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Jobs & Economic Opportunity

While the unemployment rate in Lenawee County now sits at 4.3% - roughly pre-pandemic levels - nonetheless, the median income is $33,094 for individuals and $65,484 for families. This suggests that, while unemployment is low, average incomes have not risen in the county and certainly have not risen relative to inflation. Simply put, we need to work to bring more good, high paying, working class jobs to the county that will allow people to enjoy a better quality of life.

One way to do this is by committing to building affordable public housing in Lenawee County. This will create more jobs in the skilled trades, and permanent jobs involved in maintaining and managing these developments. Additionally, if we want to attract and keep talent in Lenawee County, we must increase affordable housing options. Similarly, the Lenawee County Commission should pass a Responsible Contractor Ordinance, which would ensure that all county contracts are awarded to vendors that ensure a fair wage and fair benefits to their employees - thus incentivizing Lenawee County businesses to increase compensation and benefits.

Finally, the county should establish an Office of Community Engagement, which would act as a hub for connecting Lenawee County workers to employment opportunities and retraining programs, such as the Michigan Reconnect Program, which provides free community college tuition for residents over the age of 25. As a higher education professional, I know just how difficult and confusing it can be to navigate going back to school as an adult and having a resource like an Office of Community Engagement could be a game changer in helping our citizens connect with resources.

While there is not one size fits all solution to economic development, right now almost all of our development in the county is being carried out by and for only a select few businesses and individuals instead of everyone. I believe, though, that together we can solve big problems and create opportunities for all!

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