Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) today announced the receipt of an Industry 4.0 Regional Programming Grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The grant, which totals $115,000, will fund programming aimed at helping businesses understand and navigate the importance of Industry 4.0 and the convergence of traditional manufacturing with technology.
“The next industrial revolution is here and it’s going to change the way our manufacturers and other businesses conduct operations,” said Vicky Rowinski, director, MCPED. “But Industry 4.0 shouldn’t be something we fear, it’s something that can help organizations stay competitive in an ever-evolving global economy. However, understanding and implementing Industry 4.0 technologies like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics, virtual reality and cybersecurity can be challenging. And this is why we applied for the MEDC grant. The county wants to assist local businesses in their efforts to adapt and thrive in today’s changing marketplace. We want to give them the tools they need to succeed.”
The grant will enable the execution of a comprehensive promotional and educational strategy developed by MCPED called Macomb Next, which includes the creation of a website, targeted social media campaigns, printed and digital marketing materials and videos that highlight collaborative partners and local success stories.
It also includes two workshops, the first of which will be held virtually and in-person (Register HERE) on Wednesday, October 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Macomb Community College University Center (44575 Garfield Road, Clinton Township, MI 48038). Attendees will learn about trends in Industry 4.0, hear from businesses in the community that are using it today, link up to available resources and see live technology demos. There will also be a panel discussion and a keynote presentation from Tom Kelly, executive director and CEO of Automation Alley.
“The smart and connected technologies of Industry 4.0 are impacting all businesses. To stay competitive, companies must start operating with a software-first mindset,” Kelly said. “I would encourage Macomb County-based companies to take advantage of this new grant and the many other economic development resources available in Michigan to ensure they do not get left behind.”
Macomb County Planning and Economic Development was one of 10 nonprofit organizations and educational institutions across the state to receive the Regional Programming Grant from the MEDC. The grants are part of its larger Industry 4.0 initiative, which aims to drive 4.0 readiness in small and mid-sized manufacturers statewide and ensure that 50 percent of Michigan manufacturers are prepared to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies at some level by 2025.
In addition to the $115,000 awarded to MCPED, the county will supply an $11,000 match to fund its efforts. The department will also work with several partners to ensure a wide reach for Macomb Next, including Automation Alley, the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), Lawrence Tech University, LIFT, Macomb Community College, the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD), Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC), Oakland University, Wayne State University and The Velocity Center.
Collaborations of this level are important, as Macomb is home to a large number of manufacturing facilities and innovators, but it is also ready for additional investment. Currently there are more than 1,200 companies in Macomb that integrate design, prototyping, production and supply chain management to create shorter product development cycles and increased manufacturing efficiencies. Collectively, these organizations employ almost 40,000 highly-skilled workers across fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Through Macomb Next and its Industry 4.0 programming, county leaders want to set the stage for increasing those numbers and continuing job growth within the sector.
“These organizations create high tech and high demand jobs for our community, and when applied, Industry 4.0 practices provide a greater return on investment and future growth,” said Rowinski. “Macomb County is a manufacturing powerhouse, but in order to continue that level of prowess, our companies need to make investments in their talent, technology and operations. This sounds intimidating, but that’s why our department stands ready to help. We’re here to be the guides in this next evolution of industry.”
Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development