Additional Modifications to the Fund’s Programs

The 21st Century Jobs Fund continued to change after its initial couple years of operation. In 2008, the SEIC Board switched the peer reviewer of its proposals and chose the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences.[47] The group, however, had conflicts of interest over six of the proposals it was called to review and asked for an alternative reviewer.[48] Also in 2008, the state created a new “Centers of Energy Excellence” initiative within the 21st Century Jobs Fund program. This program made matching awards to energy sector companies and spent a total of $63 million.[49] The state stopped making awards through this program in 2010. This bill establishing this initiative was passed with only one dissenting vote in the Senate and six dissenting votes in the House.[50] Gov. Granholm stated when signing the bill, “This particular tool will help us attract, fund and grow jobs the country is begging for.”[51]

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved money from the 21st Century Jobs Fund to start the Michigan Supplier Diversification Fund in May 2009, which attempts to make it easier for manufacturing firms to get access to capital.[52] The state made six deals under this program in 2009, securing $11.55 million in loans with $5,453,500 in 21st Century Jobs Fund money. Companies receiving assistance pledged to create 718 jobs, and the program is still operating, but no longer reports the number of jobs created or historical information.[53]

That same year, the state also began its “Choose Michigan” program and made $9 million in loans to two companies — A123 Systems, a battery manufacturer, and VenTower Industries, a maker of wind turbine towers. No expected economic outcomes were listed in the report, but it noted, “Choose Michigan Fund recipients qualified for this funding opportunity as one component of a full suite of State of Michigan incentives.”[54]

In 2010, the state also began an “Accelerator” program where it partnered with two early stage venture capital firms and committed $12 million.[55] It also maxed out the Centers of Energy Excellence awards, giving out $10 million for the year.[56] Finally, in August of the same year, the Governor moved to end the SEIC Board, with the MSF Board adopting any of its further responsibilities.