Representatives from Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA), its private-sector partner Bridging North America, as well as the State of Michigan and the Government of Canada, unveiled a comprehensive and robust Community Benefits Plan for the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.
The Community Benefits Plan is comprised of two components: the Workforce Development and Participation Strategy and the Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy. In partnership with WDBA and Bridging North America, more than 30 agencies and organizations will support the implementation of the plan.
The Workforce Development and Participation Strategy is geared toward engaging businesses and providing employment opportunities including workforce development, training, and pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeships. There are more than 80 workforce initiatives focusing on opportunities for Windsor and Detroit residents and businesses and Canadian Indigenous Peoples and their businesses. Some highlights of the plan include:
- The implementation of a Regional Small Business Purchase Protocol to foster growth of small companies in the region;
- Partnerships with local workforce development agencies to encourage applications from local applicants for jobs, training and skill development opportunities; and
- Support to pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship programs and opportunities for Indigenous women, students and youth.
The Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy is $20 million (CDN) direct community investment on both sides of the border developed by public feedback and input. Collectively, 29 initiatives are identified in the strategy for implementation in Windsor, Detroit, and Walpole Island First Nation. Some highlights of the plan include:
- Approximately $8.1 million for aesthetics and landscaping;
- Approximately $3.5 million for community safety and connections;
- Approximately $2.2 million for community partnerships; and
- Approximately $1.1 million for economic benefits.
WDBA and the State of Michigan will be directly involved in the delivery of the Community Benefits Plan and will provide stringent oversight to ensure the commitments outlined are achieved and reported on.