Oakland County Executive, Dave Coulter, delivered his fourth annual State of the County address to an in-person audience at the Berman Center for the Performing Arts in West Bloomfield Township Tuesday night. The speech emphasized the county’s values of community, respect, inclusion and gratitude – which is why Coulter selected the Berman Center to host this year’s speech.
Watch the full address here:
Kicking off the address, Coulter announced new initiatives including the Acorn2Oak mini-grant program to empower residents 8 to 18 years old to pursue their passions and talents.
“These Acorn2Oak mini grants will help show our young people that we are confident and optimistic about their future, I hope it will support, inspire and encourage personal growth, civic engagement and leadership development.”– Oakland County Executive, Dave Coulter.
Coulter re-launched MI Career Quest of Southeast Michigan, a regional event that brings together thousands of high school students to explore future careers in high-demand fields through hands-on, interactive exhibits. The county last organized MI Career Quest in November of 2019.
Because of the unprecedented growth in the number of adults experiencing mental health crises, Oakland County is now leading an effort to create an integrated urgent care clinic in Pontiac in collaboration with Oakland Community Health Network (OCHN), Honor Community Health, and local hospitals thanks to a $5 million grant from the state. The clinic will offer emergency mental health care services to residents regardless of their ability to pay. This will address the crucial need for improved and expanded access to both primary care and mental health services in the county.
Mental health care must be on par with our physical health care – in our attitudes and our services.– Oakland County Executive, Dave Coulter.
Utilizing American Rescue Plan funds, the county is providing more mental health professionals in schools through a partnership with OCHN, Oakland Schools and supporting hospitals. Through a partnership with the Michigan Hospital Association, another initiative will help hospitals do mental health evaluations and services in their emergency rooms. In addition, the county has invested in a number of non-profit organizations to expand their capacity to provide a full range of mental health, social emotional, and other critical support services to residents in crisis through a partnership with the United Way of Southeastern Michigan. More than 66,000 people from communities across Oakland County have sought mental health care through the agencies that received grants from the county.
As a tangible symbol of Coulter’s appeal to live our values, the County’s Equity Council members handed out an Oakland County challenge coin to each audience member to remind them of the county’s values of community, respect, inclusion, and gratitude. One side of the coin lists the values along with the county’s slogan, “All ways, moving forward,” while the other side displays the county’s logo.
Last week, Coulter announced Oakland Thrive, a nonprofit organization that will help entrepreneurs and small businesses in Oakland County with a special focus on businesses owned by women, minorities, and veterans. Business Forward, a program Coulter announced in his 2022 State of the County address to engage the county’s 38,000 small businesses with expertise and resources in the communities where they are located, is now under the Oakland Thrive umbrella.
Coulter took time to provide updates on the progress of ongoing programs:
- Oakland 80, the county’s transformational effort to ensure that 80% of adult residents have a post-secondary degree or industry-recognized certificate by 2030. Residents with a degree or certificate has gone from 61% to 67.5% since the program’s launch in 2020.
- Business Resource Network (BRN): Oakland County Michigan Works! re-launched the BSN after hearing from business owners about their challenges in retaining talented employees. Oakland County invested more than $1 million to provide success coaches to help employees who are facing challenges at work. The coaches meet with the companies to talk about the best ways to retain employees. Data from nearly two dozen participating companies indicates a 90 percent retention rate for people who used the network.
- Housing: Oakland County is utilizing federal funds to provide $1 million in grants each year to build, rehabilitate. or preserve affordable housing in Oakland County. Through an initiative of the Board of Commissioners, the county is investing $5 million to create a new Housing Trust Fund that will help facilitate additional gap financing to encourage more affordable housing development in the county.
- Displaced Ukrainian families: Oakland County is the number one county in the state to sponsor and financially support more than 630 families who have left Ukraine since the Russian invasion began last year.
- Job growth and retention: In 2022, 40 companies, most in advanced manufacturing, robotics, or electric vehicle production, have expanded their footprint or decided to locate in Oakland County. The investments represent more than 7,000 retained and new jobs.
- Health 360, an initiative that brought Honor Community Health and Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency into the county’s health clinics to provide primary care and wraparound services onsite: Nearly 7,300 residents received these new services in 2022 at the clinics inside Oakland County Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield.
“I believe that what may be wrong with our country today can certainly be fixed by all that is right about it. As you can see, our future is bright. Your county is strong. It’s dedicated to reweaving the fabric of our communities through a wonderful mosaic of relationships. Holding our values close and achieving them through our actions.”– County Executive, Dave Coulter.
To read or watch Coulter’s 2023 State of the County Address, visit: www.oakgov.com/sotc. Keep up with the conversation on Twitter using #OCSOTC23.