All ways, moving forward with Dave Coulter newsletter

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May 2, 2022

Bi-Weekly Executive Newsletter

Dear Friends, 

Last week, we heard from University of Michigan economists Gabriel Ehrlich and Donald Grimes who provided the 37th annual Oakland County Economic Forecast.


The report was full of encouraging news about the prospects for Oakland County today and into the future.


I’ll quote just one line that sums up the progress we’ve made dealing with the public health crisis that has challenged all of us.


Oakland County “Enjoyed a strong rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession during 2021 and is poised for further growth over the next three years.”


That’s great news and validation that the programs and services we’re providing are working. Oakland County helped 15,000 businesses that support 580,711 jobs.


Our investments in the last two years are paying off. We stepped up when people and businesses needed us most and the data in the economic report justifies that investment. The ratings agencies are taking notice, too. They reaffirmed our AAA bond rating this week, which means we’ll save millions in interest costs when we issue bonds to make significant capital improvements.


But this is not a report that will merely sit on a shelf in my office. It not only helps us understand the economic environment in Oakland County, but it also helps inform our decisions when we’re developing programs and services for the residents and businesses of the county.


So when we heard last year about the unprecedented challenges that the county was facing because of the COVID pandemic, we were able to tailor our programs to meet specific needs. We had already distributed more than $200 million in federal COVID relief funds to residents, businesses, non-profit organizations and communities to address immediate problems, like survival grants, food and housing needs and COVID testing and vaccines.


But now, with American Rescue Plan federal funds, we’re investing more in programs that will have long-term benefits for our residents, businesses and economy. Some of those investments include:

  • Business Forward: small business consultants are expected to connect with thousands of Oakland County businesses to help them be nimble and adapt to the new economic reality.
  • Oakland80: career coaching, college and training scholarships, wrap-around services like covering the costs of books, supplies, childcare and transportation.
  • Project Diamond: expansion of programs to help businesses invest in advanced manufacturing and technology.
  • Revolving loan fund: to help underserved populations: women, minority, veteran-owned startups and entrepreneurs.
  • Health 360: expansion of health care programs in Southfield and Pontiac
  • Mental health grants: $79 million to 40 agencies to improve access to mental health services
  • School grants: $2 million for mental health support for our students.


The rest of our investment of ARP funding will be strategic and transformational. They’ll also be aligned with the 7 goals that we unveiled last month in our strategic framework: Thriving and Inclusive economy; Healthy Residents; Skilled and Educated Workforce;  Livable Neighborhoods; Environmental Sustainability; Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform; and Organizational excellence.


After hearing from the economists, I’m even more certain that these investments will bring even more good news to us in the near future and next year when they return for the 38th annual Economic Outlook Forecast.


With Gratitude,



David Coulter

Oakland County Executive

Service Highlight of the Week: Oakland County Michigan Works!

Adults can qualify for an Oakland80 Tuition Scholarship of up to $2,000 to complete short-term training or their final semester for a college degree.

In addition to the scholarships, these adults may also be eligible for support services from Oakland County Michigan Works.

This funding is designed to ensure that these residents face no financial barriers to finishing their college or job training. So the money can be used to help cover education-related expenses, such as enrollment fees, textbooks, supplies, transportation and childcare.

Oakland County Michigan Works!  also provides education and career services such as guidance, coaching, and placement assistance and hosts in-person and virtual events such as job fairs and workshops.

Ratings agencies reaffirm AAA bond rating

Moody's Ratings Services and Standard & Poor's awarded their highest credit ratings to the county for its $5.43 million Oakland County Oakland Township Water Supply System Improvements Bonds, Series 2022.


"The ratings agencies reaffirmed our budgeting practices and how we've managed our economy through challenging times," County Executive Dave Coulter said. "We are in all ways, moving the county forward."

C. Green

Coulter appoints Calandra Green to Lead Public Health in Oakland County

County Executive Dave Coulter has appointed Calandra Green as the first woman of color to become Oakland County’s health officer. Green, a registered nurse who was instrumental in the county's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will oversee public health throughout the county.

"Calandra shares our vision for having public health rooted in the community," Coulter said. "As we transition to a new phase of the pandemic, her knowledge, skills, and commitment are what we need to move public health forward to achieve our strategic goal of having healthy residents."

Green joined Oakland County as a public health nurse in August 2019. As the pandemic began in March 2020, she became the Oakland County Health Division's quality and process improvement supervisor. Her duties included serving as the COVID-19 school nurse liaison where she hired, trained and deployed 68 nurses to 28 public school districts and 125 private or charter schools. In May of 2021, she rose to the administrator of public health, developing and managing comprehensive countywide programs within public health including organizing and developing mental health responses both in Oxford and countywide in the aftermath of the Oxford High School shooting.

Earth Day

Oakland County participates in tree-planting on Earth Day

An Earth Day tree planting in Royal Oak Township will help support stormwater management in the George W. Kuhn Drainage District (GWK) which serves 14 Oakland County communities, all of which have encountered significant flooding during heavy rains in recent years.

Oakland County planted five trees donated by the Detroit Zoo in Mack-Rowe Park as part of the OAKSTEM tree planting grant program initiated by Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash, and the Board of Commissioners in 2021.

"This program provides so many benefits. It increases the tree cover in the county and helps with the drainage of stormwater in communities that have experienced devastating flooding," Coulter said. "This is an easy way for us to improve the quality of life for our residents and help contribute to the fight against climate change."