Published in Economic Development

New economic development coalition calls for change to help Michigan compete

BY Thursday, December 02, 2021 12:22pm

Nearly two dozen economic development and trade organizations have formed the Winning Michigan Jobs coalition with the goal of helping the state regain a competitive edge for new jobs and investments.

Winning Michigan Jobs will work with elected officials and community leaders to focus on main areas that member organizations see as opportunities to close the gap with other states in developing job opportunities. The coalition’s four main focus areas involve shovel-ready sites, incentivizing tools to attract and create new jobs, working closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and building workforce talent.


“By creating a consistent, cohesive, competitive economic development strategy, we can get back in the game and compete to win,” Randy Thelen, president and CEO of The Right Place Inc., said in a statement. “If we do nothing, we will continue to fall behind other states as Michigan’s future prosperity becomes more uncertain.”

Other West Michigan coalition members include Southwest Michigan First, Lakeshore Advantage Corp., and Cornerstone Alliance.

The coalition’s priorities are consistently cited as areas where other states are outpacing Michigan, according to the coalition. Significant immediate and long-term state investment is needed to attract projects and outcompete other states, according to the group. 

“When the reasons for failure become clear, you have two choices: act or accept,” said Maureen Krauss, CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership. “As a state, we cannot simply accept that other states have effective strategies in place to win new jobs, and Michigan does not. If we act together as a state we can secure new jobs, as we already have the assets and talent needed to win.”

Economic Development Leaders for Michigan, a coalition formed last year by 12 economic development agencies, also raised concerns that change is needed after Ford Motor Co. announced its decision to make historic investments in electric vehicles in Kentucky and Tennessee. 

The company announced in September that it was investing $11.4 billion to create 11,000 jobs in those states along with partner SK Innovation Co.

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