Gov. Rick Snyder creates new department, agency to focus on top priority: Michigan talent

Executive order helps state focus on the jobs of today and tomorrow

Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

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LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder is taking executive action to continue Michigan’s climb as a national leader in talent development and investment in skilled trades.

Through an executive order, Michigan is leveraging its ability to build talent with in-demand skills while helping state businesses grow and thrive by putting job creation and economic development efforts under one new department.

Snyder on Thursday announced an executive order creating the Department of Talent and Economic Development and the Michigan Talent Investment Agency, as well as a restructuring that includes several state departments.

“One of my top priorities has been to make Michigan a national leader in talent development by focusing on workforce training for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” Snyder said.

“That effort will require a comprehensive, unified approach to best help Michiganders while working to retain and attract businesses to create more and better jobs. Our state has made great strides. Now is the time to keep moving forward, taking the next steps to ensure Michigan’s resurgence will continue long into the future.”

Under the executive order, the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority will be under the new department, along with the Michigan Strategic Fund and any associated programs. The executive order authorizes the director of the Talent and Economic Development Department to become the MEDC CEO if the MEDC executive committee makes that determination.

The Talent Investment Agency will coordinate all programs across the executive branch of government involving jobs preparedness, career-based education, skilled trades training, incumbent worker training, employment assistance, STEM training programs and programs targeted at the structurally unemployed.

Under this structure the three pillars of economic development – talent development, community development and business development – will all be part of one organization and share the same vision and goals.  

The plan calls for MSHDA and the Michigan Strategic Fund to be transferred to the new department. The Workforce Development Agency and the Unemployment Insurance Agency are to be under the Michigan Talent Investment Agency.

The changes will bring a series of leadership moves.

MEDC CEO Mike Finney's expertise in creating an environment for Michigan businesses to thrive will be tapped in the new role of senior adviser for economic growth. He will be a member of Gov. Snyder’s executive staff.

Steve Arwood, MEDC executive vice president and chief operating officer, will serve as director of the new Department of Talent and Economic Development. He will serve as a member of the governor’s Cabinet.

Stephanie Comai, deputy director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, will be director of the Talent Investment Agency and will serve as a member of the Cabinet.

Details about the goals and measures of the new structure are planned to be announced next month, with the new department and agency assuming operations 60 days following the start of the new legislative session.

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