Macomb Community College hosts Employer Information Session about its expanded apprenticeship program

Macomb offers employers access to motivated, work-ready candidates, as well as training for existing employees 

On Tuesday, June 28 from 7:30-9 a.m., Macomb Community College will host a breakfast meeting at its South Campus in Warren for employers interested in exploring how the college’s expanded apprenticeship program can help them effectively grown their own workforce.

Employers will learn about Macomb’s Michigan Apprenticeship Program Plus (MAP+) program, which offers industry-driven, structured training that allows employers to develop current employees, as well as to interview and hire students. The first cohort of approximately 24 MAP+ students will complete an Industrial Readiness Certificate in August. The work-ready candidates will have completed pre-apprenticeship training classes in foundational skills relevant to skilled trades, apprenticeship and similar work-based learning experiences.

MAP+ funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration under the American Apprenticeship Initiative.  The training and education related to MAP+ may have associated financial incentives through complementary funding programs.

The cost to attend the Employer Information Session is $10 per person, which includes a hot breakfast.  It will be held at the John Lewis Student and Community Center (K Building) on Macomb’s South Campus, 14500 E. 12 Mile Road, Warren.  To register online,  For more information, call 586.445.7438 or email

About Macomb Community College

Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to nearly 48,000 students annually. Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and is the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan. The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

Customer service done the “Harder” way

Harder 2When I recently pulled into the Harder Auto Parts store on Groesbeck in Clinton Township, I was reminiscing back to when my father would take me there in his 1970 aqua blue F250, which I could barely see over the dash. I’m going back to the days when the gas tank for the truck was behind your seat, and you had just a lap belt restraint.

Richard Harder owns and runs the store with his son Ryan, and it is the type of place where they greet you as soon as you walk in. They ask you what you need and walk you right to it. They know where every single item is in the store because they put it there. It is a friendly family store where they know what type of oil you prefer and the color of the vehicle you drive. It is the Cheers bar of auto parts, for those who remember that show, where everybody knows your name. What I was not aware of is just how far back the history goes of his family owning local businesses. I had a chance to talk to Richard one day between him helping customers to really get a feel for how important this business is to him and his family.

Harder 1Russell Harder, Richard’s father, back in 1940 owned and operated the Sinclair gas station on Jones and North Avenue in Mount Clemens. I mentioned that little fun fact to my mother, and she responded without hesitation, “They sure did, and they have always been the nicest people.” Nineteen years later, Russell opened up the Harder Oil Company right across the street from today’s Harder Auto Parts on Groesbeck just south of Hall Road (M-59). He ran that store until 1987 and then helped with his son’s store until he was into his 90s.

Richard always wanted a business and knew he was going to own one from age 10 working for his father. His mom wanted him to go to college, so he ended up going to Western Michigan University and took some automotive classes for a year. He liked it so much that he continued on to graduate with an automotive engineering degree. While in college, he joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and was in the reserves for a total of eight years. He opened up the business in 1977 with financial help from his father.

“Personal service is what has kept us around,” said Richard.

Harder 3When they first opened, there was not a lot of competition in the area, and now they are dealing with the big box stores and many other auto parts stores in the area. They used to order all the parts from a book over the phone, and then through the years, they had to learn how to use the computer, which took a little time. He told me there were more than 30 distributors out of Detroit buying from local manufacturers, and many of the parts at that time were made in the USA. Now with the global economy, the distributors have dwindled down to just a couple that buy the parts from other countries, so they had to change with the times.

Richard says that if they don’t have it in the store, they can get pretty much any auto part for foreign or domestic vehicles. They also have a great rapport with Hanks Auto Service next door that works on vehicles, and they will send customers to each other.

Harder Auto Parts is also a FFL dealer of firearms and carries a few products in the store. The son, Ryan, picks up extra business during the warmer Michigan months doing auto detailing in the back of the shop. I asked Richard if he is going to retire, and his response was he will hand the business over to his son one day, and he will be like his father before him, helping around the shop.

Richard says they have known customers their entire lives, and now their kids are having kids. They have a solid group of customers that come in year after year. In my case, like my father before me doing business with Russell and Richard Harder, now I see Richard and his son Ryan when I go there. Maybe someday I will see another Harder family member stepping in to help Ryan. Then hopefully for small business’ sake and good customer service, that lifecycle of proud business ownership will continue on this little slice of land in Macomb County under the Harder name.

Harder Auto Parts
44000 Groesbeck Hwy.
Clinton Township, MI 48036
(586) 468-1511

Jack Johns is a senior economic development specialist with the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. He specializes in assisting food and agriculture, automotive, energy and retail companies.


Who’s hiring?

