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Michigan Awarded Economic Development Grant from U.S. Commerce Department

On Oct. 21, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has begun awarding its historic $3 billion in American Rescue Plan funds. The grants will assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks. Michigan has received a $1 million grant to lay the groundwork for additional economic development.

“The Biden Administration is giving states and territories the unprecedented opportunity to bring all their communities together to develop comprehensive plans to build back better and stronger,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The $1 million Statewide Planning grants will be used to lay the groundwork for President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda to build resilient economies and increase U.S. Competitiveness.”

“Planning is the backbone of economic development and Building Back Better,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “EDA is proud to partner with state and territory leaders as they begin to tackle a wide range of challenges—including climate change, broadband, electric vehicle infrastructure, and pandemic recovery—and develop a comprehensive plan for their entire state or territory that ensures communities work together toward a common economic development vision for the future.”

The Chamber and MICHauto advocated on behalf of Michigan to secure this initial grant and several more rounds of grants in a letter to Commerce Secretary Raimondo.

“The Chamber is pleased to support the Detroit Regional Partnership’s (DRP) application for the grant, which supports communities through the exploration of neighborhood-based infrastructure projects, 21st Century talent programs, and innovation inclusive of historically excluded populations.  As an economic development partner of the DRP, the Chamber is committed to working collaboratively to ensure initiatives resulting from a successful DRP application are inclusive of the varied interests and demographics of our region, address long-standing equity gaps and leverage the resources of existing entities driving economic growth. Of particular interest to the Chamber is building and leveraging Michigan’s competitive advantage in the global automotive and next-generation mobility sphere. Increased economic development of the mobility sector will spur innovation and can drive more equitable growth of Southeast Michigan’s regional economy.”

The funds will flow into the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF), where they can be deployed to tackle a wide range of economic challenges faced by communities, from infrastructure, job training, small business support, and more. At the Mackinac Policy Conference, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer laid out her $2.1 billion MI New Economy plan to grow Michigan’s middle class, support small businesses and invest in communities.  In response to the news of the grant the governor released the following statement.

“Today’s grant will build on the bipartisan budget I signed, and the MI New Economy plan I proposed to put Michiganders first and uplift families, communities, and small businesses,” said Gov. Whitmer. “I am laser-focused on tackling the big, structural economic challenges we face and will work with anyone to drive down costs for families, put more people on a path to prosperity, and invest in critical infrastructure. Together, we can usher in a new era of prosperity for our state while continuing to deliver on the kitchen-table fundamental issues.”