Emerging technology drives job creation in the region: the region's assets are attracting new opportunity.

Author:Strong, Michael
Position:FEATURE
 
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Emerging technology companies looking to move or expand are finding that the state of Michigan is providing a variety of incentives to companies to set up shop here.

It isn't surprising given Michigan's unemployment rate is a little over 13 percent, and the result has been the attraction of several different companies, ranging from General Electric to Boeing to EcoMotors. In fact, the state has seen several dozen companies ranging in size from a few people to a few hundred people settling in the metro Detroit region.

The industries cover the entire spectrum of areas from life sciences to information technologies to alternative energy. The financial incentives, such as tax breaks for everything from training to property are only part of the region's appeal.

According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the state has seen an influx of companies coming into the region. The incentives are a powerful lure, but it's more than just money and tax credits that are drawing these companies to the area.

Having a highly trained workforce paired with several large universities, i.e. the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University, in the area add to the appeal.

"I would say the number one appeal is the technical competence of the area," said Don Runkle, CEO of Allen Park-based EcoMotors. "The people in this area have been involved in lots of different industries. There has been a very high degree of research and development and technology. And not just inventing things, but prototypes and all the things you need to do products."

EcoMotors is in the process of consolidating some of its operations in the area, but it's also closing its technical center in Santa Barbara, Calif. Those functions will now be handled out of the company's engine development center in Livonia, Runkle said.

Some of the dozens of other companies that have moved or expanded in the region include:

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General Electric plans to invest more than $20 million to establish a new proprietary development and manufacturing process center in Van Buren Township. The project is expected to create up to 301 total jobs, including 130 directly at the company. The MEDC estimates the increased economic activity created by this program has the potential to create an additional 171 indirect jobs. The state approved tax credit valued at $2.3 million over 10 years to convince the company to expand in Michigan over competing sites at many...

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