MEDC Hearings Continue Today

    LANSING — The second of at least three hearings is set for today to examine the role of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), the state’s chief agency charged with recruiting and retaining jobs for Michigan workers.

    Scheduled to take place in Lansing, the Senate hearing will hear several parties testifying, including representatives from the Van Andel Institute.

    A key focus of the hearings is on the effectiveness of the Michigan Economic Growth Authority grants and whether this program should be reauthorized by the legislature before the grants expire on Dec. 31, 2003.

    The hearings begin as recent findings by the Michigan Auditor General reveal that companies receiving job-training grants have not been hiring the number of employees they claimed to have hired.

    “The purpose of these hearings is simple,” said Senator Jason Allen, R-Traverse City. “It’s all about jobs in Michigan. There is no greater challenge to Michigan government in the first decade of a new century than how to attract new, cutting edge job providers to Michigan and keep current employers in our state.”

    The Commerce and Labor Committee and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Labor and Economic Development held a joint meeting last week to discuss the effectiveness of current economic development efforts and recommend improvements to keep Michigan competitive in the 21st century.

    At the initial hearing, the committee asked the MEDC to present an overview of its organizational structure, policies and challenges facing it. MEDC’s acting CEO, Jeff Mason, and board member and former House Speaker Paul Hillegonds made the presentation.

    “Job creation tools must remain current with the times,” said Sen. Valde Garcia, R-Howell. “We’ve had success through the 1990s but we must constantly examine our efforts to ensure the investments we are making are generating appropriate return.”

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