Federal grants to help bring manufacturing jobs to Detroit

Posted at 5:08 AM, Oct 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-03 18:40:03-04

Detroit has landed grants totaling $4.1 million from the federal government to support efforts to bring automotive manufacturing back to the city.

The news was officially delivered Monday by U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams at LINC Logistics, which is located in the I-94 Industrial Park.

Most of the money will be used to cover improvements to make Georgia Street the primary truck route to serve manufacturing plants there.

"The $3.2 million grant is going to allow us to rebuild Georgia and the infrastructure in the surrounding areas so we can continue to land more plants in this area and continue to bring jobs to the part of the city that has the highest unemployment rate," said Mayor Mike Duggan during a press conference.

The city and Detroit Economic Growth Corporation will hire an Economic Recovery Coordination team with the remainder of the money to manage elements of the reindustrialization of the city. The grant will be cover salaries for a three-year period.

"The fact that we're investing multi-million dollars here in the city of Detroit speaks to the volumes of commitment, collaboration and expertise that is here on the ground." said Williams, who served as Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio before joining the Obama administration.

For Detroit City Council member Scott Benson, it's all about jobs and opportunity for residents of the east side neighborhood.

"While we always talk about what's going on downtown, Detroit resides in its neighborhoods, and so what's happening here impacts the entire city," Benson said.

Linc became the first tenant of the park when it opened its $30 million, 500,000 square foot warehouse two years ago. The company employs about 200 full and part-time workers, according to Matthew Maroun.

Raven Harris is one of those employees and she said being hired to work at the facility has made a huge difference in her life.

"It's one of the best jobs I've ever had," said Harris. "It's changed me and my kids lives so much. I was able to move into our own home when I got this job, I was able to save and everything," she said, pausing for just a moment when the emotion of the moment hit her.

Planning of the infrastructure improvements will begin immediately, according to city officials. Construction is expected to start next spring with completion expected in December 2017.