From Michigan Development Guide 2023

‘We Are Building Something Special'

Gov. Whitmer outlines her ‘whole-of-Michigan’ approach to economic development.

Michigan State Capitol in Lansing
Getty Images


hen your state is the birthplace of the American automobile and the assembly line that mass-produced it, you tend to place a high priority on manufacturing. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has done that, and the results speak for themselves. More than $20 billion in new manufacturing investments landed in the state during the past 18 months, and many more are on the way as suppliers follow the action.

In the following interview, Gov. Whitmer shares how Michigan has accomplished this and what the state plans to do as a follow-up act.

What are the characteristics about Michigan that make your state a prime location for business?

GOV. WHITMER: We have a strong manufacturing industry, talented workforce, and offer a great quality of life at a good cost of living. For a century, we’ve powered the global auto industry and are taking steps to lead the future of chips, electric vehicles, batteries and clean energy too. We’re home to 21% of the world’s freshwater and some of the globe’s best natural resources. Over the last year, our bipartisan efforts to spur economic development have created thousands of good-paying jobs and brought investment to every region of Michigan. We are going to build on this momentum by continuing to work across the aisle to get things done, bring in more transformative projects, and continue delivering on the issues that make a real difference in people’s lives.

MI23_GovInterview-one“We want to bring supply chains home and lead the future of advanced manufacturing. In my second term, we will be keeping our foot on the accelerator to get things done.”

– Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

How have you made Michigan a more competitive business location during your time as Governor?

GOV. WHITMER: Since I took office, we’ve secured over 35,000 good-paying auto jobs, made record investments in education, talent, housing and infrastructure, and powered regional and statewide economic development. In my first term, I signed 1,000 bipartisan bills, including one to set up powerful economic development tools that are helping us bring manufacturing jobs and supply chains home. Our strong workforce development programs have put over 200,000 people on tuition-free paths to higher education or skills training, helping people provide for their families and businesses get the talent they need to grow in Michigan.

How do you plan to take advantage of the federal resources available through the CHIPS Act and secure more semiconductor industry investments?

GOV. WHITMER: Since the CHIPS Act was introduced, I’ve been advocating to get it passed. We worked with our congressional delegation, and I am proud that we got it done. I also signed an executive directive before its passage to put our state in the best possible position to compete for every dollar from the bill. We are also developing an ecosystem of talent programs, including a dedicated Semiconductor Talent Action Team, and economic development tools, such as the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve fund, that we can use to turbocharge the growth of the semiconductor supply chain in our state. 

What is your assessment of the success of the Pure Michigan ad campaign?

GOV. WHITMER: Beyond being home to the world’s leading automakers, suppliers, battery manufacturers and firms on the cutting-edge of semiconductor fabrication and life sciences, we get to make this progress against the backdrop of Pure Michigan. Some of the most beautiful places on the planet can be found across our two peninsulas. Our iconic Pure Michigan campaign succeeds in showing the world what can be found here and what we have to offer. As a proud, lifelong Michigander, I can tell you that we Michiganders are uniquely bonded to our state. We represent Michigan on our cars, our apparel, our jewelry and every conceivable form of merchandise you can imagine, and the Pure Michigan campaign offers the world a glimpse of our beautiful state. We love Michigan, and we know you will too.

More than 200,000 MICHIGANDERS were placed on tuition-free paths to higher education or skills training in the Governor’s first term. 

Source: Michigan Governor’s Office

When you talk to the CEO of a company in another state, what is your pitch to that company about Michigan?

GOV. WHITMER: Many people already know about our legacy of innovation — it’s a history that we are proud of. I want CEOs in other states to know that we are continuing that legacy and driving the world forward. I want them to know about our talented workforce, our unmatched quality of life and our whole-of-Michigan approach to attracting and supporting businesses in the state. Our story is one of resilience turning into renaissance, and they are welcome to join us.

During your remaining time in office, what are your biggest goals that you want to accomplish?

GOV. WHITMER: I want to continue focusing on the issues that make a real difference in people’s lives — the kitchen-table issues that impact every Michigander. That includes lowering costs to make it easier for people to start a family or business and pursue their potential. We want to bring supply chains home and lead the future of advanced manufacturing. In my second term, we will be keeping our foot on the accelerator to get things done.

What is Michigan’s best-kept secret?

GOV. WHITMER: We are building something special in Michigan. Our state is on the rise, bolstered by economic momentum, a surge in American manufacturing and strategic investments in talent, placemaking, and economic development. There is unparalleled opportunity here to build the future of cars, chips and clean energy while enjoying the splendors of Pure Michigan. Getting the job done will require grit and swagger, which Michiganders have in leaps and bounds. Come be a part of what we’re building in Michigan. 

Ron Starner
Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc.

Ron Starner

Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.


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