Pontiac, MI - Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter revealed his roadmap for Oakland County's future during his State of the County speech Tuesday night at the M1 Concourse Event Center in Pontiac.
The five-year strategic framework commits Oakland County to "All ways, moving forward," by making a real and measurable impact in three primary areas: a strong economy, healthy and safe communities, and opportunities for residents to live their best lives.
"Our mission is simple, but powerful: To serve through collaborative leadership and to help support communities where residents flourish and businesses thrive," Coulter said.
Coulter set the tone for the evening by driving a Chevrolet Bolt EUV, produced at GM's Orion Assembly Plant in Oakland County, into the event space before taking the stage to celebrate GM's recent announcement of a $4 billion investment in the plant to produce the Chevrolet Silverado EV and electric GMC Sierra, adding 2,300 new jobs.
Prior to tonight's speech, Coulter met with residents and several community organizations to hear firsthand what people want most from the county.
"Residents want a strong economy and training programs to help prepare workers for high-paying, in demand jobs," Coulter said. "They've asked for accessible health care – including mental health – and affordable housing. They've told me that we need to help our kids catch up in school. And they want Oakland County to be a place where people feel safe, heard and welcomed."
Coulter outlined his administration's plans for a strong economy including Business Forward, designed to help entrepreneurs successfully emerge from the pandemic and grow their small businesses. With a team of nine business consultant. this program will bring resources straight to Oakland County's 36,000 small business owners right in their own communities; and Project Diamond, a grant program created in collaboration with Automation Alley to help small manufacturers gain access to advanced manufacturing tools.
Next, Coulter highlighted the county's significant progress toward connecting residents with health care and wraparound services through Health360, an initiative announced in his 2020 State of the County speech. Oakland County also has invested nearly $13 million in mental health services, including $2 million for the Oakland Together Mental Health and Wellbeing School Partnership. Through this grant program, health navigators are working directly with Oakland County schools to increase access to mental health services and support for students.
Coulter also announced how Oakland County is fostering new opportunities for residents to live their best lives:
- Oakland80, the county's program to help 80 percent of adults secure a college education or training certificate by 2030, is expanding by deploying up to a dozen new career and education navigators through a partnership with Jewish Vocational Services. The program will help eliminate barriers residents face when pursuing post-secondary education or training;
- The Housing Trust Fund provides gap funding to developers to ensure our residents have safe and affordable rental- and home-ownership options;
- And a partnership with Oakland University to address environmental sustainability issues in the county.
Coulter also acknowledged that Oakland County is always Oxford Strong, remembering Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin, and Justin Shilling, the victims of the Oxford High School tragedy. One of their classmates, senior Ava Swiss, opened the State of the County speech by signing the National Anthem.
Coulter ended his remarks recognizing Oakland County's Oakland Together 40 Under 40 Class of 2022, the 10th year of honoring young professionals who live or work in Oakland County who exemplify the best of Oakland County and what many aspire to be.
Oakland County thanks the State of the County sponsors for making the event possible: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kevin Denha, DTE, Zaid Elia, Arie Liebovitz, Muchmore Harrington Smalley & Associates, and United Wholesale Mortgage.