LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today met with officials at the U.S. Department of Defense where she said Michigan businesses can be invaluable in helping the federal government find defense solutions that leverage technology and create jobs in Michigan. Granholm met with Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England and General James E. Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Lott, who heads the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Defense Contract Coordination Center (DC3), the first center of its kind in the country designed to diversify Michigan's economy through defense and homeland security contracting.
"Growing Michigan's homeland security sector is a critical way to diversify our economy and grow new jobs in this state," Granholm said. "Our state's research capability, coupled with our manufacturing capacity, makes Michigan the perfect choice when the federal government is looking for innovative new technologies and the companies to manufacture those products."
Michigan has been aggressive in its efforts to attract and grow jobs in the homeland security and defense sector. Michigan's 21st Century Jobs Fund, administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is funding research and commercialization of breakthroughs in advanced manufacturing, alternative energy and other high-tech industries, including Defense and Homeland Security. Through this fund, Michigan established the Defense Contract DC3, which will help strategically connect defense buyers and prime contractors with Michigan companies and entrepreneurs with the goal of doubling defense spending in Michigan in the next 18 months to $2 billion per year. Based on the U.S. Department of Labor formula, Granholm said that $2 billion in spending could mean 20,000 jobs created or retained in Michigan.
Michigan businesses currently generate more than $4 billion in defense and homeland security contracts each year. In recent months, General Dynamics Land Systems and BAE Systems, both in Sterling Heights, announced expansion plans that will create more than 1,600 and 1,000 new jobs, respectively. Other notable Michigan defense contractors include GE Aviation, formerly Smiths Aerospace, near Grand Rapids; Sensicore, Ann Arbor; American Systems Technology, Troy; Patriot Antenna, Albion; Veridian, Ypsilanti; Burtek, Chesterfield Twp.; Solidica and Evigia Systems, both of Ann Arbor.
While in Washington, Granholm and Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington also met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) where they advocated on behalf of two critical economic issues for citizens. The governors support the extension of unemployment benefits for workers who have exhausted their current benefits and oppose seven Bush Administration Medicaid regulations. Granholm explained that those regulations will cost the state of Michigan $3.9 billion over five years and force massive cuts that will result in Michiganians losing their health care. The governors also promoted restoring law enforcement funding cuts to keep families safe.