GEM Engages the Detroit Region’s Diverse Communities in Mobility Innovation

Our region is a global epicenter of mobility, rich in assets beyond the depth of our automotive industry. It’s home to a diverse population of individuals, groups and businesses bursting with untapped potential, creativity, and innovation. Unfortunately, many of those folks in both urban and rural parts of our region have been historically excluded from making tangible and positive contributions to our economy.

Glaring disparities in pay, opportunity, and the means to thrive are notable obstacles to our collective prosperity, as starkly evident in reports from the Detroit Regional Partnership and Detroit Future City. These disparities are not just numbers; they represent real, lived experiences of inequality, and missed opportunities.

I’m reminded of the poignant words of Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman in 2021, “Justice is not just is,” a call to learn from our history of exclusion and to work towards a future that benefits everyone. Last year, a collaboration of more than 140 organizations aimed at revitalizing our regional economy was awarded a $52 million allocation from the Build Back Better Regional Challenge to forge an inclusive ecosystem for EV and advanced mobility. And it’s more than just funding; it’s a testament to our collective determination to bring about a future where every community, especially those historically marginalized, can thrive. We are poised at a pivotal moment where our actions can set a precedent for unity, inclusion, and equitable growth.

the Detroit Region’s Mobility Ecosystem Promotes Economic Development

In the realm of advanced mobility, we are witnessing a pivotal transformation that beckons a deeper understanding and stronger advocacy. Our region, by integrating these advancements and leveraging our tremendous assets, can become a leader in this dynamic field, setting standards for innovation, sustainability, and social equity. The potential for job creation, skill development, and community engagement within this sector is underway, and by leveraging these opportunities, we can address long-standing economic disparities and pave the way for a more equitable and prosperous future.

Our Global Epicenter of Mobility is knitting together a diversified, equitable, and inclusive ecosystem with partners in manufacturing, infrastructure development, talent upskilling, career pathway creation, and industry-specific innovation. We are accountable for strategies and actions that foster opportunities for historically excluded communities, as well as marginalized businesses and individuals. We are looking at our progress, early and often. This effort is also thoughtfully monitored by organizations like Brookings, the University of Michigan, Purdue, and the EDA.

GEM Strives to create a “Just EV Revolution”

At GEM our approach centers on inclusivity, equity, diversity, justice, transparency, accountability, and sustainability. We believe these principles are not just aspirational; they are actionable and measurable. And, they are critical. At a recent Automotive Summit presented by Rainbow PUSH, leaders in the automotive industry indicated a doubling down for DEI.  “DEI isn’t just an option; it’s essential for survival’, remarked Ernest Adams, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Ford Motor Company.

The concept of a “Just EV Revolution” inspires us deeply. It’s not just about electric vehicles or advanced mobility; it’s about powering a movement that drives economic justice, community upliftment, and inclusive growth. This is our opportunity ahead – to build an ecosystem that doesn’t just innovate technologically but also socially, ensuring everyone has a chance to contribute to and benefit from this exciting new era.

Jeannine Gant
DEIJ Officer, Global Epicenter of Mobility
Detroit Regional Partnership