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FACT SHEET: Vice President Harris Announces More Than $100 Million to Support American Auto Workers and Small Auto Suppliers

May 06, 2024

Actions announced during the Vice President's nationwide Economic Opportunity Tour build on the Administration's historic investments in the auto sector to ensure U.S. leadership in the clean vehicle future

Today, as part of her Economic Opportunity Tour, Vice President Harris will join Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, and Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su in Detroit, Michigan to announce new funding and resources for small- and medium-sized auto manufacturers and autoworkers.

For decades, trickle-down economics drove manufacturers overseas at the expense of good-paying manufacturing jobs that sustained the American middle class. Thanks to President Biden and Vice President Harris's Investing in America agenda, since they took office, companies have announced more than $170 billion in investments in electric vehicle (EV) and battery supply chain manufacturing, making the U.S. the global leader for EV manufacturing investment, and the U.S. auto industry has added over 250,000 jobs, after losing 90,000 jobs under the previous Administration. More than 20 auto and battery plants have been announced under President Biden and Vice President Harris, after no new net plants were opened under the previous Administration.

Historic contracts secured by the United Auto Workers with the Big 3 Detroit automakers—Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis—as well as recent organizing victories like at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, ensure that these jobs of the future will provide comparable wages, retirement security, and respect at work.

To ensure that the future of the auto industry is made in America by American autoworkers, today, Vice President Harris will announce:

More than $100 million in funding for small- and medium-sized auto parts manufacturers to expand or retool manufacturing facilities:

  • The Department of Energy will set aside $50 million of its Automotive Conversion Grants Program for partnerships with states to help small- and medium-sized suppliers convert from manufacturing internal combustion engine parts to manufacturing parts for the EV supply chain. This funding will maintain the Domestic Conversion Grant's same focus on supporting retooling to keep good, good-paying and union jobs in the same communities as automakers and auto suppliers transition to electric vehicle manufacturing here in America. The Department of Energy recently requested public input on the design of these state-federal partnerships in order to best support small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the auto supply chain.
  • The Department of Energy is setting aside up to $50 million of its Industrial Assessments Center Implementation Grants Program to help auto suppliers kickstart manufacturing diversification and conversion projects. Specifically, this program, which was funded by President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is covered under the President's Justice40 Initiative, provides grants of up to $300,000 to entities that have received an Industrial Assessment Center assessment to improve their facilities' energy and material efficiency, cybersecurity, or productivity, or reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Small Business Administration will leverage its Small Business Investment Company program to catalyze millions of dollars in private capital for the EV supply chain to help small and medium-sized manufacturers grow and diversify their businesses. The Department of Energy will partner with the Small Business Administration to provide technical expertise to de-risk private investments and lower the cost of capital for small and medium-sized manufacturers.
  • The Small Business Administration plans to establish a new Working Capital Pilot Program under its signature 7(a) lending program to provide lines of credit to small businesses, including auto parts manufacturers and distributors, to support their domestic or export finance needs. The program will be paired with business counseling from the Small Business Administration.

Actions to expand workforce training and improve job quality in the EV supply chain with a focus on Auto Communities in the Midwest:

  • Last month, President Biden announced the second round of Investing in America Workforce Hubs—including an electric vehicle hub in Michigan, which will be led by the Department of Energy and Department of Labor in partnership with the State of Michigan. Workforce Hubs are place-based initiatives focused on partnerships for job-training to ensure all Americans can access the good jobs created by the President's Investing in America agenda. As part of the Hub, the White House and agency partners will bring together state and local partners, unions, employers, philanthropy, non-profits, community colleges, high schools, and other stakeholders to tackle discrete workforce challenges in the Michigan electric vehicle supply chain—and to ensure that the workers, unions, and businesses that have historically powered the auto industry lead the next generation of clean vehicles.
  • The Department of Energy is opening applications for its new Community Workforce Readiness Accelerator for Major Projects (RAMP) Fellowship. Fellows will spend two years building and scaling projects that expand workforce development partnerships to serve local and underrepresented populations in communities that have received major clean energy and manufacturing investments, including Michigan.
  • The Department of Energy recently made available $24 million in grants for EV and other clean energy and advanced manufacturing workforce training at community colleges, trade schools, union training programs, and registered apprenticeships through the Industrial Assessment Centers Program, which aims to deliver on the President's Justice40 Initiative.
  • Led by the Department of Energy, the Battery Workforce Initiative will fill a critical gap in the battery industry by developing standardized training guidelines for key battery manufacturing occupations, including operators and machine repairers, which will increase the quality of these jobs while responding to industry demand for skilled workers. The Department of Energy will pilot this workforce curriculum with union manufacturers. Under the Battery Workforce Initiative, the Department of Labor will also implement model safety and health management practices focused on battery manufacturing, as well as assess the need for an industry-wide standard.
  • The Department of Labor will organize EV workforce convenings in Ohio and Indiana. As part of the Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Grant Program, the Department of Labor recently awarded $7 million across Indiana and Ohio to develop sector partnerships that bring together the public workforce and education system, community-based organizations, employers, and labor unions focused on the EV industry. These sector partnerships will work collaboratively to design and scale worker-centered training programs, help suppliers in auto communities analyze the impact of the EV transition on their labor force needs, and spread awareness of existing workforce development technical assistance and funding resources.

