FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's administration has a goal of creating 1,000 new jobs in Flint as a way of helping recover from the ongoing crisis sparked by lead in the city's water.
Officials in Snyder's administration discussed the jobs goal Friday in a meeting of the governor's Flint Water Interagency Task Force, The Detroit News (http://detne.ws/1QSIyVY ) reported.
Rich Baird, the governor's transformation manager, said the state is negotiating with two "major auto suppliers" about bringing jobs to the city. He told committee members that a non-disclosure agreement meant that he couldn't name the companies.
Baird also said that his team and Michigan Works! are working to identify 500 "workforce development jobs" that he said are designed to provide good-paying positions and remove obstacles in employment, such as not having access to transportation or child care.
"Mission Flint is really all about the longer-term, prosperous, sustained recovery," Baird, a Flint native, said in reference to the group of top state officials he leads that was formed to help the city make its water safe again and improve the struggling economy in the city.
Flint, with a population of about 100,000, had switched from Detroit's water system to the Flint River as a way to save money until a new pipeline to Lake Huron was ready. But during those 18 months, the corrosive water leached lead from the city's old plumbing because certain treatments weren't added to the water.
No level of lead in the human body is considered safe, especially in children. The river water also may have been a source of Legionnaires' disease, which killed at least nine people in the region.
Snyder, whose administration repeatedly downplayed the lead threat, now calls it a "disaster."
Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/