Despite challenges and changes, the U.P. persevered, relying on the grit it’s known for, its quality of life, affordability, and outdoor adventure and natural beauty. These attributes cultivated new business and attracted remote workers to the region and illustrated what makes the U.P. a truly special place to live and work. Even the Wall Street Journal acknowledged, “The places that will compete the best are those that offer unique amenities–like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”
Expand and Attract Business
- Maine-based cybersecurity company Northcross Group opened a remote office in Marquette following an academic partnership with NMU’s U.P. Cybersecurity Institute, and filled coveted tech sector jobs.
- BOSS Snowplow in Iron Mountain completed a 44,140 sq. ft. expansion, with the construction work done by its neighbor, Gundlach Champion.
- Oakman Aerospace and Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation partnered to establish a ground station at Chippewa County International Airport and bring high-paying, high-tech jobs to the area.
- Dickinson County Healthcare System and Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital began facility expansion projects, not letting pandemic uncertainties stand in their way.
- Calumet Electronics broke ground for a 35,000 sq. ft. expansion to meet increasing market demand.
- Great Lakes Sound & Vibration, with support from the MEDC, expanded operations to the Houghton County Airpark with a project that is expected to create 20 new jobs.
- Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette purchased neighboring buildings to expand.
- REL in Calumet received an Industrial Facilities Tax exemption to support a $2.3 million expansion that will create new jobs.
Response & Resiliency
Through great collaboration between economic development organizations, more than $7 million in state and federal pandemic related grants were distributed to more than 1,000 small businesses and nonprofits across the Upper Peninsula.
U.P. hospitals worked together to strengthen regional health care while leading the statewide fight to reopen non-essential services.
Attract, Grow and Develop Talent & Jobs
Sault Tribe, Inc. continued to grow with new hires and four subsidiaries. One of its subsidiaries, Ojibwe Hazardous Abatement, LLC expanded its service offerings to include COVID-19 abatement and remediation.
Chippewa County secured over one million in funding to build a transloader facility which will permit for more efficient commercial uses of rail, including propane delivery, in the eastern U.P.
All three U.P. SmartZones collaborated to successfully host Return North, a professional career fair aimed at attracting alumni, former residents, and friends of the U.P. back to the region.
Promote a Great Place to Live & Work
- The Pine Mountain Ski Jump Project was completed and will be home to the 2022 World Cup.
- More than 1.2 million people visited Alger County − a historic high for visits. The beauty of the U.P. was a natural draw for people looking to travel safely and spend time outdoors.
- Rural Development Funds were awarded to Upper Peninsula interests, resulting in significant new investments to upgrade Upper Peninsula outdoor recreational opportunities. Projects include shoreline improvements in Negaunee, campground improvements in Ishpeming and infrastructure improvements for the nationally regarded Noquemanon Trail Network.
- Chippewa, Dickinson and Marquette counties all invested into housing studies to further develop the opportunity for workforce housing, and ready the region for remote workers.
- All three public universities saw students return to campus in August and were open for in-person instruction.