Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

Detroit Local NewsMichigan state office discusses economic transition from fossil fuels

Michigan state office discusses economic transition from fossil fuels

Detroit, Michigan – A recently formed state office’s officials met with important stakeholders on Monday to talk about Michigan’s strategic move away from fossil fuel-dependent sectors. Senior chief deputy director of the state Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Jonathan Smith underlined the need of the Community and Worker Economic Transition Office in making sure that workers are not left behind throughout this transition.

Smith praised the effort and underlined its distinctiveness with considerable excitement.

“What makes me really excited about this work is it does create a huge opportunity for Michigan to do something that no other state has done, which is combine our clean energy and our environmental goals with our economic development and our equity goals and really do something that is comprehensive and whole,” Smith said.

Read also: Flint officers recognized for contributions to local economy and job market

Considering that the office opened in February, this was the eighth such meeting with stakeholders. The summary and agency plans were presented at Monday’s session after compiling early conversations and input from the first eight meetings. About twenty participants in this most recent roundtable included representatives from several industries affected by the transition as well as authorities from Detroit and Redford Township.

Group executive of workforce for Detroit, Terri Weems, expressed hope during the conversation, but she also expressed worries about not enough training and preparing the workforce for future employment opportunities.

“But I love, again, the fact that we’re proactive in planning for it as we begin to understand what is necessary, we’re going to have a plan in place to make sure that our employers have the talent that they need,” Weems said.

Read also: Flint, EGLE forge new agreement to further water infrastructure improvements

Smith, from the state’s labor department, mentioned that the transition office is relatively new and currently operates with the help of temporary staff from the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) as they await funding approval from the Legislature. Senator Mary Cavanagh, who chairs the Senate subcommittee responsible for the LEO budget, shared that their current budget proposal includes $2.5 million to support ten full-time employees and additional expenses. She believes that the office might receive increased funding as it demonstrates effectiveness.

Senator Cavanagh emphasized the importance of the initiative.

“I think this is a really good idea. I think this is exactly what Michigan needs but we need to do it right. So, we need to be very strategic and fiscally responsible of what this office looks like and what our community needs,” Cavanagh said.

Read also: Flint water crisis figure Richard Baird files lawsuit over alleged constitutional violations

Meanwhile, the governor’s budget recommendation suggests a more robust support for the office, proposing funding for 20 full-time employees and doubling the financial allocation. In contrast, a proposal from the House of Representatives calls for maintaining ten employees but at a total funding of $5 million.