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Governor Updates Digital Detroit Conference on Administration's "Cool Cities" Initiative

October 8, 2003

DEARBORN – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today told attendees of the 2003 Digital Detroit Conference that the technology community plays an integral role in her administration’s “Cool Cities” initiative aimed at keeping and attracting young, educated, and skilled workers to Michigan.

“This is about creating hot jobs through Cool Cities,” Granholm said of statistics that show Michigan loses high numbers of young people ages 24 to 35 each year.  “Our ‘Cool Cities’ initiative is about creating the Next Michigan – a state that has a diversified, tech-driven economy that produces innovative goods and services through thriving automotive, homeland security, and life sciences businesses.”

Granholm updated the conference attendees on what her administration has been doing to promote the “Cool Cities” initiative.  She said she has asked the mayors of more than 250 Michigan cities to help her focus on ways to make Michigan’s cities more attractive for new jobs and new citizens.  In letters sent to mayors in September, Granholm asked the mayors to convene local “cool cities” advisory groups to explore ways to “encourage people – especially young people – to be more interested in living, working, and shopping in your city.”

Granholm also will ask university and college presidents to engage their students in a dialogue about what might encourage graduates to stay in Michigan.
A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that more than 33,000 young adults left the southeast Michigan region of the state, alone, between 2000 and 2002. 
“When young people leave Michigan, they take their talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and job skills with them,” Granholm said. “We cannot afford to lose what is the future workforce of this state. We have to stop the brain drain in our state, because it imperils our ability to compete for new businesses. A talented, well-educated workforce is the trump card for many companies looking to locate a new business in this state.”

Granholm said she also asked 30 of the mayors to name one person from their local group to sit on a statewide “Cool City” advisory panel that will provide input to her and Department of Labor and Economic Growth Director David Hollister.  The 30 mayors were selected by the Michigan State University Center for Urban Affairs to represent a diverse group of Michigan communities.  Granholm also will hold a number of university town hall meetings where she will talk to students about creating a more attractive Michigan.

“Through this effort, we are going right to the source – our young people – and asking for their input on what we can do to keep them here and attract their peers here,” Granholm said.  “I want to develop a comprehensive strategy with them so we can revitalize our cities and strengthen our state’s economy, making Michigan a magnet state for new job creation and business expansion.” 
The goals of the initiative are two-fold:  first to bring discussions about supporting and investing in cities to a statewide level; and, second, to find out what state tools and resources local citizens think would be most effective in improving their communities.
The ideas generated from these local groups will be presented to the statewide advisory panel.  The advisory panel will use that information to help the Governor and Director Hollister offer stronger assistance in developing strong cities.
The results of the state advisory panel are to be reviewed by the Governor and announced in December.