WASHINGTON–Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis today announced that Jay Williams will serve as the new director of recovery for auto communities and workers. Beginning on Aug. 8, Williams will lead the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers as it assists auto communities in identifying federal resources that may be used as part of their recovery efforts. Where resources are lacking, the office will recommend changes or new methods that can be used toward the revitalization of these communities.
“When others wanted to abandon the auto industry and its workers, President Obama stood up for them. Through his strong leadership, the industry is recovering. The many small businesses that rely upon, and are impacted by, the health of the industry have survived, and in many cases thrived,” said Secretary Solis. “We know there is more work to be done, and that is why I am so pleased to have Jay Williams joining the team. His proven leadership skills will be invaluable to advancing the work of the office.”
Williams has served as the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, since 2006. During his tenure, he helped revitalize neighborhoods and increase investments in broad-based economic development initiatives. He is a vocal proponent of regional economic planning to help communities succeed in the changing global economic environment.
Federal efforts to provide strategic and timely assistance to auto communities and workers throughout the country include the following:
· The Department of Labor has issued National Emergency Grants totaling more than $70 million since January 2009 to Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, California, Delaware, Minnesota and Missouri to help displaced auto workers.
· The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $111.9 million in Brownfields program grants, with Michigan as its greatest recipient.
· The Department of Energy has awarded $2.4 billion through its Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative to fund next generation electric vehicles and battery development. The DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loans program has guaranteed more than $8.4 billion in loans to Michigan, California, Delaware, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio-based auto companies.
· The Treasury Department has issued $25 billion in Recovery Zone Bonds, a program made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which targets communities – such as auto communities – that have experienced rapid increases in unemployment.
For more information on the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, visit http://www.autocommunities.gov/index.htm.