- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder ordered a reorganization of the state’s economic growth and job training efforts under one department and also announced some leadership changes on Thursday.

The executive order creates the Department of Talent and Economic Development and within it the Michigan Talent Investment Agency, unless the Legislature objects.

Snyder said the move will help achieve a top priority in his second term: developing a talented workforce trained to do skilled jobs that employers are having trouble filling.

“This is more about getting the great people we already have working better together,” he said during a news conference. “This issue of talent and training is going to be a driving force for economic development.”

The Talent and Economic Development Department will fold existing unemployment, workforce development and housing agencies and the Michigan Strategic Fund under one roof and also coordinate job preparedness and worker training programs.

The new department and agency will assume operations in March.

The executive order authorizes the director of the Talent and Economic Development Department to become the chief executive of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., depending on whether the MEDC board makes that determination. Snyder said he would recommend that MEDC Executive Vice President Steve Arwood, who will lead the new Talent and Economic Development Department and be a cabinet member, head the MEDC.

MEDC CEO Mike Finney will join Snyder’s executive staff as senior adviser for economic growth, focusing on the structurally unemployed in part by expanding a pilot project that’s currently in four cities to the entire state. He also will help work on “big-time” economic development projects for the governor.

Stephanie Comai, deputy director of the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department, will lead the Talent Investment Agency and serve in the cabinet.

The Snyder administration plans to announce more details of the consolidation next month.

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Online:

Executive Order 2014-12: https://1.usa.gov/1zCggcN

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Follow David Eggert on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00


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