$50 Million Federal Grant to Bolster Clean Energy Transition

Vice President Kamala Harris and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II announced federal and state partnerships that will further position Michigan as a national leader in the clean energy transition and ensure the state remains the engine of the American auto industry. 

At Michigan’s request, the U.S. Department of Energy will design a $50 million Small Supplier Grant Program for auto suppliers that are transitioning to electric vehicles. The DOE, along with the U.S. Department of Labor, will also designate Michigan as an EV Workforce Hub in partnership with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to ensure Michigan workers have equitable access to high-quality training, education and services that provide a path to a good career without leaving their community.  

“I commend the Biden-Harris administration for their partnership and significant investment in Michigan’s EV industry and clean energy initiatives,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “This funding not only propels our state to the forefront of innovation but also ensures more Michiganders have access to quality jobs in these expanding sectors. This investment underscores our commitment to building a resilient economy that works for everyone and positions Michigan as a leader in the transition to a sustainable future.”

Gilchrist said the collaboration will allow more Michiganders … to “get to work building cars, batteries and more.”

“This collaboration is a testament to our state’s leadership in automotive innovation and will catalyze job creation, skills development, and economic growth across Michigan,” Gilchrist said. “By supporting our small suppliers and empowering the next generation of EV workers, we’re not just investing in infrastructure, we’re investing in the livelihoods of our people and the prosperity of our state.” 

Harris, Gilchrist, and industry and community leaders gathered at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit to announce the federal and state partnerships as part of the Vice President’s nationwide Economic Opportunity Tour. 

Small Supplier Grant Program  
The DOE will design the $50 million grant program to support the needs of Michigan automotive suppliers. According to the Center for Automotive Research, Michigan is home to over 1,000 independent automotive suppliers, and 140 of these suppliers and over 45,000 of their workers, may need to retool their facilities and convert from making ICE vehicles or components to EVs or components. The new initiative will help develop a domestic, diversified EV supply chain, retain high-quality, good-paying jobs and support the Administration’s goal of having 50% of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2030. DOE issued a Request for Information last month seeking input on the proposed fund.   

The development of the fund is in direct response to a proposal submitted by LEO last year recommending DOE create a program for small suppliers to increase vehicle electrification, retain jobs and ensure a smooth transition to EVs. 

“The new EV Workforce Hub will help drive our state’s economy forward by leveraging assistance from the Biden-Harris Administration and fostering collaboration among a diverse array of stakeholders,” said Susan Corbin, LEO director. The hub will not only address current challenges but also pave the way for future success. We are not just preparing workers for the jobs of tomorrow, we are ensuring Michigan remains at the forefront of innovation in battery and advanced manufacturing, ultimately strengthening our economy and securing prosperity for all.” 

The new initiatives will work in collaboration with the Clean Energy and Jobs Package to support communities, workers and employers by ensuring they can proactively prepare for, benefit from and shape Michigan’s future economy. The 2023 Clean Jobs America Report stated that clean energy businesses in Michigan added more than 5,400 workers in 2022 and now employ 123,983 Michiganders. Michigan now leads the Midwest in number of clean energy workers. According to the World Resource Institute, by the year 2040, the state could create 41,000 new jobs as it advances electric vehicle manufacturing and builds out of renewable energy, like solar and wind.