FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2021
Gov. Whitmer Supports ‘Hero Pay’ for Frontline & Essential Workers
LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced her support for “Hero Pay” for frontline and essential workers in Michigan. With billions in federal relief funding available, the “Hero Pay” proposal, which was put forward by Sen. Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit) and Rep. Cynthia Neeley (D-Flint), would provide one-time payments to essential employees for serving admirably through the pandemic as they kept the state and their fellow Michiganders moving.
“Today, we honor the untold sacrifices made by essential workers who stepped up for their families, communities, and the state of Michigan by paying them what they deserve,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “The hundreds of thousands of folks who worked through the pandemic to keep the rest of us going embody what being a Michigander is all about: you care for your neighbors, you work hard, you get it done no matter the odds. We must ensure they have the support they need to thrive as we emerge from the pandemic together. I will fight alongside my colleagues in the Michigan House and Senate to ensure that frontline and essential workers get the hero pay they deserve as we continue our economic jumpstart, and I look forward to signing a piece of legislation that makes effective use of the federal stimulus dollars we have to invest in working families and communities. We cannot waste the opportunity we have to deliver meaningful change that makes a real difference in people’s lives, especially those who worked courageously through the pandemic ensuring the rest of us could live our lives as normally as possible.”
Currently, more than half of all occupations in the U.S. with a median wage below $15 per hour are considered essential. While some companies have stepped in to provide hero pay to frontline employees, many have not.
The resolutions put forward by the House and Senate Democrats build on previous actions Michigan took in using federal dollars to disburse hero pay to a group of frontline essential workers in public-sector-funded industries, including a one-time $1,000 for first responders and a $2-per-hour for direct-care workers who provided Medicaid-funded care.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2021
Contact: Kathleen Achtenberg, achtenbergk@
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces 245 manufacturing jobs with Tier 1 auto supplier in Southeast Michigan
LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) today to announce two projects in Southeast Michigan that will create 245 automotive manufacturing jobs and provide additional housing in Midtown Detroit have been approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund.
“Good paying jobs and housing that is attainable for our workforce remain critical drivers of economic opportunity as we jumpstart Michigan’s economy,” said Governor Whitmer.
“The expansion of Flex-N-Gate Troy means an additional 245 new jobs in Southeast Michigan and continues our leadership in advanced automotive manufacturing and mobility, while the new mixed-use development in Detroit will add critical housing to Midtown.”
Flex-N-Gate Troy establishing manufacturing facility in Troy, creating 245 jobs
Flex-N-Gate Group is a minority-owned American Tier 1 enterprise that operates globally and delivers a broad range of exterior and interior plastic, structural metal, advanced vehicle lighting and mechanical assembly automotive systems and components to automotive OEMs. Established in 2019, Flex-N-Gate Troy, LLC is a Flex-N-Gate Group member company created to supply sequenced plastic fascias and welded underbody rear rails.
The company will operate out of the former AxleTech facility in the city of Troy with an expected private investment of $52.1 million. The project is also creating 245 new jobs, resulting in a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in other locations. Flex-N-Gate supports personal growth of its employees and makes every effort to hire, train, and promote from within. The company also utilizes Michigan Works! to reach local talent in disadvantaged areas and underrepresented employees.
“We are thrilled to once again be expanding Flex-n-Gate’s footprint in Michigan with our new manufacturing operation located in Troy. Flex-N-Gate truly appreciates the support that the city and state have shown regarding this project. The State of Michigan has been consistent in its support of all Flex-n-Gate growth plans and it is this consistency which keeps us coming back to Michigan,” said Flex-N-Gate Ex
The project will bring immediate jobs with a large auto supplier and will further solidify the company’s position in Michigan while aligning with MEDC’s strategic goals of retention and growth in the automotive and advanced manufacturing businesses in the state.
The city of Troy has provided support to the project with staff, financial and marketing assistance and extended a previously approved Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption Program abatement for the property.
“The city of Troy is proud to welcome Flex-N-Gate and its employees to its new facility at 1400 Rochester Road in Troy. As a global Tier 1 auto supplier, Flex-N-Gate recognized the significant business advantages that come with a Troy location,” said Glenn Lapin, Troy Economic Development Specialist.
Individuals interested in careers with Flex-N-Gate Troy should visit https://jobs.flex-n-
Petit Bateau, LLC plans to construct two five-story mixed-use buildings, and four multi-family townhome buildings, on six parcels in the Cultural Center of Midtown Detroit. The Petit Bateau project will include the East Building, consisting of commercial space and 38 residential units, and the West Building, comprised of retail space, 38 residential units, and four multifamily townhome buildings with a total of 16 townhomes. The project will include a total of 92 residential units with 20 percent of those units set aside for individuals at 80 percent of area median income or below. The project will also include public improvements such as sidewalks, alley paving, curbs and a low-impact green storm water management system.
The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $30.9 million. The City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of a brownfield work plan including state tax capture in the amount of $247,167 for the reimbursement of brownfield activities. The city of Detroit is supporting the project with the local portion of the brownfield Tax Increment Financing and a 15-year Neighborhood Enterprise Zone tax abatement valued at approximately $2.6 million. The city of Detroit is engaged with MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program.
