Gov. Whitmer and Regional Detroit Coalition Celebrate $52.2 Million Grant Bringing More Auto Investment and Jobs to Southeast Michigan

Michigan wins competitive federal grant funding six projects to drive advanced mobility innovation


Sept. 2, 2022

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Detroit Regional Partnership (DRP), and a regional coalition of partners announced that they secured a $52.2 million advanced mobility grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC). The DRP-led coalition was selected out of 60 finalists nationwide and won one of the largest grants out of 21 funded projects. It will advance the state’s mobility and electrification leadership and build on Michigan’s economic momentum. 

“Michigan put the world on wheels, and we are building on our legendary auto manufacturing heritage by working together to bring investment and jobs to every region of our state,” said Governor Whitmer. “For a century, we have led the way when it comes to cutting-edge manufacturing, and today’s investment will capitalize on our core strengths by supporting six projects to improve site readiness, bolster workforce development, and support innovative startups. Together, we are building on our bipartisan economic development efforts, unique mobility and electrification initiatives, and continued, strong auto investments. This collaboration between the state and several local stakeholders led by the Detroit Regional Partnership will help us keep growing Michigan’s economy, creating good-paying jobs, and investing in every region of our state.” 

“The world is experiencing a once-in-a-century mobility revolution, and the Detroit region is poised to ensure the U.S. leads the way. The Global Epicenter of Mobility (GEM) is designed to support mobility in every sense of the word, from the transition to autonomous and electric vehicles to social and economic mobility,” said Maureen Donohue Krauss, CEO of the DRP. “Building on 400+ unique assets, GEM will support workers, startups, and existing companies so they can adapt to the rapidly evolving advanced mobility industry and create the new high-quality jobs of the future.” 

Grant Background 

The grant will support six projects submitted under the Global Epicenter of Mobility (GEM) initiative, designed to accelerate economic growth by building on the region’s mobility assets. GEM will create a smart, secure, sustainable, and inclusive advanced-mobility industry, starting with the transition to next-generation electric, autonomous, and fully connected vehicles.   

The five co-recipients of the grant funding the six projects are:   

  • Detroit Regional Partnership: 1) For GEM Central overall grant administration and 2) to increase site readiness to attract major mobility projects.  
  • State of Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification: 3) To increase equitable access to the state’s world-class testing and proving assets.  
  • Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA), in coordination with MichiganWorks: 4) To help existing companies meet evolving high-tech talent needs, offset retirement losses, and support career pathway advancement for historically excluded communities.  
  • TechTown: 5) To accelerate the growth of mobility startups that drive innovation to fill gaps in the mobility value chain.  
  • University of Michigan Economic Growth Institute: 6) To help existing small- to medium-size manufacturers transition to the electric vehicle market through a new Advanced Mobility Supply Chain Transformation Center. 

Michigan’s Congressional Delegation Celebrates Grant 

“Michigan has an opportunity to continue leading the way in innovation and the future of mobility,” said Senator Gary Peters. “I was proud to pass the American Rescue Plan that made this funding possible and advocate for Detroit Regional Partnership to receive these critical federal resources. It will go a long way toward strengthening Michigan’s leadership in developing and building electric and autonomous vehicles and the transportation systems of tomorrow in bold new innovative ways. This investment is a big deal — it will not only support good-paying jobs but invest in our communities by creating new economic opportunities in Metro Detroit and beyond and help bolster our supply chains.” 

“Michigan’s mobility industry strengthens domestic manufacturing, advances research, and creates jobs across this entire country,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12). “Our state’s auto leadership has developed a roadmap to a diverse and resilient mobility economy for other states to replicate. The same strengths that have driven the growth of the automotive sector for decades will now transform our area’s economy into a robust and growing industrial mobility hub, and the Detroit Regional Partnership will be at the forefront of that transformation. Southeast Michigan has a vision for a strong, equitable economic future, and with the immense capabilities of a century’s old auto industry, this EDA grant will support the transition into a smart, sustainable, and inclusive mobility epicenter.”  

