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Public Statements

Letter To The Honorable Hilda Solis, Secretary, U.S. Department Of Labor

All 17 Members of the Michigan Congressional Delegation - 15 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and two United States Senators - sent the following letter to Hilda Solis, Secretary of the Department of Labor, discussing the State's application for three "Regional Economic Impact" National Emergency Grants. Below is the letter from the Members to the Secretary:

The Honorable Hilda Solis
Secretary
U.S. Department of Labor
Frances Perkins Building
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Secretary Solis,

We write to you in strong support of the State of Michigan's application for three "Regional Economic Impact" National Emergency Grants.

There is little doubt that Michigan has been the hardest hit state during the recession. Over the last ten years, Michigan has lost 780,000 jobs, and our state continues to suffer from the highest unemployment rate in the Nation, now at 12.9 percent. With the recent bankruptcy announcements of Chrysler, Visteon, Metaldyne, and General Motors, it is expected that Michigan will lose thousands of additional jobs, as white and blue collar jobs are eliminated. In fact, it is anticipated that for training, Michigan will need as much as $58 million in additional funding in order to address just the effects of General Motors' bankruptcy and seven Michigan plant closures alone. These are individuals with mortgage payments to make, families to feed, and children to send to school. While the focus of job creation is critical, we must also focus on re-training these workers to again join the workforce.

In Michigan, the No Worker Left Behind program has been successful in training workers quickly and efficiently in emerging industries such as advanced manufacturing, health care, renewable energy, among others. In exchange for agreeing to being trained in an emerging industry, workers receive up to two years of free tuition at any Michigan community college, university, or training program, and receive assistance from MichiganWorks! agencies with skill assessment and placement. Since its creation, over 61,000 workers have entered training.

While the previous National Emergency Grant awarded to Michigan was used to help approximately 1,500 workers displaced by plant closures or mass layoffs in Michigan's automotive industry, the news of imminent plant closures by Chrysler and GM make it clear that more assistance will be needed immediately. Funding for three "Regional Economic Impact" grants will help workers in Southeast Michigan, Flint, and Grand Rapids enter into the No Worker Left Behind program, as well as help the State address the waiting lists of workers who are in need of assistance and training. The National Emergency Grants are designed to help states that have been suffering from severe economic hardship, and there is no doubt Michigan's economic future depends on retraining our workforce.

We appreciate your assistance thus far and thank you in advance for your consideration of this request. We look forward to actively working with you to ensure our workers are equipped for 21st Century and "green" jobs that are a focus of the Obama Administration.

Sincerely,

Senator Carl Levin
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Congressman John D. Dingell
Congressman John Conyers
Congressman Fred Upton
Congressman Dale Kildee
Congressman Sandy Levin
Congressman Vern Ehlers
Congressman Pete Hoekstra
Congressman Bart Stupak
Congressman David Camp
Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
Congressman Thaddeus McCotter
Congresswoman Candice Miller
Congressman Mike Rogers
Congressman Gary Peters
Congressman Mark Schauer


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