“Throughout the City, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is helping to activate vacant property into productive use,” said DEGC executive vice president Kenyetta Hairston-Bridges, Economic Development and Investment Services. “With the support of the City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, MEDC and MSF, Julio Bateau’s development will complete the last vacant block in Midtown, and provide both commercial space and affordable housing. The DEGC is proud to enable development that connects residents to the rich fabric of the neighborhood with its diverse housing, historic churches, schools, parks, and major cultural institutions.”
The project is putting a long-vacant property to new use, putting it back on the tax roll and offering necessary workforce housing, supporting MEDC strategic objectives including developing attractive places to retain and attract talent and creating more equitable access to attainable housing.
“We are working to retain and grow global companies like Flex-N-Gate who see the opportunity to grow and create good manufacturing jobs in Southeast Michigan, while supporting projects that create the vibrant communities that our workforce is able to live, work and play in,” said Josh Hundt, Chief Business Development Officer and Executive Vice President at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “We are proud to work with our local partners on these two projects that will help to drive economic opportunity in the region.”
About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org
New mixed-use development in Midtown Detroit will bring workforce housing and increased density to the area
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2021
Gov. Whitmer Signs Proclamation Marking June 17 as Essential Worker Appreciation Day
LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a proclamation marking June 17 as Essential Worker Appreciation Day.
“I am thankful for all of our essential workers for bravely stepping up throughout the pandemic to keep Michiganders safe and our economy running,” said Gov. Whitmer. “From staffing our hospitals to keeping our grocery store shelves stocked, essential workers selflessly served during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the well-being of their fellow Michiganders. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.”
“I am grateful for the essential workers who stood tall each day to keep our fellow Michiganders safe,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist. “We must remember that many of our essential workers are from communities of color that were disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. We must recommit ourselves to protecting worker’s safety, well-being, and economic security by continuing our work to eliminate racial health disparities and build Michigan into a safer, more inclusive state.”
“We could not have made it through the last 15 months as a state without the hard work, dedication and sacrifices of the working people on the front lines,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Hardworking folks in essential roles have risked their lives to care for the sick, keep us fed and clothed, deliver goods and deliver us where we need to go, and so much more. Today as a state we say thank you to everyone who’s risked their health and safety to keep our state running, and on behalf of working people we say thank you to the governor for doing what’s necessary to protect and support frontline workers throughout the pandemic.”
“This year was the toughest year of our lives. Essential workers are proud of how we showed up for our communities but now, we need support,” said Tamara Blue, nursing home CNA and member of SEIU Healthcare Michigan. “We’ve been called heroes, but not treated as such. We work hard, but still can’t afford basic needs, like rent and healthcare. Many of us can’t afford to take time off to recover after this traumatic year. It is time for that to change — for essential workers to be valued and respected. It means a lot to see Governor Whitmer recognizing the commitment and sacrifices of essential workers. We know lifting up essential workers is how we can build a better future, where all Michiganders can live with dignity and respect.”
Last year, Governor Whitmer launched the “Futures for Frontliners” program to provide a tuition-free pathway to college or a technical certificate to essential workers who don’t have a college degree. To date, over 120,000 frontline workers applied for Futures for Frontliners.
View the full proclamation here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
AG Nessel Commends Senate, House for Recognition of Elder Abuse Awareness Day and Month
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel commended the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives for recognizing the importance of Elder Abuse.
On June 8, the Senate adopted Senate Resolution 62
“I want to thank both chambers for recognizing the importance of elder abuse awareness, an often unnoticed and unreported issue,” Nessel said. “In order to properly protect our aging population, we must be able to recognize the signs of abuse. Our Elder Abuse Task Force has a number of resources available online to help identify physical and emotional abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of seniors.”
The Task Force launched in 2019 and consists of more than 55 different organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sections – all working together to combat elder abuse.
Last week, Nessel joined with a bipartisan group of state legislators from both chambers to announce legislation implementing fundamental reforms impacting guardians and conservators. These bills are the result of more than two years of work and, if passed by the legislature, would implement the remainder of the Task Force’s Initiatives.
For more information on the Elder Abuse Task Force, visit the Task Force’s webpage. To report elder abuse, call 855-444-3911.
If you or someone you know is being abused or neglected in a nursing facility, contact the Michigan Attorney General’s Health Care Fraud Hotline at (800) 24-ABUSE (2-2873) or file a complaint online through the Michigan Attorney General Patient Abuse Complaint Form.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
AG Nessel, DIFS Remind Consumers to Watch Out for Callers Claiming to be from Health Departments
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is reissuing a consumer alert in partnership with the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS), warning Michiganders to beware of health care scammers – this time, claiming to be a representative from the “U.S. Department of Health Insurance Plans for Citizens” offering health insurance plans at a discount.
Last month, Nessel warned of scammers claiming to be from state or local health departments as well as vaccination clinics, asking for personal information.
“Bad actors continue to take advantage of this pandemic by any means possible,” Nessel said. “Be wary of unsolicited calls claiming to be from state, local, or federal health departments offering discounted health insurance. The latest scam uses President Biden’s new healthcare policy in an effort to obtain your personal information like a social security number or Medicare number.”
