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2024 In The News Just Transition & Equity

Michigan Advance: As Michigan’s clean energy industry expands, the state is helping workers with the transition

June 27, 2024
Michigan Advance writes how the state’s Community and Worker Economic Transition Office is poised to help workers transition to the clean energy economy.

“As Michigan sets its sights on 100% clean energy sources, and automakers shift production away from gas-powered vehicles to electric models, a newly established office within the Department of Labor of Economic and Opportunity (LEO) is looking at efforts to help workers bridge the gap between jobs working with fossil fuels, to those working with renewables.


Created as part of the clean energy and climate package signed into law in November, the Community and Worker Economic Transition Office in hopes of facilitating a just transition by retaining and creating jobs in autos, manufacturing and energy.


While the office has not received state funding, it has leveraged federal funding and philanthropic investments to begin retooling manufacturers most impacted by a shift to renewables, support clean energy workforce training and diversify Michigan’s energy supply chain.


In conversations with stakeholders including labor groups, local government officials and business leaders, Jonathan Smith, LEO senior chief deputy director, said the most critical thing discussed was acting before an economic change occurs and brings about negative impacts.”

About the Alliance

Launched on June 1, 2017 by the governors of Washington, New York, and California to help fill the void left by the previous administration’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, the Alliance has grown to include 24 governors from across the U.S. representing approximately 60% of the U.S. economy and 55% of the U.S. population. Governors in the Alliance have pledged to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, at least 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030, and collectively achieve overall net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as practicable, and no later than 2050.


The Alliance’s states and territories continue to demonstrate that climate action goes hand-in-hand with economic growth, job creation, and better public health. While reducing emissions by 18% between 2005 and 2021, Alliance members grew their collective GDP by nearly 30%. The coalition’s states and territories are employing more workers in the clean energy sector, achieving lower levels of dangerous air pollutants, and preparing more effectively for climate impacts and executing more pre-disaster planning than the rest of the country.