The Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment awarded a $5.97 million grant to the Michigan Defense Center and partners, Macomb County, Macomb/ St. Clair Workforce Development Board, Workforce Intelligence Network and the Advance Michigan Collaborative to develop programs to help offset some of the losses due to past contraction in the defense economy.

The Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative clears the path to the discovery and growth of emerging markets and industries by providing immediate and sustained assistance to firms and workers in a 13-county region in Southeast Michigan affected by reduced Department of Defense procurement. The coalition coordinates assistance to organizations that promote research, industrial development, and talent development relevant to the defense industry.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) provided a cash match along with in-kind funding from the Michigan Defense Center—an operation of the MEDC—to obtain these funds. “This investment is but one example of the way the MEDC works with local and regional partners to provide resources and benefits to Michigan companies, workers and programs.” According to Sean Carlson, VP MEDC, Michigan Defense Center. “The projects undertaken with the support of this grant will help us identify the vast logistics and acquisition network in Michigan that serves the defense industry as well as grow opportunities for our companies to expand into new and emerging markets.”

Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Investment Board (M/SCWB) working on behalf of Macomb County Government, will administer the grant with management assistance from the Workforce Intelligence Network.

The grant funding will be used on a variety of projects to identify and diversify Michigan’s defense portfolio, expand educational and workforce training for emerging markets, and provide opportunities for Michigan companies engaged in the defense economy.

The Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative will support resiliency and capacity in:

  • Autonomous transportation and connected mobility (particularly the electronics, sensors, and componentry sector)
  • Lightweight materials manufacturing sector
  • Information technology with a focus on increasing security of automated transportation systems and products

Advance Michigan Partnership
The Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative is an investment of Advance Michigan, an Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) designation extended by the White House in partnership with 16 federal-government departments.  The Advance Michigan area includes the urban centers of Detroit, Flint and Lansing and the counties of Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Shiawassee, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne. Designated communities are eligible to compete for federal funding from the participating departments, looking to support the growth of manufacturing jobs and related prosperity.

Projects supported by the OEA grant include:

  • Establishment of a “Defense Contractor Transition Center” for displaced defense workers
  • Formation of a regional Connected Life Collaborative and a strategy and implementation plan for a Connected Life Lab (internet of things) aimed at entrepreneurship and commercialization around connected products
  • Development of 2-3 new cyber range facilities and Merit Secure Sandbox testing centers in the region
  • Pilot of a university-based Detroit Regional Cyber Training Center
  • Regional connectivity plan including asset map and strengths assessment, along with a strategy and action plan to move an overall connected economic development strategy forward
  • Launch of 1-3 related demonstrations of autonomous and connected project technologies, with targeted firms receiving technical assistance and commercialization support for their concepts
  • Various initiatives to support capacity of the Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative, including a regional defense supply chain map; participation in a national network of 13,500 members with commercialization interest and expertise, along with a regional technology transfer/innovation plan; enhancement of the state’s bid targeting system (BTS) to better connect suppliers to business opportunities; economic impact analysis of the Michigan defense industry; defense skills-gap analysis; and action plans and staffing support for the Michigan Automated Systems Collaborative and Opportunity Detroit Tech.

A special thank you is also extended to Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Gary Peters, and Congressman Sander Levin for providing letters of support for the initiative.