MI New Economy Plan tour begins in Marquette

Visit centers on economic growth

MARQUETTE — The goals laid out in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI New Economy Plan were the focus of the first stop in Michigan in a series designed to bring together community leaders to discuss how to use American Rescue Plan funds.

Stakeholders from areas such as postsecondary education and business met on Friday at Staybridge Suites Marquette to look more closely at the plan.

The goal of American Rescue Plan funds is to support small businesses, grow the middle class and invest in communities.

Susan Corbin, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, said, “In Michigan we have an unprecedented opportunity with all of the federal dollars we’ll be seeing with the American Rescue Plan, and so the governor has developed a plan for how we can really grow the middle class in Michigan, how we can support our small businesses — small businesses that we know were disproportionately impacted during the public health crisis — and also really focus on our communities.”

Corbin said input is needed from Upper Peninsula leaders.

“We were in the U.P. earlier this summer,” Corbin said. “We were talking to small-business owners, and we were talking about the incredible resources that we have in Michigan, especially the U.P. as it relates to our outdoor industries. We know that the natural resources that are here in the U.P. are a real attraction for those industries that want to expand their outdoor manufacturing.

“We want to make sure that we capitalize and support the U.P. with all of that activity.”

Corbin said stakeholders will be asked to continue engaging with their legislative leaders because Whitmer will work with legislators to allocate the ARP dollars.

She said Michigan is expecting $6.5 billion from the ARP.

On the agenda for the Marquette stop were presentations from LEO and InvestUP, a regional economic organization for the U.P.

“Even in the wake of a global pandemic, there is plenty of reason for optimism as we continue building a stronger economy than ever before,” said InvestUP CEO Marty Fittante in a statement. “I know I speak on behalf of Upper Peninsula businesses and institutions in saying that we are so grateful Director Corbin took the time on behalf of the governor to not only come up and detail the governor’s new MI New Economy proposal, but, as importantly, listen to what we believe are the necessary priorities for the U.P. to accelerate economic growth and recovery.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Gov. Whitmer, her team and the Legislature on a plan that provides transformative opportunity for not only the Upper Peninsula but the entire state.”

The three pillars of the $2.1 billion MI New Economy plan are growing the middle class, supporting small businesses and building strong communities.

Under the middle-class pillar, goals are to have 60% of adults with a postsecondary credential by 2026, lift 100,000 families out of working poverty during fiscal years 2022-26, and provide access to low- or no-cost child care for 150,000 more families by 2024.

Goals for supporting small businesses are making Michigan a top-10 state for small business job growth and revenue growth, household income growth, and growth in venture capital funding, all for 2022-26.

Goals for building strong communities involve obtaining 100% access to high-speed internet and 95% adoption by households while continually investing in high-quality access, and getting 75,000 new or rehabilitated housing units, both for 2022-26 as well.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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