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Granholm Applauds Decision Awarding Michigan $30 Million in Federal Workforce Innovation Grants

Contact: Heidi Watson 517-335-6397

February 1, 2006

Mid-Michigan, West Michigan among 13 Recipients Nationwide

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today applauded a decision to award Michigan two $15 million grants under the highly competitive Workforce Innovation for Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Program.  Granholm submitted the applications on behalf of Michigan communities.  Michigan is the only state in the nation to receive two of the grants awarded under the U.S. Department of Labor Initiative.
“The Super Bowl is this Sunday, but Michigan citizens are the real winners,” Granholm said.  “The WIRED grants will help our state create competitive regional economies, spurring growth and prosperity by creating high-skill and high-wage jobs.”
The WIRED grants will support community partners’ efforts to harness the regions’ unique resources to transform their local economies.  The grants will also be used to expand employment and worker development opportunities in the award regions.  These workforce programs will target workers whose jobs have been impacted by globalization.

Michigan’s two winning proposals are:

• Mid Michigan Innovation Alliance, a region that includes 13 counties incorporating Flint, Lansing and Saginaw.  The proposal was developed under the leadership of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Genesee County Economic Development Agency, and Michigan State University.  A key element of the Mid Michigan proposal is to refocus automotive supplier firms once tied to GM to emerging and growing manufacturing markets as well as the development of an alternative energy sector.  This proposal builds on the strong automotive, educational and philanthropic assets of the region.

• West Michigan Workforce Innovations Lab, a seven county region anchored by Grand Rapids and led by the West Michigan Strategic Alliance at Grand Valley State University. The West Michigan proposal centers on an “innovations lab” designed to advance and spawn a wide range of innovations in its regional workforce development system focusing on four areas of innovation.

Each of these regions will receive approximately $15 million over the next three years as well as ongoing technical assistance from leaders of innovation and regional economic growth. 
Governor Granholm has continued to work closely with the congressional delegation to seek more federal support for workforce development and job training for workers affected by auto industry restructuring. 
“Last month, I asked the delegation to support Michigan’s effort to bring more targeted and strategic assistance for workers from communities that were awarded grants today, as well as for communities outside those regions,” Granholm said. “Great things can happen for our state when we come together in a bipartisan way to impact change for Michigan.”

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