In the last few weeks there has been a spate of new jobs created in Michigan thanks to an unlikely industrial sector in the upper Midwest — the wind energy industry.
[I first published this at CleanTechnica on April 10, 2009] Wind turbine manufacturer Global Wind Systems announced that it will be hiring 250 new employees to work in the company's new wind turbine assembly plant in Novi, Michigan, thirty miles west of Detroit. The news brings a ray of hope for a regional economy struggle under the weight of a sinking auto industry.
In December, Global Wind Systems received $7.3 million in tax credits from the Michigan Economic Growth Authority in December to create 256 direct jobs over six years. Founder and CEO of Global Wind Systems, Chris Long told the Detroit News that he hopes to almost double that number of jobs in just two years.
The current economic slowdown being felt across the country may have hit Detroit before anywhere else in the United States — and it hit hard. By February, Michigan's unemployment rate topped the 12% mark, the highest in the country and the highest in Michigan since 1984, and there were even reports that you could buy a Home in Detroit for $40.
The problem in Michigan has been compounded (or lead) by the fact that the Big Three are simply not selling as many cars and trucks as they used to. But as waves of massive layoffs and job cuts sweep through the auto industry, there is at least one other industry that just might be able to prosper in Detroit's economic environment — and that is the wind energy industry.
Fortunately for companies like Global Wind Systems, there is already a labor force in place and well-versed in manufacturing. Of the thousands of applications already received for the Novi plant, CEO Long said ninety percent listed automotive experience.
Image: tuey via flickr under Creative Commons