Strengthening our Economy & Expanding Skills Training

Gary grew up in a middle class family: the son of a public school teacher and nurse’s aide. His parents instilled in him the values of hard work. That’s why his top priority in the Senate is to fight for good-paying jobs for Michigan’s hardworking families. Whether that’s supporting small businesses as the engines of economic growth, or expanding skills trainings and apprenticeships for workers, Gary has achieved results for workers and families across the state.

Michigan built the middle class and is proudly home to the beating heart of the global auto industry. Gary has been forward-thinking in his determination to ensure Michigan can continue to be a hub for manufacturing, innovation and new technologies that will transform how we get around and support our state’s manufacturing sector. Gary also recognizes that not every student needs to go through the four-year college degree pathway to find a good-paying job. Apprenticeships, career and technical educations and skills trainings are all good options for students and workers. That’s why Gary worked in July 2018 to enact his bipartisan provisions with Senator Todd Young (R-IN) to help expand opportunities in career and technical education pathways for students outside of a traditional four-year degree. Gary also worked with two Republican colleagues— Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Senator John Thune (R-SD)—in January 2017 to co-author and enact their bipartisan legislation to help create good-paying jobs by maximizing STEM research opportunities by eliminating red-tape, strengthening oversight of taxpayer-funded research and improving public-private sector partnerships that support small and medium-sized manufacturers.

Gary also firmly believes that to help Michigan workers and their families get ahead, a renewed national focus on advanced manufacturing is critical. That’s why he unveiled a proposal in June 2019 to establish a National Institute of Manufacturing. This new institution, modeled on the National Institutes of Health, would serve as the hub for all federal manufacturing programs and streamline these programs under one roof. The National Institute of Manufacturing would create a Chief Manufacturing Officer, promote efforts to close the skills gap and craft a national manufacturing strategy to help manufacturers in Michigan and across the country rapidly respond to changes in the global marketplace. This proposal is based on feedback from Michigan manufacturers about the need for a unified strategy on manufacturing to revitalize the industry and keep pace with foreign competitors.

Supporting Our Small Businesses

With small businesses creating two out of every three new jobs, Gary knows that small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Throughout his time in the Senate, he’s been focused on making sure small businesses have the support they need to start, grow and succeed. In 2015, Gary worked on a bipartisan basis to increase the cap for the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan program so that Michigan small businesses could get the loans they needed. Gary has also worked to prevent small businesses from falling victim to fraud when procuring federal contracts. In 2017, his provision was signed into law requiring that small businesses be notified of free assistance available to them when registering to accept federal contracts. In October 2018, Gary introduced and worked with Senator James Risch (R-ID) to enact their bipartisan bill to help more small business owners learn how to better protect their intellectual property.