Michigan aims to compete as ‘US manufacturing capital’ with new center

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MACKINAC ISLAND, MI — State leaders on Wednesday celebrated the launch of a new center that will help bring innovation to Michigan manufacturing.

The US Center for Advanced Manufacturing, supported by the World Economic Forum, is the first of its kind in the country. It will be hosted at Automation Alley, a tech business accelerator in Troy, when it opens June 6.

“The World Economic Forum’s decision to locate its US advanced manufacturing center in Michigan is proof of our strengths. This will increase the gravitational pull for jobs, talent, and investment. said Governor Gretchen Whitmer, speaking from the Grand Hotel ahead of the Mackinac Policy Conference.

Automation Alley, Oakland County and the State of Michigan have partnered with the World Economic Forum on the project to “help cement Michigan’s position as the manufacturing capital of the United States,” according to a Michigan memo. Economic Development Corporation.

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The objectives of the center include the transformation of the advanced manufacturing industry, the extension of the Michigan brand, the promotion of international networking in the manufacturing industry and the role of the operational arm of the advanced manufacturing platform and value chains. of the World Economic Forum.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter called the center a “game changer” for Michigan manufacturers to secure contracts and connect with businesses around the world.

“I hope this sends the message that Michigan is no longer the rust belt tied to that antiquated notion of assembly lines and closed factories,” Coulter said. “By embracing the innovation that the World Economic Forum is embracing and new technologies along with this new center in Troy, Michigan at Automation Alley, we are poised to lead the nation and frankly the world in advanced manufacturing.”

A $3 million grant, approved by Michigan’s Strategic Fund last week and awarded over a three-year period, will support the center. Additionally, Oakland County plans to match state funding with $1 million per year for the next three years.

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Three full-time employees will be hired to support the US Center for Advanced Manufacturing along with three other Automation Alley staff. The center will also establish a national board of directors of up to a dozen leaders, including a representative from MEDC.

“We are strengthening our leadership in advanced manufacturing and entrepreneurship, not just today, but for generations to come. We’re not just creating great jobs, we’re creating great job markets,” said MEDC President Quentin Messer.

The manufacturing sector, which has lost 4.6 million jobs over the past 25 years, accounts for about 11% of gross domestic product in the United States, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. In Michigan, the industry employs about 14% of the workforce and accounts for nearly 20% of the state’s GDP.

In a race to revitalize manufacturing, state leaders have worked to make Michigan a hub for electric vehicles, emerging technologies and automation. The center adds to other efforts such as attracting a $7 billion investment from General Motors with $624.1 million in state incentives, supporting the Michigan Central Innovation District to Detroit and the creation of the first public electric vehicle charging road in the country.

Michigan, however, also recently lost two major electric vehicle plants from Ford and Stellantis.

“When any business in the world, especially mobility, electrification and advanced manufacturing, decides where to expand, I hope everyone knows the answer is very clear, it’s in the state of Michigan,” Whitmer said.

The 2022 Mackinac Policy Conference kicked off after the announcement from the US Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

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