plan To Expand The State’s Economy

Each year, hundreds of Michigan policymakers and business leaders gather for the Mackinac Policy Conference—a meeting of the minds to discuss the state’s economic future. As Michigan celebrates 18 months of strong economic development work with over $16 billion of projects and 16,000 jobs secured, Governor Gretchen Whitmer took to the porch of the Grand Hotel to announce “Make it in Michigan” at this year’s conference. This comprehensive economic strategy will help the state retain and secure projects, invest in people from pre-K through postsecondary, and revitalize communities in every region of the state.

Michigan Electric Vehicles
Earlier this year Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced “Make it in Michigan,” which is a comprehensive economic strategy. (Photo: Michigan Economic Development Corporation)


“Every person, business, and community should be able to ‘make it in Michigan,’” said Governor Whitmer. “To grow our economy and build a brighter future, we must continue competing for projects that bring manufacturing and supply chains home, invest in people so they can pursue their potential, and revitalize places to make them more attractive places to live, work, and invest. This comprehensive strategy will power strong, equitable growth and build on our economic momentum, as we have added 61,000 jobs year over year and driven unemployment down below 4% for only the third period of time since 1970. Let’s keep getting it done.”

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The three pillars of Make it in Michigan are projects, people, and places. Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation are focused on competing for and winning projects to bring manufacturing and supply chains home, investing in people to create a robust workforce to attract and retain businesses, and revitalizing places to make them more attractive communities to live, work, and invest.

Michigan has built the groundwork for this strategy over the past several years by winning projects and developing programs, such as the Semiconductor Talent Action Team, to roll out this economic development approach. Additionally, the plan aims to:

  • Make Michigan a top state for talent with low unemployment, higher labor force participation, more training and upskilling, and stronger talent attraction.
  • Make Michigan more competitive in key sectors like research & development, advanced manufacturing, and clean tech—electric vehicles, batteries, semiconductor chips—to ensure long-term economic strength.
  • Make Michigan an arsenal of innovation where entrepreneurs and young companies have opportunities and resources to grow and expand.
  • Make Michigan a state full of attractive, vibrant communities where people want to live, work, and grow with investments to build more housing, expand access and lower the cost of child care, connect homes and businesses to high-speed internet, redevelop vacant or blighted properties, and bring new life to main streets and downtowns.

Make it in Michigan is a comprehensive strategy to help people, businesses, and communities get the most out of the state. From good-paying jobs; a skilled, talented workforce; vibrant places to live, work, and raise a family; and powerful tools to bring manufacturing and supply chains home, Make it in Michigan will build upon the state’s successes and continue to position it as a global leader.

Visit www.michiganbusiness.org/pure-opportunity/ for more information.


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