New technical assistance programs to help small and medium-sized auto parts manufacturers and their communities take advantage of growth in the EV sector and other markets:

  • The Department of Energy, in collaboration with industry experts, will develop a Small Supplier EV Transition Playbook to help internal combustion engine suppliers navigate the transition of their business model to EV or adjacent markets. This playbook will describe new products that ICE suppliers could produce based on existing manufacturing capabilities, outline workforce and technical changes needed to succeed in new industries, and guide suppliers through available federal resources. Applications for partnerships are open through May 23, 2024, and playbook will provide guidance to be used by the Transition Network described below.
  • The Federal government will launch the Auto Supplier Transition Network, which will provide research and hands on, locally based technical assistance in auto communities to help small and medium-sized auto suppliers, unions, and auto communities navigate the opportunities in the EV transition and broader clean energy manufacturing acceleration. These providers will serve as regional hubs for technical, financial, industry, and workforce resources needed to support individual suppliers. These providers will offer technical, financial, industry, and workforce resources at no or below market rate costs and include:
  • The Department of Energy's Industrial Assessment Centers can provide no-cost assessments to help small and medium-sized auto suppliers improve energy performance and productivity. Auto suppliers that receive an assessment can also apply for Industrial Assessments Center implementation grants of up to $300,000 to kickstart manufacturing diversification and conversion projects.
  • Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers, public-private partnerships located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico that help small and midsized manufacturers with workforce development, market research, launching new products, and much more—often in partnership with Industrial Assessment Centers. Manufacturing Extension Partnerships will help small and medium-sized suppliers implement recommendations from the Small Supplier EV Transition Toolkit.
  • The International Trade Administration local offices, which can serve as coordinators and multipliers to educate companies about these programs.
  • Small Business Administration district offices, which offer business development services and training to help small businesses grow.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Offices, which are locally-based and can help small businesses and manufacturers in rural areas expand or improve.

These actions build on the Biden-Harris Administration's ongoing commitment to ensuring that the workers and businesses that built the auto industry remain community anchors for generations to come, including the more than 250,000 auto workers in small- and medium-sized auto parts suppliers across the country. As part of that commitment, last fall, the Department of Energy announced the availability of up to $15.5 billion in grant and loan funding to retool and convert auto factories transitioning to electric vehicles, prioritizing applications from facilities at risk of closing or recently closed, and rewards applicants that retain existing workers, have strong labor partnerships, pay high wages, and convert facilities while remaining in the same community.

Today's announcement is also an important milestone in the Biden-Harris Administration's effort to help small businesses grow and thrive, including minority and veteran-owned businesses and businesses in distressed and disadvantaged communities. Traditionally underserved small businesses are growing at near-historic rates, with Black business ownership growing at the fastest pace in 30 years and Latino business ownership growing at the fastest pace in more than a decade.

As President Biden and Vice President Harris continue to invest in all of America, their agenda is lowering costs for Michigan families:

  • Saving 2.2 million Michigan Medicare beneficiaries money on prescription drugs, insulin, and vaccines.
  • Saving 418,000 Michiganders hundreds of dollars per year on health insurance.
  • Michigan families will get lower utility bills thanks to $211 million in home energy rebates and new tax credits for energy-efficient appliances.
  • President Biden is taking on corporate rip-offs like junk fees to lower costs for Michigan families on everything from airfares to event tickets to overdraft fees.
  • President Biden would lower housing costs with a $10,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers, expanded rental assistance, and by building more than 2 million homes.
  • President Biden would lower child care costs by guaranteeing child care for families making up to $200,000, with most families paying no more than $10 a day.

Congressional Republicans have no plan to lower costs—in fact, their plan would increase costs for Michiganders by:

  • Increasing costs for health care, prescription drugs, and insulin by siding with Big Pharma to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act and Affordable Care Act and slash Medicare.
  • Cutting Social Security by $1.5 trillion and raising Medicare costs for seniors by transitioning Medicare to a system that would raise premiums.
  • Raising taxes for middle-class families by repealing the Inflation Reduction Act and Affordable Care Act.
  • Raising housing costs by cutting rental assistance and programs to build new homes.

Kamala Harris, FACT SHEET: Vice President Harris Announces More Than $100 Million to Support American Auto Workers and Small Auto Suppliers Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/371628

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