Manufacturing Day is gearing up in Macomb County!

DSC_1586Two weeks from today, 57 of Macomb County’s leading manufacturers will host tours for nearly 2,000 students from all 28 public high schools. These tours are designed to provide students with a chance to see advanced manufacturing in action and introduce them to a variety of interesting careers.

Last week, more than 150 people gathered to prepare for the big day.  See photos from the MFG Day Orientation Breakfast, sponsored by the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD) here on our Facebook page.

A highlight of the event was a new video, produced by the MISD, featuring past participants who discovered manufacturing as a career possibility:  https://youtu.be/uwgHi67eLYc

Newly revised, the website www.ManufactureMyFuture.com provides a wealth of information about events throughout the region; including information for Macomb County students (and parents); current information about hot jobs in the industry; and it also lists out all of our host sites this year.

As a follow-up to national MFG Day, the department is partnering with Macomb Community College to offer the Careers in Manufacturing & Technology Expo. The event features hands-on opportunities to interact with tools and simulators used in the industry; opportunities to hear from recent students who are now gainfully employed in the industry; learn about educational pathways that lead to career success; and meet with area companies to learn about their hiring priorities. The event also features special guests, free concessions and door prizes.

The Careers in Manufacturing & Technology Expo will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Weds. Dec. 6 at Macomb’s Sports & Expo Center.

Macomb County was one of the first in the nation to organize a countywide celebration of Manufacturing Day. Since 2014, more than 5,500 high school students from throughout Macomb County have had a chance to see manufacturing in action and meet people who make things. It has taken the dedication of many, including an active planning committee and a generous group of sponsors including Dominion Technologies Group, PTI Engineered Plastics, Fori Automation, Futuramic Tool & Engineering, L&L Products and Siemens.

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Westview Orchards to feature Made-in-Michigan food products on Sundays this fall

tmp_10209_7-3-2012_23100_Beautiful Westview Orchards in Washington Township is one of Macomb County’s northern gems.  This historic farm – it has been operated by the same family for more than 200 year – has delighted generations of families with their wonderful donuts, cider and smorgasboard of family fun activities.

This fall, Westview is adding a new reason to visit them on Sundays.  In addition to the normal fall- themed events and wine tasting, Westview is teaming up with local small food businesses and providing them the opportunity to get their name out.  These businesses will be providing samples so that customers can taste before they their new locally produced favorite products.

This Sunday, Sept. 17, the Made In Michigan Barn will feature: Great Lakes Pickles, Motown Soup, and Grandma Luckey’s Herb Dressing. 

So come stuff your face with homemade donuts and cider, watch the kids play, all while getting the chance to try new products that you will not see in the big box stores yet.  With your help and Macomb County’s Economic Development team, when these small businesses turn big, you will be able to tell all your friends and family that you knew, tried and were purchasing their products before they were well known.  

If you are interested in learning more about Westview Orchards in Washington Twp, MI visit www.westvieworchards.com

Are you a local business with a food product you’d like for people to try on a future Sunday?

Please contact me at  jack.johns@macombgov.org with a little information about your product and your contact information.  (Disclaimer – This opportunity is only for products made in a commercial kitchen. We cannot accommodate entrepreneurs operating under the cottage food law and making products in their home kitchen with this venture.)

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Jack Johns is a Project Coordinator within the economic development services group. He specializes in serving the food and agricultural industry as well as automation, robotics, connected vehicles, energy and retail businesses.

Opioids and the impact on our workforce – New workshop planned for employers

Opioids-in-the-Workforce-FlyerAccording to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an average of 90 people die of an opioid overdose every single day in the United States.  In 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. In the same year, an estimated two million people suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and 591,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder (which are not mutually exclusive).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

To offer help to area employers, our department is partnering with CARE of Southeastern Michigan, the Macomb County Office of Substance Abuse, Families Against Narcotics, and Butzel Long to offer a workshop especially for them.

“Employers across the region face problems not only with employees who may be struggling with a substance abuse problem but also the family members and loved ones of employees.” Said Monique Stanton, Director of Care of Southeastern Michigan. “This workshop will provide information about resources and tools that can help employers provide relevant and current information to employees.”

Speakers include the Honorable Linda B. Davis, 41-B District Court and President of Families Against Narcotics; Monique Stanton, President and CEO and Susan Styf, Chief Program Officer for CARE of Southeastern Michigan and Brett Miller, Senior Associate for Butzel Long.

The workshop will be held from 8-10 a.m. on Friday, Sept 15 at the Velocity Center (6633 18 Mile Road in Sterling Heights, MI.  There is no charge for this event but pre-registration is required.  Visit www.careofsem.com/events for more details and a link to register.

How can Michigan’s economy boom if we don’t have the right workers?

17_AM_Cover_GraphicMichigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) held their annual conference in Holland this month. Between attendees, sponsors, speakers and guests, nearly 200 members of the economic development community were in attendance.  A record breaking year for MEDA.  But from the opening reception to the closing remarks, I heard the same problem in every session I attended.  Businesses are struggling to hire people with the right skills.

On Wednesday evening, the president and a chief executive officer from competing businesses joined each other on stage to discuss the need to fill the pipeline with the qualified and dedicated talent.  Franco Bianchi of Haworth, Inc. and Brian Walker of Herman Miller, Inc. agreed on one thing, if we ignore the need for talent here in Michigan and throughout the United States, companies will have to outsource their work internationally in order to meet the demands of their growing business.

A common thread heard throughout the three-day conference was that businesses are willing to train and educate dedicated employees with a desire to learn. Many of these jobs are for highly skilled positions paying top wages, not the “factory” jobs our parents and grandparents held.   These jobs require creative thinking and problem solving.

Douglas Patton, executive vice president and engineering division chief technical officer for DENSSO International America, Inc. offered a presentation on the future of driverless society and discussed the immediate need for software developers and cybersecurity professionals.  These jobs do not require a bachelor’s degree to begin.  With an associate’s degree from a community college and an on-the-job training program, these individuals will be helping develop the future of driverless society while making comfortable wages. Individuals in these entry-level positions can advance within a company through lifelong learning opportunities. In many cases, employers are willing to help with these expenses.

Where does filling the pipeline begin?  It begins in elementary school. During the session on Building Tomorrows Talent Through Meaningful Engagement, topics were discussed on the need to show young students how their math, science, English, and technology all relate to the real world and to get kids excited about careers. For instance, a student struggling with math might make a better connection to the skills needed if they can apply math problems when developing code for a video game. .

It also begins at home. Every parent wants their child to be successful. However, a four-year college degree is not the right fit for every individual.   The average cost to complete a bachelor’s degree in Michigan is more than $50,000.  An associate’s degree, earned at a community college, can be earned for a fraction of the cost and lead to a rewarding career or additional educational opportunities.

Instead of suggesting that a four-year degree is the only way to be successful, perhaps we should be helping the next generation of our workforce discover their talents and aptitude and make a plan to follow an educational pathway that leads to career success.  For more information on these high skilled, high wage jobs in Michigan check out Going Pro, Michigan’s campaign designed to elevate the perception of professional trades and to showcase opportunities in a variety of rewarding careers.

Lauri Cowhy is a senior communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Strong job growth continues in Macomb County

The most recent jobs update released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Macomb County gained 1,590 jobs last month and 10,730 total so far in 2017. The July data shows a total of 422,219 Macomb County residents are working. This is the highest number of people employed in Macomb County in more than 16 years, dating back to November 2000 when 418,451 people were employed.

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Macomb County voters adopted an executive form of county government that began in 2011. Under the leadership of the first-ever county executive, Mark A. Hackel, Macomb County has gained 59,320 jobs. The unemployment rate in the county is currently 4.2 percent.

“Our local economy is growing at a remarkable pace. These new jobs are a direct result of Macomb County’s leadership in sectors of mobility, aerospace, life sciences, information technology, defense and homeland security,” said John Paul Rea, director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. “We are excited about these results and will continue to work toward greater economic vitality for our families in Macomb County.”

Year-over-year job growth shows gains in the county. The county’s 2017 to-date job growth is outpacing its 2016 to-date job growth of 8,511.

The updated jobs numbers continue the streak of eight continuous years of job growth in Macomb County. Jobs numbers have grown every single year in Macomb County since the height of the recession in 2009, when 350,776 people in the county were working. The county peaked in jobs numbers in May 1999, when 437,251 were employed. At that time, unemployment was at a mere 2.7 percent.

