Now is not the time to roll the dice and experiment with a quick-fix scheme
by Pat Devlin, Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council
In case you missed it, there was good news on the Michigan jobs front this week: for the second year in a row, industrial employment in Michigan posted a gain according to the 2013 Michigan Manufacturers Directory, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News Inc. in Evanston, Ill.
MNI reports Michigan gained 14,648 manufacturing jobs from January 2012 to January 2013 or 2.3 percent. Manufacturers’ News reports Michigan is now home to 14,222 manufacturers employing 650,291 workers.
Our jobs climate is improving, and we need to sustain the momentum. At the same time, we must recognize that Michigan has one of the most comprehensive energy policies in this country, providing investors the market stability they need to fully develop large energy infrastructure projects. Michigan’s utilities have greater access to capital to fund utility investments which helps reduce their borrowing costs.
Because of this comprehensive energy policy, our hometown electric providers have undertaken some of the largest construction projects statewide and brought jobs and millions of dollars in economic development to Michigan’s businesses, families and communities.
Jobs – good-paying, steady, dependable jobs – are never easy to come by, as we all know.
In the past five years, more than $4 billion of investments have been made in the state’s energy infrastructure, including renewable energy projects and power plant upgrades. This has resulted in greater reliability, and helped stabilize employment for thousands of Michigan workers and their families.
Michigan is well positioned to diversify its energy portfolio, building power to meet future demand.
In fact, DTE and Consumers are investing more than $800 million to upgrade the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant. Meanwhile, Consumers plans to invest $750 million in a new natural gas plant in Genesee County. The end result is more local investment, more workers on the job and more families feeling secure about their future.
Now is not the time to roll the dice and experiment with a quick-fix scheme to save money. Now is the time to build for the future and support the economic principles that boost employment numbers and re-invest in our community. Years from now, our neighbors will thank us.
Pat Devlin is Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council.