Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaks during the 2019 State of the City Address on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at East English Village Preparatory Academy in Detroit. (Photo by Montez Miller/Tell Us Detroit)





  Expanding employment, public safety top's Mayor Duggan’s SOTC address

By Karen Hudson Samuels
Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT - In his sixth State of the City address at East English Village Preparatory Academy, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan delivered an upbeat assessment of a city that is attracting business, rebuilding neighborhoods and investing more in public safety.

The recent announcement by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to resurrect the idled Mack Avenue Engine will bring 6,500 jobs to the area, part of FCA’s $4.5 plan to expand manufacturing in southeast Michigan.

The Mayor said the in the city’s pitch to FCA "We decided to go after the motherlode of middle-class jobs," The groundwork for a plant, with 5,000 jobs in Detroit, will be finalized when a Memorandum of Understanding is submitted in the next 60 days,

A workforce pipeline prepared for new manufacturing jobs will be supported by Detroit’s Promise program and the announcement this week by the Michigan Carpenters and Millwrights Joint Apprenticeship and Training Fund to build a $30 million training facility on Detroit's west side.

Duggan said the city's Detroit Promise program will expand this year to provide skilled trades certification at community colleges, the program offers free two-and four-year degrees to Detroit’s high school graduates.

Cyber Security, Pharmacy Technician, and Emergency Med Tech are among the technical certifications. The Mayor said "We want to be a city that’s committed to creating job opportunities for everyone." Duggan said he plans to request an additional $4.5 in job training in the annual budget that goes before the Detroit City Council this week.

Keeping the city safe was a priority for Duggan who announced plans to submit a $10 million dollar budget increase in public safety with a recommendation to add 70 Detroit police officers next year. In 2018 Detroit ranked third in the nation for homicides among cities with a population over 250,000.

Fighting crime with technology is also part of Mayor’s public safety plan. A crime-fighting camera system will be added to the Project Green Light system to catch video of perpetuators in the act. By the end of 2020 the Mayor said the network will have 1,000 cameras able to track “any shooter or carjacker across the city.”

Project Green Light was launched three years ago. Today some 500 business owners participate in the program by purchasing g surveillance cameras mounted outside their location that feeds video to police headquarters.

Duggan also addressed the flipside of crime, that of people returning to the community with criminal records saying they “have been marginalized for years.” The Mayor said the city will hire two attorneys to help expunge criminal records. Duggan cited the example of Sakthi Automotive which has offered UAW auto jobs to some 200 returning Detroiters as evidence the strategy works.

On the subject of neighborhoods, the Mayor admitted the demolition of blighted properties has been faulty but pledged a goal to demolish, board up and occupy every blighted property the end of 2019.





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