State creates new department for labor and economics

Michigan
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The Department of Talent and Economic Development is now the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, or LEO.

The executive order was signed today by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to streamline efforts within the state government to meet the state’s business and labor needs.

The goal of the rebranding and reorganization is to consolidate workforce and economic development functions.

“This new department will make Michigan a home for opportunity by improving how our state approaches workforce and economic development to ensure that everyone has a path to a high-paying job,” Whitmer said.

In addition to the reorganization, the governor named Jeff Donofrio the new director of the department.

“While talent is equally distributed across the state, opportunity often isn’t,” said Donofrio. “I’m excited to get to work increasing opportunity for Michiganders by closing the skills gap, breaking down barriers to work, and supporting job growth.”

LEO will include the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the Michigan Strategic Fund, and the Michigan Office of New Americans, which is transferred from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and rebranded as the Office for Global Michigan.

The executive order also creates new commissions within the department, including the Workers’ Disability Compensation Appeals Commission and the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission.

The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity is charged with building a strong state economy. LEO will develop and implement policies that create a greater opportunity for workforce and economic development. These policies include focusing on closing the skills gap and boosting economic potential for businesses.

Stephanie Beckhorn will remain as the acting director of the department until a start date is confirmed, upon which Jeff Donofrio will take over as director.

Executive Order 2019-13 must be submitted to the legislature and takes effect after 60 days.

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