If you receive an unsolicited call from someone saying they represent a local, state or federal agency, be skeptical and trust your instincts.
Hang up if they claim to be from a government agency and:
These types of scams often contact residents through a robocall. Because many reputable companies use telemarketing to conduct business using live-call telemarketers or automated robocalls, criminals will also use this method in an effort to steal personal or banking information.
You can learn more about warning signs through the Attorney General’s Consumer Alert on robocalls.
DIFS regulates the insurance and financial services industries in Michigan, and operates the Fraud Investigation Unit (FIU) dedicated to the prevention of criminal and fraudulent activities in the insurance and financial services markets. Consumers can report suspected insurance fraud, including suspected health insurance fraud scams, to the FIU on the DIFS website.
“The current Marketplace special enrollment period, which is open until August 15, is an important opportunity for Michiganders to get comprehensive and affordable health insurance, but criminals are ramping up their efforts to confuse and scam consumers,” DIFS Director Anita Fox said. “It is critical that Michiganders get the information and health coverage they need while protecting themselves from fraud and identity theft. Always verify the identity and legitimacy of a caller and never give out your personal information over the phone.”
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, if you’re concerned that a call from a local health department may be a scam, write down the name and number of the person who called you, then reach out to your local health department to confirm the legitimacy of the call.
In terms of COVID-related messages, calls from the state contact tracing team will come from 866-806-3447 or MI COVID HELP.
During a legitimate COVID-19 contact tracing or case investigation, health departments will ask about your health and request that you verify your birthdate or address. They will also ask about and/or encourage vaccination, if you are unvaccinated. They will never ask for social security numbers, payment such as bank or credit card information, or your immigration status.
DIFS can help consumers with health insurance questions and complaints and can provide information about the Health Insurance Marketplace Special Enrollment Period that is now open through August 15. For more information, including a schedule of upcoming virtual health insurance town halls, consumers should visit the DIFS Health Insurance webpage or call 877-999-6442 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Department of Attorney General provides a library of resources for consumers to review anytime.
Your connection to consumer protection is just a click or phone call away. Consumer complaints can be filed online at the Attorney General’s website, or by calling 877-765-8388.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2021
Gov. Whitmer Encourages Businesses to Enroll in Back–to–Work Incentive, Asks Legislature to Expand Program to Get More Michiganders Back into Workforce
LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer today asked the legislature to expand Michigan’s Back-to-Work Incentive, which builds off of the state’s Work Share program, to give eligible laid off employees a $300 per week bonus for returning to the workforce through September 4, 2021. The state is using the federal $300 per week in unemployment benefits to incentivize people to go back to work, maximize families’ income, and help employers fully staff their businesses. The program allows job providers to bring back or keep employees working with minimally reduced hours while they receive partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages.
“Michigan’s Back to Work Incentive is a win-win for workers and businesses. It puts more money in the pockets of hardworking families and helps employers fill jobs by incentivizing people to re-enter the workforce,” said Governor Whitmer. “Legislative action to expand the incentive means more opportunities for workers and more ways for business to attract and retain new and returning employees. As we continue putting Michigan back to work, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that Michigan families and small businesses emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever before.”
While this boost is available to workers receiving benefits who were brought back by an employer participating in the program, Governor Gretchen Whitmer today is asking the legislature for an expansion to allow employers to hire new employees via this incentive to provide more options for workers to get back to work. The legislature previously approved this expansion in the fall, but allowed it to expire in March.
“Expanding the incentive would allow Michigan to take advantage of even more federal dollars flowing into our state to support local businesses and grow our economy,” said Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Acting Director Susan Corbin. “The program offers employers of all shapes and sizes the flexibility to address their specific business needs and an expansion would provide even greater work schedule flexibility for everyone as we work to defeat COVID-19 together.”
Governor Whitmer signed an executive order last year to offer employers greater flexibility as they restarted their business and brought employees back from unemployment by allowing most employers to qualify for the program. Throughout the pandemic, the program has provided over $550 million in benefits, preserved over 110,000 jobs and helped nearly 2,600 employers retain workers and bring them back to the workforce. The program has also saved the state’s unemployment trust fund over $90 million. During the peak of enrollment during the pandemic, Michigan’s Work Share program led the nation and far outpaced even the combined totals of larger states like New York, Ohio and Texas.
Since the program is 100% federally financed through September 4, 2021, there will be no impact to the employer’s unemployment tax rate and the state unemployment trust fund will also be held harmless.
“Governor Whitmer’s Back to Work Incentive program will be enormously beneficial for both Michigan workers and local businesses as we work towards normalcy ,” said Kevin Stotts, President of Talent 2025. “Small businesses have been resilient throughout the pandemic, and I am grateful to have Governor Whitmer’s support for business communities as we emerge from the pandemic stronger than before.”
Michigan’s Back to Work Incentive – Work Share – has many options for employers, allowing multiple plans and the option to choose which employees participate in each plan. For more information on Michigan’s Work Share, visit: www.Michigan.gov/