Amazon, Stryker to Expand and Add Over 1,000 Jobs Combined in Michigan

There was a time not so long ago in Michigan when economic development agencies began to move away from the grand corporate expansion press conferences that were a hallmark of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration. Instead, smaller and more low-key announcements that didn’t appear to always favor big manufacturers or pet industries—a common criticism lobbed at Granholm—became the preferred practice.

Perhaps the hoopla over Donald Trump’s Carrier deal has ushered in a return to big corporate site selection and job creation news of the kind announced yesterday at the year’s final Michigan Strategic Fund board meeting. Retail juggernaut Amazon will open a $90 million product fulfillment center next October in Livonia that is expected to create 1,000 jobs, while Stryker will expand its medical device operation in Portage with a 485,000-square-foot R&D and showroom facility and 105 new jobs.

Josh Hundt, vice president of business development for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), says the Amazon deal came together in roughly eight weeks. “Amazon moves quickly in everything they do, so we tried to react and move with the same speed,” he says. “We worked closely with the city of Livonia, Wayne County, and DTE Energy to win the deal over Ohio and Indiana.”

The new procurement center will serve an approximately 400-square-mile area in the Midwest region and will need to fill a range of positions, including warehouse picker and management jobs. Hundt says the state is particularly excited about Amazon’s commitment to its employees. (Perhaps they missed numerous reports on the company’s working conditions published in the New York Times and elsewhere.) He also touts the likelihood that employees will pick up skills to grow within the company that will also translate with employers outside of Amazon.

Amazon isn’t new to Michigan. It opened a much heralded software development center last year in downtown Detroit—where there are almost 30 IT jobs currently open—and it also maintains facilities in Grand Haven and metro Detroit, Hundt says.

Stryker, the medical supply giant based in Kalamazoo, has experienced significant growth in recent years, Hundt says, and felt the time was right to expand its device development and sales capabilities. The company is expected to spend $130 million on the project, and Hundt says it will generate mostly “high-wage, high-skill” jobs.

Not surprisingly, Hundt says he considers both projects a success. “Overall, we’re very excited,” he adds. “It shows public-private collaboration can bring jobs and investment to grow the economy. It’s an excellent way to end the calendar year.”

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