Detroit Regional Chamber > Mackinac Policy Conference > Gov. Whitmer Welcomes World Economic Forum’s U.S. Centre for Advanced Manufacturing to Michigan, Bringing Economic Growth, New Jobs

Gov. Whitmer Welcomes World Economic Forum’s U.S. Centre for Advanced Manufacturing to Michigan, Bringing Economic Growth, New Jobs

June 2, 2022
MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined state, local and industry officials during the Mackinac Policy Conference to celebrate the selection of Michigan as the home for the World Economic Forum’s new U.S. Centre for Advanced Manufacturing. The World Economic Forum is partnering with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Oakland County, and nonprofit Industry 4.0 knowledge center Automation Alley on the U.S. Centre, which will be housed within Automation Alley in Troy.

“We are thrilled to welcome the World Economic Forum’s United States Centre for Advanced Manufacturing to Michigan, where our century-long auto manufacturing heritage, innovative businesses, and hardworking people continue to drive the future of the mobility and electrification in the U.S. and around the world,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Since I took office, Michigan has added nearly 30,000 manufacturing jobs, many building batteries, electric vehicle, or other advanced mobility products. These investments have cemented our status as the global epicenter of mobility and manufacturing, and with the Forum’s new Centre, we will build on that leadership, bringing in even more opportunity for workers and bolstering economic opportunity in every region of our state. Today’s investment will ensure that the words ‘Made in Michigan’ carry on for generations.”

The U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Centre joins a network of 15 Centres that spans four continents and is the first Centre in the world focused on advanced manufacturing.

The U.S. Centre for Advanced Manufacturing will engage the American manufacturing ecosystem to rapidly increase Industry 4.0 adoption through a series of local, state, national, and international advanced manufacturing research-based and pilot-acceleration projects. In doing so, it will create a ripple effect, attracting additional advanced manufacturing investments to create additional jobs and opportunities for Michigan’s workforce. The goals of the Centre will focus solely on the future of manufacturing and help solidify Michigan’s position as the manufacturing capital of the United States, accelerating the transformation of the advanced manufacturing industry in Michigan and nationwide.

“We are delighted to join forces with Automation Alley on this new major effort and to work closely with the manufacturing community in both Michigan and across the U.S. The new Centre will help manufacturing companies – including small and medium-sized enterprises – anticipate supply chain disruptions, build resilience, and capitalize on the new opportunities brought by the 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Head of Advanced Manufacturing and Production at the World Economic Forum Francisco Betti. “Through new collaborative efforts and projects, the Centre will work with leaders from across different sectors to help speed up the transition towards advanced manufacturing and unlock productivity, innovation, and growth, while enabling workforce engagement and sustainability at scale.”

Last week, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved a total of $3 million grants in support of the Centre over a three-year term. Oakland County plans to match the funds with $1 million per year for three years.

“The rapid pace of technological change coupled with geopolitical, climate, and supply chain disruptions has created an urgency for manufacturers across the globe to adopt advanced manufacturing technologies and practices to remain competitive,” said Automation Alley Executive Director and CEO Tom Kelly. “This Centre will ensure all U.S. stakeholders are aligned for shared value creation and to accelerate digital transformation. Manufacturers of all sizes need to pay attention to the rapid pace of technological change to remain competitive and relevant today. Automation Alley is proud to be leading this initiative focused on the most pressing issues around the future of manufacturing operations, workforce development, changing consumer demands, sustainability, standards, regulations and so much more.”

Cynthia Hutchison, Automation Alley’s Vice President, will serve as Head of the U.S. Centre for Advanced Manufacturing. She previously served as the liaison to the World Economic Forum by overseeing the Michigan Advanced Manufacturing Hub.

“This partnership will allow Oakland County, the region and the state to be a leading catalyst for transformational developments in advanced manufacturing,” said Oakland County Executive David Coulter. “The U.S. Centre for Advanced Manufacturing will be a good fit for Automation Alley and Oakland County because we put theory into practice with our Project DIAMOnD initiative, which provided $10 million in 3D printers to small manufacturers. We intend to expand on this investment to accelerate the transition toward advanced manufacturing and attract national and international firms to Oakland County.”

Today’s announcement builds on the Forum’s plans to establish a new global Centre for Urban Transformation in Detroit, announced last year, where it will grow public-private collaboration in cities and advance more inclusive and sustainable models for urban development.

It also complements the partnership MEDC has with Automation Alley and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center through its Industry 4.0 initiative, launched in 2020 to help small and mid-sized manufacturers prepare for the future of manufacturing. Michigan’s small manufacturers looking to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies are now able to apply for grants of up to $25,000 as part of the $3 million Industry 4.0 Technology Implementation Grant program. Grants will be reimbursement-based and will cover up to 50 percent of eligible technologies, including additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics and automation, and more.

“The U.S. Centre for Advanced Manufacturing further underscores Michigan’s continuing stature as the advanced manufacturing capital of North America and will help Michigan manufacturers to adopt new and innovative technologies to remain competitive well into the future,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. “Through the U.S. Centre and programs like our Industry 4.0 initiative with Automation Alley and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, we are strengthening our state’s leadership in advanced manufacturing and in the entrepreneurship and job creation this innovative sector supports.”

The World Economic Forum, established in 1971, is an international, nonprofit organization that engages the foremost political, business, cultural, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.

“As a company that has built a global reputation on its ability to stay on the cutting edge of hyper-pure polysilicon production for the semiconductor and solar energy industries, Hemlock Semiconductor applauds Governor Whitmer’s commitment to building on Michigan’s rich manufacturing heritage,” said Hemlock Semiconductor Chairman and CEO AB Ghosh. “Our team looks forward to a collaborative partnership that drives investments, promotes sustainability, and reaffirms Michigan’s position as the world’s capital of advanced manufacturing.”