LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today toured and met with military officials at the W.K. Kellogg Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek where she highlighted efforts to save the base from being closed by ensuring that new military missions will be placed at the base, retaining hundreds of Michigan jobs. Granholm also highlighted her administration's efforts to attract new defense industry jobs to the state by bringing back new federal contracts to Michigan businesses, which is creating jobs already.
In August 2006, Lieutenant General Blum agreed to place the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) Mission at Battle Creek, which will preserve hundreds of jobs at the base and will provide new resources to the local economy. In April of this year, Granholm and Senator Carl Levin announced that the National Guard Bureau had confirmed that C-21 aircraft will replace the A-10s currently stationed at W.K. Kellogg Air National Guard Base when they shift to Selfridge Air National Guard Base later this year. The incoming C-21s will continue a flying mission for the base until it ultimately transitions to the JCA in future years.
"We worked hard with the leadership of the Air Force, the National Guard Bureau, and the Michigan congressional delegation in order to win the commitment of these new missions at Battle Creek," said Granholm. "This decision is a tremendous investment in the Air National Guard Base and the jobs of the men and women who serve at Battle Creek."
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 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 to $2 billion per year by the end of 2010. 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.
"Growing Michigan's homeland security and defense sector is a critical way to diversify our economy and grow new jobs in this state," Granholm said. "Our state's research capability, combined with our manufacturing roots, makes Michigan the perfect choice when the federal government is looking for innovative new technologies and the companies to create those products."
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.
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