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Updated 11:00 AM May 17, 2005




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Coleman lauds governor's Jobs for Michigan Fund

President Mary Sue Coleman says a plan by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to create jobs in Michigan—which includes an infusion of funding for the life sciences and a number of programs to support university research and innovation—is a positive step toward economic recovery.

Granholm unveiled her plan May 4 for the Jobs for Michigan Fund, a $2 billion bond proposal she said could create thousands of 21st century jobs if approved by voters in November. The plan calls for diversification of the state's economy through investments in life sciences, alternative energies, advanced automotive manufacturing, and homeland security and defense.

"Governor Granholm has made several proposals intended to encourage a greater number of students to earn college degrees and to spur the state's research activity," Coleman said following the governor's announcement. "I believe these proposals, which acknowledge the crucial role of higher education in the state's economic strength, are taking us in precisely the right direction.

"I also am enthusiastic about the fact that the governor's proposals would restore funding levels for life sciences research, but over an accelerated time horizon. Our continued investment in this area is vital," Coleman said.

In announcing her plan, Granholm said Michigan's economy is changing, requiring the state to look for areas in which it can compete.

"To win that global competition, and to ensure that Michigan remains a great place to live, work and grow a business, we must embrace this opportunity to reshape our economy," the governor said. "High stakes and global competition make this a time for action."

Granholm called upon the Legislature to put a constitutional amendment before voters in November allowing for the creation of the Jobs for Michigan Fund. The fund is not a tax increase, she stressed. It is a plan that will allow $2 billion in bonds to be sold, with the proceeds to be used for job creation by focusing state resources in four areas:

• Investing in diversification and business development through acceleration of commercialization, thereby giving start-up companies a foothold in the market place;

• Attracting the best research and scientific minds to universities to assist start-up companies with business plans and development;

• Leveraging federal grants for research institutions and technology companies by providing the matching funds needed to bring more federal research dollars and technology innovation funds to Michigan;

• Increasing the amount of research, development and innovation taking place in state universities, companies and non-profit research institutions.

"Research and innovation will be the drivers of our economic success in Michigan and in our nation, and research universities will be a key supplier of these raw materials," Coleman said, adding that the University is eagerly awaiting a more detailed legislative package that incorporates the governor's plan.

"The governor's bold vision will fuel our ability to remain competitive within America and beyond its borders."

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