Governor Whitmer Joins Announcement of New Central Michigan Innovation


February 4, 2022

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Governor Whitmer Joins Announcement of New Central Michigan Innovation

The state plans to align more than $126 million in new and existing investments, programs and resources to support the 30-acre campus that is expected to accommodate 5,000 workers

DETROIT, Michigan- Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Google Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan today to announce a new partnership to activate the Michigan Central Innovation District to attract and retain highly qualified people. talent and high-growth businesses while supporting the development of neighboring neighborhoods. This new neighborhood, anchored by Michigan’s iconic Central Station, will serve as a globally recognized hub for talent, mobility innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability, affordable housing, small business opportunity and community. community engagement.

“Ford is an American icon that has left its mark on Michigan – and the world – for more than 100 years, and we are proud to partner with Ford and other founding members of Michigan Central to shape the next century of transportation solutions while reducing emissions and accelerating electrification,” said Governor Whitmer. “By taking a whole-of-government approach in our collaboration with Michigan Central and the City of Detroit, we are writing the manual for a new kind of partnership that keeps Michigan at the forefront of mobility for generations to come. Together, we can continue to grow Michigan’s economy, putting the people of Michigan first, and win the next century of automotive manufacturing and technology development.”

Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ford, the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit, the State plans to align more than $126 million in new and existing investments, programs and resources to support district goals. This commitment involves cross-departmental collaboration between the Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME), Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

The City of Detroit and its administration will provide resources for a new real-world test site in the district, called the “Transportation Innovation Zone.” This site will allow companies focused on mobility to accelerate the safe piloting and deployment of new transport solutions.

Since 2018, Ford has invested $740 million in the 30-acre campus in Corktown which is expected to house 5,000 workers, including at least 2,500 non-Ford employees.

“Just a few years ago, I announced Ford’s investment in Detroit because I believed in a vision that reimagined Michigan’s iconic Central Station and surrounding area as a place of possibility,” said Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company. “Today’s announcements reflect our commitment to that vision, drawing the best and the brightest together to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. Google’s arrival as a founding partner is exactly the type of investment and progress that I knew it was possible to revitalize our hometown. And I couldn’t be happier that the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan are also joining us in this ambitious effort. I know that this is just the beginning of what we can accomplish together.

Under the MOU, the partnership will focus on four key pillars:

  • Economic development: The State of Michigan, coordinated by OFME, will support the launch and growth of programs in the district that create conditions for high-skilled job creation, start-up business growth, venture capital, technology commercialization and other economic opportunities.
  • Workforce development: LEO will provide world-class training, adult post-secondary education and career readiness resources in the district, including potential physical space to host apprenticeship programs, employer-led collaborations, Going Pro Talent Fund and more, to prepare local workers for high-tech jobs in mobility and other emerging fields.
  • Communautary development: MSHDA will promote housing and community development and civic engagement in a way that links industry growth and innovation to neighborhood vitality and inclusiveness in and around the neighborhood of the ‘innovation. MDOT will also help make the roads near the district more accessible and usable by all modes of transportation.
  • Transport Innovation Zone: The Michigan Central Innovation District will be designated as an innovation zone by the City of Detroit for the development, piloting and deployment of mobility technologies and solutions in real-world environments to support surrounding neighborhoods.

“Just a few years ago, this station was the international symbol of the abandonment of our city,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Now it’s a symbol of our city’s resurgence and will soon be the anchor of this new Innovation District, developed by Ford, where innovators around the world will create the future of mobility. For more than For a century Detroit has been the leader in automotive innovation, and today marks a major step forward in keeping Detroit at the forefront of mobility innovation for the century to come.”

Google will also join Ford as a founding member of the Innovation District, where it will leverage the strengths of the district to collaborate on new products and services that will define the future of mobility. As founding members, Google and Ford will also help mentor local entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as grow the workforce in Detroit.

“We are proud to join Ford as a founding member of Michigan Central,” said Ruth Porat, Chief Financial Officer of Google. “This partnership will expand our work in Michigan and help a significant number of people gain the skills and tools they need to succeed. By providing digital skills training, mentoring for high school students learning to code, and Google Cloud technology for Michigan Central’s projects and research into the future of mobility, we look forward to contributing to Michigan Central’s mission and all that it will achieve.”

Today’s announcement builds on Ford’s years of investment in southeast Michigan, solidifying its commitment to test, develop and deploy the state’s future mobility solutions. Ford remains committed to electrifying the future of mobility in Michigan, after announcing Ford Ion Parkits new global center of excellence for batteries, in Romulus, as well as its investment plans of 250 million dollars and create 450 additional jobs at three of its Michigan facilities in the past year alone.

The Michigan Central Innovation District is also a key partner in a new study with MDOT, OFME, the Michigan Aeronautics Commission, the Province of Ontario and others to explore the feasibility of creating drone test lanes. And the district recently partnered with Electreon, Next Energy and Jacobs Engineering Group win MDOT and OFME bid to make Michigan the first US state to implement apublic wireless charging system for electric vehicles. The project will include dynamic and stationary wireless charging of electric vehicles along a 1.6 km corridor, which will be housed and live in the district.

“Like many, I had parents who first entered Michigan through Detroit and Michigan Central Station. They were looking for a better life and a more inclusive community. By activating the Michigan Central Innovation District, we honor the inspiring story of this place, shared by so many Michigan residents,” said Michigan State Director of Mobility Trevor Pawl. “And by investing in new mobility solutions and entrepreneurial resources in this district, we are creating a global platform that can drive high-tech job creation and community empowerment.”