ANN ARBOR, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With its partner, the Economic Development Council of Livingston County (EDCLC), Ann Arbor SPARK recently released a report recapping economic development activities in the last quarter of 2017. The highlights include work on ensuring the labor pool’s skills match employer needs as well as projects that will add jobs and investment to the regional economy.
“We’re seeing unemployment continuing to trend downward, generally a good sign, although we know a low unemployment environment can make it difficult to find people to hire, so we’re focusing on partnering to find new ways to hire or train existing staff,” said Phil Santer, Ann Arbor SPARK’s vice president for business development. “In 2017, Ann Arbor SPARK and the EDCLC’s work has worked to support more than $19 million in new private investment. Given the successes we worked to achieve last quarter, we are confident 2018 will be another year of impactful economic growth in Livingston County.”
In the past year, a collaborative effort between EDCLC, Ann Arbor SPARK, and Michigan Works! Southeast provided access to more than $350,000 to support employee training efforts. The Skilled Trades Training Fund helped 9 companies and supported more than 331 jobs.
The report also includes an update on a proposed construction of a natural gas-fired power generation facility in Handy Township. The Competitive Power Ventures facility will be located on 145 acres in the southeast corner of the township, near the Fowlerville Proving Grounds. Competitive Power Ventures recently began a two-year due diligence period that will inform the company whether the site is a suitable location for one of its facilities. Ann Arbor SPARK started to work with the company last August as it began the process of learning about the business climate in Michigan and Livingston County. In the proceeding months, Ann Arbor SPARK has coordinated small group discussions with township officials, local community leaders, and Competitive Power Ventures, and participated in meetings with state officials as the area continued to be evaluated for the project.
In the last quarter, Ann Arbor SPARK also worked closely with the team developing a $3.5 million industrial facility for lease in Fowlerville, which has the potential to attract jobs and investment in Livingston County. Currently, Ann Arbor SPARK is working with the development team on a request for a property tax abatement for the building.
A 2016 success story, coordinating with the Flint Mass Transit Authority and Michigan’s Community Ventures program to bus workers from that region to Livingston County continues to deliver in-demand skilled talent to businesses. The program has grown to include six leading employers - GKI Granola Kitchens, Inc., Thai Summit America Corporation, Toyoda Gosei Fluid Systems, Tribar Manufacturing, Ventra Fowlerville, LLC, and Work Skills Corporation – resulting in the creation of 287 new jobs.
ABOUT ANN ARBOR SPARK
Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone (LDFA), Washtenaw County etcs/Michigan Works!, the City of Ann Arbor, Bank of Ann Arbor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit www.AnnArborUSA.org.