“Michigan is the indisputable heartland of the automotive industry in the United States,” said Congresswoman Haley Stevens (MI-11). “In March, I joined the Michigan Delegation in sending a letter of support to Secretary Raimondo for the Detroit Regional Partnership’s application for the EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge, and I am thrilled that the DRP-led coalition was selected among 60 finalists nationwide for this $52.2 million grant. Michigan is known for our unparalleled leadership in automotive engineering and manufacturing technology, and this grant will help maintain and strengthen the innovation economy in our state by boosting site readiness, creating good-paying jobs, and helping small- to medium-size manufacturers transition to the ever-changing needs of the advanced mobility industry.”  

“As the Representative of Michigan’s 14th Congressional District, I understand the impact that this grant will have on our local communities,” said Congresswoman Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14). “The Global Epicenter of Mobility Coalition will promote sustainable living; create good-paying jobs; improve public safety by enhancing public-private partnerships with research universities; empower startups specializing in auto manufacturing; and so much more. As the hub of America’s automotive industry, the EDA’s investment in Detroit will help America drive the future of mobility on a global scale.” 

Coalition Partners Celebrate Grant 

“The Detroit region has proven time and time again its incredible capacity for mobility innovation, helping to drive Michigan into the next century of advanced, inclusive transportation solutions,” said Quentin L. Messer, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “We are proud to invest in this effort with our partners at the Detroit Regional Partnership and across the region to continue the tradition of mobility innovation and leadership and drive economic opportunity for the Detroit region, and across the state.” 

“This award is a clear nod to the idea that mobility matters and that the Detroit region is a key player—in fact, the global epicenter—of this space,” said Darin McKeever, President & CEO, William Davidson Foundation. “The William Davidson Foundation applauds all of the partners who came together to pursue the Build Back Better Regional Challenge and looks forward to their future collaboration and action as they continue to advance job creation, talent development, and other areas crucial to our region’s general leadership and success.”   

“SEMCA is thrilled that the EDA has selected Detroit for this important opportunity,” said Gregory Pitoniak, CEO, Southeast Michigan Community Alliance. “The workforce is an absolutely vital component to the success of the advanced mobility industry in the region, and the rapid advances in technology will require new and different skills. This funding will ensure we are prepared to help employers fill critical positions while providing accessible and equitable career pathways to our diverse jobseeker population both now and in the future”. 

This grant will create and connect a robust, comprehensive startup ecosystem, fundamentally changing the game for early-stage companies in the mobility space in Detroit,” said Ned Staebler, Vice President for Economic Development at Wayne State University and President and CEO of TechTown Detroit. 

“We have witnessed difficult transitions in manufacturing throughout our institute’s history.  The transformation of the automotive industry is challenging, but it presents many opportunities,” said Steve Wilson, Executive Director, Economic Growth Institute, University of Michigan. “The Detroit region is the Global Epicenter of Mobility; we are fortunate to have a world-class supply chain to support this transformation.  The STC is ready to assist and connect resources to ensure these manufacturers are the future of the GEM.”  

The Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) 

The BBBRC received 529 applications from all 50 states and five territories for Phase 1. The DRP coalition won a $500,000 Phase 1 planning grant in December 2021 and was one of 60 finalists invited to apply for Phase 2. The DRP convened local and regional partners to secure an additional $19 million in matching funds to support GEM. The effort brought together a coalition of over 65 members representing a cross section of economic development, higher education, workforce development, businesses, government, labor and community-based organizations. The William Davidson Foundation provided staff and financial support for weekly convenings of the coalition and grant-writing effort.     

The GEM Coalition is one of 21 awardees receiving grants between $25 and $65 million to bolster economic transformation and competitiveness. Nationwide, these projects span 24 states and include $94 million to two primarily Tribal coalitions and over $200 million for projects serving communities impacted by the declining use of coal. Michigan also secured a coal communities grant to redevelop two coal plant sites and establish a new program to support local small businesses in the Downriver area. 

For more information about EDA’s programs, visit

About the Detroit Regional Partnership  

The Detroit Regional Partnership is a public-private economic development partnership focused on marketing and business attraction for the 11-county Detroit Region. It serves as a convenient single point of contact to all regional resources and works with companies and site selectors to help manage their projects and support their transition into the region. It specializes in helping companies understand and access the competitive advantages of our region – from workforce data to state and local incentives.  

To learn more, visit: