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Andrew S. "Andy" Levin is the founder and managing partner of Levin Energy Partners, LLC, a firm he established in 2011 to provide innovative financing tools to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements in American buildings. Starting in Michigan, Levin is leveraging new Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, statues passed by many states and packaging all available incentives to help business owners save money and energy, help communities create jobs and help the U.S. reduce its carbon footprint. Levin served as Deputy Director and then Acting Director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG) from January 2007 through February 2011, and was named by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm as Michigan's first Chief Workforce Officer in 2009. At DELEG, Levin drove the design and implementation of Governor Granholm's No Worker Left Behind initiative and made it a guidepost for national workforce policy. Under his direction, No Worker Left Behind has greatly increased the number and proportion of workers who get the kind of long-term training that can change lives. Levin created a more efficient, capable and strategic state workforce agency by eliminating the outdated bureaus of workforce programs and career education and replacing them with the Bureau of Workforce Transformation. Levin personally led efforts to create Michigan’s Green Jobs Initiative, produced a rigorous report on green jobs that won a national award for labor market research, and established the Academy for Green Mobility. During his tenure at DELEG, Levin was covered, quoted in or appeared on many media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Fox National News, MSNBC Street Signs, National Public Radio and most major Michigan newspapers, television and radio stations. Levin, a lifelong advocate for clean energy, good jobs, healthy labor-management relations, economic development and human rights, has worked in the labor and nonprofit sectors as well as for the federal and state governments. He was the Democratic nominee for 13th District Michigan State Senate seat in 2006 and lost an extremely close election in the Republican-leaning area.
Levin was born in Detroit and grew up in Berkley, Michigan, attending Berkley public schools. He lives in suburban Oakland County where he grew up. His children are fifth-generation residents of the county. At the turn of the 20th century, Levin's great grandfather owned the general store in Birmingham, a Detroit suburb that was then a country town. Levin moved with his family to Chevy Chase, MD in 1977 when his father, Sander M. Levin, who currently represents Michigan's 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives and serves as Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, was appointed by President Carter as Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Levin graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1978.
Levin earned a B.A. with honors in Religion at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1982. During college, Levin spent a year in Sarnath, India studying Tibetan language and philosophy, and traveled widely in South Asia. He was a leader of the Williams Anti-Apartheid Coalition and active in environmental causes.
After college, Levin spent five years working for the Service Employees International Union, organizing hundreds of nursing home workers in Michigan, Indiana, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Levin won seven of the eight campaigns he directed and assisted colleagues on many others. He learned to speak Haitian Creole after he found that many workers in New England nursing homes were recent Haitian immigrants. He served as an international observer at Haiti's brutally suppressed first attempt at democratic presidential elections in 1987.
Levin received a prestigious Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities in 1988 and took it to the University of Michigan, where he studied Asian Languages and Cultures and received a M.A. in 1990. During graduate school, Levin again traveled to India to study with senior Tibetan religious scholars and also traveled to China, where he witnessed the "Tienanmen Massacre" crackdown in Chengdu, the capital of Szechuan Province, and traveled in Tibetan areas of Szechuan and Gansu provinces.
Levin next attended Harvard Law School, where he received his J.D. with honors in 1994. While in law school, Levin worked for Human Rights Watch in Haiti, serving as the principal researcher and co-author of the group's 1993 book-length report, Silencing A People , which Foreign Affairs called a "chilling report." .
Levin lived in the Washington, DC area for twelve years after law school. He first served as the staff attorney to President Clinton's Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations, then worked on policy matters in the U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Secretary's office. In 1995 Levin joined the Washington, DC law firm Bredhoff & Kaiser, but was quickly recruited to be field director of John J. Sweeney's unprecedented—and successful—insurgent campaign to become president of the AFL-CIO. Levin then ran Sweeney's first high profile project, Union Summer, which put over 1,000 young people on the front lines of union organizing campaigns in 45 summer camp-like sessions in 25 cities from coast to coast—an effort that infused the labor movement with youth and diversity and garnered global press coverage, including a two-page spread in Time Magazine. Levin then became Assistant Director of Organizing for the federation. In 2006, Levin moved home to Michigan with his wife, Mary Freeman and four children. They live in Bloomfield Twp. in the Detroit area.
After Governor Granholm hired Levin in January 2007 as Deputy Director of what is now the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth, he immediately set out to create No Worker Left Behind, which the Economist magazine called the most aggressive state workforce program in the nation. Launched in August 2007, No Worker Left Behind turned federal workforce policy on its head. While the performance measures of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 reward local workforce boards for moving people from one job to the next, Levin reasoned that with the structural changes caused by globalization and accelerating technological development, many people who lose their job have no new job to go to. They need significant training.
With No Worker Left Behind, Michigan became the first and only state to implement universal, statewide eligibility requirements and benefit levels for workers to go back to school and earn certificates and degrees to qualify for in-demand jobs. No Worker Left Behind provided un- and underemployed workers with up to $10,000 for two years worth of free tuition at any Michigan community college, university or other approved training program. Between August 2007 and the end of 2010, the program sent just over 150,000 Michigan workers back to school. Michigan was training 59% of its adult Workforce Investment Act participants compared to 13% nationally. Of workers who completed the program, 75% either retained an at-risk job or got a new one. Among unemployed people, 59% found a new job quickly (over two times what some national studies have found), and over 80% got a job related to their training.
In the summer of 2009 President Obama chose Michigan as the site to propose the greatest investment in community colleges since the Truman administration. In his speech at Macomb Community College, the President called No Worker Left Behind a model "the nation should learn from." http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-on-the-American-Graduation-Initiative-in-Warren-MI/.
At DELEG, Levin convened a statewide workgroup to tackle the problem of low literacy and innumeracy in the workforce. The group found that fully one-third of Michigan's adult workforce, 1.7 million adults, lacked the basic skills necessary to train for, obtain and succeed in new economy jobs. So Levin launched a fundamental overhaul of adult learning system in Michigan to bring together adult educators, community colleges, and workforce professionals to help workers with basic skills challenges improve their skills in the context of training for good new jobs.
In July, 2010, Governor Granholm named Levin Acting Director of DELEG. He then worked hard to drive the Governor's strategy of making Michigan a global leader in bioenergy, wind energy, and solar energy manufacturing and deployment and in advanced energy storage (batteries) for hybrid and electric vehicles. One result of this work came in December 2010, when Northern Power Systems announced that it had made Saginaw, Michigan the home for production of its 2.3MW, direct drive wind turbines. Heritage Sustainable Energy agreed to buy 13 of the huge, made-in-Michigan turbines and Consumers Energy agreed to purchase their power output. Northern said the deal would lead to over $70M of new manufacturing.
In late December 2010, Governor-elect Rick Snyder asked Levin to remain Acting Director of DELEG in the first two months of his new administration to help it determine how it would carry forward energy, workforce, and other work that had been conducted by DELEG.