OAKLAND TOGETHER: A message from Dave Coulter, Oakland County Executive


June 17, 2021

Bi-Weekly County Executive Newsletter

Dear Friends,

As I’ve been driving to work in the past few weeks, a couple of things have really caught my eye.

First, after a year of encountering semi-empty roadways, rush hour traffic has returned to Woodward and Telegraph and all the other thoroughfares in Oakland County.

And the parking lots at the county complex are beginning to, slowly but surely, fill up.

That means many people are getting back to offices and other job sites after 15 months of working from home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. And that’s a good thing. I’ve missed the camaraderie and collaboration that thrived before Zoom, although I understand that some form of remote work will remain for some employees for the foreseeable future.

But not everyone has been able to make the transition from their dining room offices to skyscrapers, restaurants, retail shops or manufacturing plants.

Things like the lack of affordable and accessible childcare or reliable transportation or mental health support have kept people away from the job market that is desperately seeking workers.

A Detroit Regional Chamber survey conducted last month showed some people weren’t returning to work for a variety of reasons, including barriers to childcare and not feeling comfortable yet returning to the in-person workforce.

And the University of Michigan economists who delivered the county’s Economic Outlook forecast last week said it may take the rest of the decade for lower wage workers to get fully reengaged in the workplace.

So I was especially heartened to be alongside Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the Babes in Toyland daycare center in Troy on Monday when she announced her plans to invest more than $1 billion in federal COVID-relief funding into childcare initiatives.

The plans include making childcare more affordable, and in some cases free, for low-income parents, and providing cash incentives for workers to get trained and back to work in childcare centers across the state.

These are the type of programs that are critical not only for the peace of mind for our parents and the well-being of our children, but to the economy of the state and county as well.

If we want to get our hard working residents back into good paying jobs – and more than 136,000 Michigan women left the workforce during the pandemic – we need to do more to help our parents and child care businesses get the help they need.

Our economy can’t fully recover until we have the workers in place to fuel our post-pandemic reemergence. And our residents can’t return to work without knowing that their children are safe, secure and well cared for.

We set aside $2 million from our CARES act money for grants to 374 childcare providers, allowing them to keep their doors open and continue to serve families during the pandemic.

And we’re also looking at ways that we can work with the state and businesses to further help with the childcare needs of our residents with some of the American Rescue Plan money we’re getting from the federal government. 

This is a bipartisan issue that shouldn’t be controversial – growing and maintaining safe, quality and affordable childcare. It’s truly a win-win for families and businesses.
And it’s simply the right thing to do.


With gratitude,

David Coulter
Oakland County Executive


Oakland County schedules Juneteenth panel discussion

As a way to commemorate Juneteenth, a panel of experts will gather Thursday evening for a virtual discussion of the evolution from the freedom and liberation of the last of the enslaved people in 1865 to the continuing process of confronting societal and organizational transformation.

The panel, which will be hosted by Oakland County Executive David Coulter and moderated by Robin Carter-Cooper, the county’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer.

Panelists includes:

  • Dr. Jay Marks, diversity and equity consultant for Oakland Schools
  • Rochelle Riley, director of Arts and Culture for the city of Detroit
  • Glenn McIntosh, senior Vice President of Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at Oakland University
  • George Pitchford, executive committee member of the North Oakland County chapter of the NAACP
  • Lisa Braddix, Director of the Population Health and Health Equity of the Greater Detroit Area Health Council.

To watch the panel discussion, which will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 17, go to the County Executive’s Facebook page.


juneteenth event

University of Michigan economists deliver Economic Outlook

The 36th annual Economic Outlook forecast was transformed from the traditional luncheon last week to a virtual meeting from three locations: Automation Alley in Troy, Hazel, Ravines and Downtown Kitchen in Birmingham and the County Executive office building in Waterford.

U-M economists Dr. Gabriel Ehrlich and Donald Grimes reported that Oakland County has been recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic faster than the state as a whole, and is expected to return to pre-pandemic employment levels by mid-2023.

The number of jobs in the county is expect to grow by 4.1% in 2021 and 4.6% by 2022 the county’s recovery from the pandemic is happening.


Oakland County honored by the National Association of Counties

Oakland County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic won numerous awards from the National Association of Counties, including a Best in Category award for its #OaklandTogether COVID-19 Tribute.

The county also picked up 11 additional NACo awards in a variety of categories for pandemic response programs, as well as the the opening of Holly Oaks ORV Park and the county’s Public Safety Transparency Dashboard.