The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development has been integrally involved in supporting the automotive industry. We offer free and confidential services to businesses of all sizes across multiple targeted industries. Reach out today so we can assist with your needs.

 

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is an economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development and is focused on growing, retaining and attracting businesses to Macomb County. To learn about what resources are available for your business, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.

Romeo High School to implement college and career academies as first designated Ford NGL district in state

Over the past two years, the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development (MCPED) has been working with partners to explore and create a foundation for implementing college and career academies at Romeo High School with support from the Ford Next Generation Learning (NGL) network. The result will be standing up various academies that emphasize career exploration, experiential learning and college readiness rather than perfecting the art of standardized test taking. While Ford has NGL communities throughout the country, this will be the first designated district in the state of Michigan.

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Our department sees this effort as a way to prepare the next generation to meet workforce demands. This transformation is currently in the planning phase, and implementation is scheduled for the 2019 school year. MCPED serves as the community convening organization. As such, some of our responsibilities include supporting successful government, academic and business collaboration; building credibility in the community and gaining support; and focusing on business and community development.

Over 50 stakeholders make up the program’s steering committee. Our department helps advise this committee about current industry trends and in-demand jobs and promotes the county’s 10 targeted industries (automotive, advanced manufacturing, defense, food and agriculture, health care and social assistance, information technology and cybersecurity, logistics and warehousing, professional services, and retail) to businesses, community organizations, teachers, parents and academia.

Romeo_High_SchoolBy examining the local area, the businesses located there, who is hiring and what kind of talent is needed, a determination can be made as to what career pathways ought to be offered for that specific area. The steering committee is examining these options and will help determine the top career academies best suited to offer in the Romeo community.

While core studies will still be taught in the classroom, they will be incorporated into the larger career pathways. For example, a student in the automotive academy would learn the futuristic technologies of autonomous vehicles through studying a blend of information technology, robotics, computer science and engineering. The result is that students will receive extended hands-on exposure to different careers, empowering them to make informed career choices.

In addition to Ford, other local businesses are a necessary part of this framework. They offer externships to the high school teachers, enabling them to spend time at the business so they can better understand the industry and teach it to students. Industry experts are also welcomed to teach in the classroom, working hand in hand with teachers.

The ultimate goal is to build a model for other schools to replicate, with eventually every district in Macomb County offering some form of college and career academy.

If your business is interested in attending steering committee meetings, or if you are a school looking to enter the exploratory phase of implementing the NGL framework, please contact our department at (586) 469-5285.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in business outreach and communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Your chance to shape Macomb’s future workforce

MFG Day 2016 BManufacturing Day (MFG Day) in Macomb County is one of the largest events in the country introducing high school kids to local manufacturing companies. In many cases, this is their first time seeing a manufacturing facility, which will likely be much different than what their parents have been advising them. There is a huge disconnect between many parents’ perceptions and the jobs that will be available in a highly skilled manufacturing workforce.

The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development has been in manufacturing facilities throughout the county, and we have seen that the majority of the workforce is mature and will be retiring soon. We have heard that there are very few young people showing any interest in this line of work. This must be changed, and it starts with MFG Day.

MFG Day 2016 AThis event allows kids to tour your manufacturing facility, and you will get to talk directly to them to explain the importance of manufacturing jobs in Michigan. You can show these students what you do for a living, the atmosphere you work in, the pay levels and opportunities for advancement. This creates a chance for your company to market directly to the local future workforce.

We know you are busy, but we also know you are concerned about the workforce problem that everyone will face in the future. The work has already been done to get the schools involved and transportation provided. The last step, and most important, is for you to get involved in MFG Day – to put a picture of what manufacturing is today in these students’ minds before they make decisions after high school.

Please join us on MFG Day Friday, Oct. 6. To invest in your company’s future, please be a host. Learn how by going to www.MacombBusiness.com/mfgday or contact Maria Zardis at maria.zardis@macombgov.org or by phone at (586) 469-5285.

Johns, Jack IMG_0030Jack Johns is a project coordinator for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. He specializes in working with food, agriculture, energy, robotics, autonomous vehicle and retail businesses. If you are a business owner and would like to contact him, email jack.johns@macombgov.org or call (586) 469-6293.