Detroit Regional Chamber > Advocacy > Chamber Take on Bipartisan Budget Investments to Grow Michigan’s Economy and Workforce

Chamber Take on Bipartisan Budget Investments to Grow Michigan’s Economy and Workforce

July 12, 2022

Detroit Regional Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Sandy K. Baruah commented on the recently passed bipartisan state budget. See the full press release below.

Funding to upskill workforce, promote regional economic development, boost tourism and small businesses, and put Michiganders in good-paying, high-skilled jobs. 

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer highlighted investments in the recently passed bipartisan budget for Fiscal Year 2023 that will grow the economy, develop Michigan’s workforce, and promote tourism, economic development, and small business growth in communities across the state. The fiscally-responsible, balanced budget delivered on the kitchen-table issues, was passed on time, and does not raise taxes by a dime. 

“Since day one, I have been focused on growing Michigan’s economy, creating good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for working,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “This budget makes bold investments that will grow our economy, upskill our workforce, and create jobs in communities across Michigan. It will make a difference for small business owners, job-seekers, and workers who want to go back to school to get a postsecondary degree or skills training. It will help us spur investment in every region of Michigan, boost tourism, and ensure that if you can buy it in a farmer’s market, it’s grown right here in Michigan. This budget is proof of what’s possible when we put working families and communities first and stay focused on getting things done.” 

Economy and Workforce Budget by the Numbers 

  • $230 million for two transformational education infrastructure projects centered on cancer research and the future of electrification and mobility.
  • $110 million for Michigan Reconnect and Going Pro, putting people on tuition-free paths to higher-education or jobs training.
  • $75 million for Michigan community financial development institutions, which promote economic revitalization and development in underserved areas of the state.
  • $75 million to remove vacant and unused structures and houses.
  • $50 million for food and agriculture economic development to attract investment and jobs in these key industries.
  • $50 million for non-profit relief to help local organizations continue providing critical services.
  • $40 million for Pure Michigan campaign to boost tourism, local economies.
  • $10 million for the Office of Rural Development to help rural communities meet workforce, education, infrastructure, and connectivity needs.
  • $10 million to remove barriers to employment including childcare, transportation, etc.
  • $10 million for the statewide pre-apprenticeship program.
  • $10 million for talent retention and expansion in key industries.

Economy and Workforce Budget Investments 

Budget investments in Michigan’s economy and workforce can be divided into three key sections: talent and workforce, regional economic development, and support for small businesses. 

1) Talent and workforce 

The budget’s talent and workforce investments will help build a skilled workforce that attracts transformative projects and economic development to Michigan and meet the governor’s bold Sixty by 30 goal to ensure 60% of Michiganders have a postsecondary degree or skills training certificate by 2030. It funds Michigan Reconnect, a program that has offered tens of thousands of Michiganders a tuition-free pathway to higher education and skills training. The budget also funds Going Pro, which helps small businesses develop in-house talent and fill high-skilled, good-paying job openings.  

2) Regional economic development 

To spur economic development in every region of Michigan, including rural communities, the budget kicks off a “Buy Michigan” campaign to support Michigan-grown and raised products, funds the Pure Michigan campaign to promote tourism and boost local economies, and funds the Office of Rural Development, which was established by Governor Whitmer to focus on development in rural areas and provide support for food and agriculture businesses through economic development. These investments will uplift regional economies and create jobs in every corner of our state. 

3) Small business growth 

To create jobs and help small business owners fill openings, the budget will provide wraparound support for job seekers. The budget will help reduce barriers to employment, like lack of transportation, childcare, or tools, that keep people out of the workforce and slow economic growth.  

“Michigan’s highly skilled workforce has long been a key strategic advantage for the state, including its UAW workforce who are among the most prepared in the world,”  said UAW President Ray Curry.As the industry transitions toward more electric vehicles, current and future autoworkers require new skills to face the rapidly evolving technologies across the supply chain. Programs like the Michigan Electric Vehicle Center are essential for providing educational and training opportunities that help ensure the state maintains a world-class workforce in a dynamic automotive industry. “ 

“Visitation to the Upper Peninsula proved critical to local businesses remaining open during the pandemic,” said Susan Estler, President & CEO of Travel Marquette. “The $40 million budget will directly benefit the Upper Peninsula in addition to the entire state by providing a more robust marketing, public relations and co-op program that many of the smaller destinations in the UP can participate in and further maximize their advertising dollars.” 

“The significant bi-partisan investment that was made through this budget to fund priorities that further economic development and community development will undoubtedly be difference-making for the Upper Peninsula. The significant investment made into a regional fund focused on our most profound regional challenges and funding commitment to ensure the Office of Rural Development is equipped for success,” said Marty Fittante, CEO of InvestUP.  “I applaud Governor Whitmer for her leadership, as well as the UP legislative delegation, in delivering a budget that commits real resources to these opportunities.” 

“SBAM remains dedicated to boosting our workforce development systems through proven programs like the Going Pro Talent Fund and Reconnect,” says Alexa Kramer, Director of Government Operations at the Small Business Association of Michigan. “We applaud the bi-partisan work around this budget and look forward to continuing to uplift the small business community through economic development and talent attraction and retention efforts.” 

“We appreciate the hard work between the Governor and Legislative leaders to dedicate increased resources to address Michigan talent needs, in programs such as Going Pro and Michigan Reconnect,” said John Walsh, President and CEO of Michigan Manufacturers Association. “We look forward to even further progress on workforce development and economic development issues as discussions regarding available resources continue.” 

“Michigan’s leaders are investing in the priorities that matter to Michigan businesses,” said Sandy Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Employers are crying out for talent and investing in programs that have proven records of success like Reconnect and Going Pro will help employers fill urgent talent gaps.” 

“This bipartisan budget ensured vital federal childcare dollars stayed in Michigan and in parents’ and providers’ hands, helping residents stay in or reenter the workforce while knowing their kids are in a safe, healthy, and enriching environment,” said Monique Stanton, President and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “With the continued investment in childcare and new grant programs to help remove barriers to employment and offer training and apprenticeship opportunities, the governor and legislative leaders continue to use state dollars to invest in two-generation approaches that set up families for shared success.”