Michigan, one of the nation’s manufacturing and auto industry hubs, was among the states hardest hit by carmakers’ decline. Its governor, Jennifer M. Granholm, now faces the daunting task of rebuilding the state’s job market. The Washington Post reports on Granholm’s approach to the task, which includes turning to green industries to provide jobs. Apparently, the battle has been an uphill one.
Since Granholm took office in 2003, she has taken a number of measures to remake Michigan – diversifying the state’s economy, creating jobs, and building the green job market among them. She has offered tax credits, loans, and other incentives to auto, wind, solar, and other industries, in order to convince them to bring jobs to Michigan. She is also building electric vehicle and car battery programs that could generate as many as 40,000 more jobs by 2020. So far, Granholm has created 163,000 positions, approximately 10,800 of which came from overseas companies.
Despite Granholm’s efforts, however, Michigan has lost some 632,000 jobs during her tenure (870,000 in the last decade), due in part to the auto industry’s decline, a loss of tax revenue, and political issues (i.e. negotiating tax deals with a divided legislature). Moreover, some critics have opposed Granholm’s fight for green industry. Some critics question her enthusiasm about alternative energy jobs (believing those jobs represent a relatively small number of positions), and others believe the governor should focus on other issues.
Apparently, there are no easy victories in the fight for green jobs or for sustainable industry – no matter how urgent the need for a remedy. However, in Granholm’s words, “You can’t give up…. You gotta keep moving.”