Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has announced by mid-2013, 41,000 jobs will be recovered from the 175,000 the county lost between 2000 and 2010.
According to Patterson’s State of the County address, Oakland County had the ninth largest increase in employment compared with the rest of the nation from June 2010 to June 2011.
The Patterson administration launched several incentives including the “Full Employment” campaign, aimed at reducing the county’s current 7.4 percent unemployment rate, in the wake of his 2012 re-election campaign.
Irene Spanos, director of economic development and community affairs for Oakland County, said The Emerging Sectors program, designed to bring new and “diverse” businesses into the county, is one initiative which lead to unemployment rates being reduced.
“We are close to hitting $2 billion in new investment in Oakland County and have already created over 20,000 new jobs in our community,” Spanos said.
New job sectors brought to Oakland County by the Emerging Sectors program include life sciences, information technology, alternative energy, advance materials/nanotech and advanced electronics.
Spanos said Patterson, if reelected, will continue to work on bringing new jobs and investment into Oakland County.
“What he has planned in the future is more of the same: an increased focus on jobs, jobs, jobs and investment in Oakland County for our residents. With a job, all things are possible. That’s what we are focused on for our residents.”
Republican Klint Kesto, who is running for state representative for the 39th district of Michigan, supports Patterson and his ability to keep Oakland County fiscally solvent during tough economic times.
“Patterson does a three-year budget, so not only is he looking at the upcoming year, but more progressively looking forward to the three years ahead,” Kesto said. “He has also managed to keep Oakland County at a AAA bond rating. He has kept Oakland County a safe place to live, which attracts businesses for that reason. Those accomplishments in a recession really show the talent that we have from the Executives stand point.”
Kevin Howley, who is running against Patterson for Oakland County Executive. Howley graduated with a master’s degree from Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (MPP in International Trade) and is looking for a new focus and approach for Oakland County.
“Image does matter,” Howley said. “Oakland County has a reputation of not being cooperative from a regional perspective, and it’s very hard to draw businesses and young people to Oakland County when they don’t feel there’s a connection to the other counties.”
Howley said his plan to spur business development involves supporting more micro-lending and startup capital programs, enhancing access to working capital and equipment financing for established businesses, creating a business accelerator, actively supporting regional transportation solutions and expanding workforce development programs to reduce outsourcing.
Howley said the key for Oakland County is attracting new businesses, which will provide jobs for young people in the community.
“The younger community wants to see opportunities and access to capital, so for example in Oakland County we need a venture capital hub for young entrepreneurs,” Howley said. “We should be finding industries that are consistent with our employee base here.”