Know someone looking for work or wanting to change jobs? Here’s a quick look at what’s hot in Macomb County right now. Our economic data provider EMSI shares that companies looking for new employees right now include General Motors, Henry Ford, CVS and McLaren Health Care Corporation.

Looking for a job close to home? Here are the Macomb County communities with the largest amount of total and unique online job postings:


Not only are employers looking for workers, but they’re looking harder. While the number of total unique open positions continues to rise steadily, the number of total postings has shown tremendous growth.


Resources are available for both the job seeker and the job provider. Those looking for work should check out the state’s website or reach out to their local Michigan Works! office. Employers looking for assistance can contact our department to find out more about employee training, financial assistance and other resources.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at

Connected technologies take root in Macomb

H3-160609887On Wednesday at the Mackinac Policy Conference, Gov. Rick Snyder introduced the state’s new Planet M initiative, which focuses on branding Michigan’s mobility assets, especially autonomous and connected vehicle technology. The importance of connected technologies continues to grow in today’s economy. Macomb County is already taking steps to promote economic development in this cyber arena as is seen in the development of key assets such as MADCAT (Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Assurance Team) and the Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range.

When the Velocity Hub in Sterling Heights celebrated its grand opening in March, it joined the ranks of other cyber ranges in the county including at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and General Dynamics Land Systems’ MC2. However, the unclassified Velocity Hub is different because it is the only one open to the public, providing resources for local businesses and entrepreneurs.

FrontCyberRangeFor a fee, companies looking to test the security of their connected products can undergo a full day of penetration testing at the Velocity Hub. This will test the product against a checklist of best practices and result in a comprehensive final report detailing potential security vulnerabilities. The Velocity Hub also leases space for companies to utilize a virtual sandbox. Equipped with hardware and software, this enables startups and emerging companies to test the products they’re developing in a secure environment.

Also available are cybersecurity certification courses. These courses are perfect for an employer looking to fortify his or her staff with advanced cybersecurity knowledge as well as for the individual looking to build his or her resume. Various certification courses will be offered through Mile2 starting at the end of this month. Each course is five days long with a certification exam on the last day. The price ranges from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the course.

Another unique facet of the Velocity Hub is that it is managed by the Macomb-OU INCubator and is housed in the same facility at the Velocity Collaboration Center. As such, startups have the option to lease office space at the incubator, giving them access to support services, classes and a network of other promising entrepreneurs.

It is no wonder MADCAT often chooses the Velocity Collaboration Center as the location for their quarterly meetings. Close proximity to the Velocity Hub, flexible seating options and a large projection screen available for presentations make it the perfect meeting space for this cybersecurity-focused organization.

As Michigan strives to gain dominance in the race to create autonomous vehicles, collaborative partnerships are happening in Macomb County to offer resources, tools and guidance to enable the mobility industry to grow.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.


Buzz from the island: Advancing mobility and growing defense

The 2016 Detroit Regional Mackinac Policy Conference kicked off with positive excitement on the island. This year, the conference focused on the three pillars of entrepreneurship, urban education and investing in the future. Macomb County arrived to Mackinac poised to promote our connectivity to both the automotive and defense industries and growing the cybersecurity ecosystem.

During day two, the common themes and dialogue included how we advance our automotive technologies and stay ahead as a state. One step in this direction was the big unveiling of “Planet M” which represents Michigan’s mobility ecosystem. The synergy behind branding Planet M brought together many key players from government, research institutions, academia and industry with the common goal of helping us all grow our talent and advance our technologies.

signing at MPC.jpgDay three introduced a defense panel discussing the state’s Protect and Grow initiative. The strategic plan introduced 17 different recommendations in seeking opportunities for us to grow our defense presence in Michigan, currently a $9 billion industry. One of those key areas was continuing our efforts in growing the cybersecurity ecosystem, including building a pipeline in the workforce. A strong defense contingency joined Macomb County up at Mackinac and included leadership from the Michigan National Guard, U.S. Army TACOM and U.S. Army TARDEC, along with our partners at the state and the Michigan Defense Center.

This four-day event brought together great dialogue, some new introductions and even old friends. Macomb County continues to have a strong role as a partner in bringing our state and region to the forefront as a leader in all things connected.

Radd- Vicky IMG_0001 LOW_RES

Vicky Rad is the deputy director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Revamped and relaunched:


Aiming to be a central source for news and events related to cybersecurity, the revamped
MADCAT (Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Assurance Team)  website has officially launched at

The MADCAT website features several partners that have contributed to the organization’s efforts of growing the cybersecurity community.

MADCAT’s talent partners include local colleges and universities with programs ranging from certificate courses to master’s degrees. These programs help to further train and engage our regional talent pool in cybersecurity activities. One such talent partner, Walsh College, has the unique distinction of being named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, a status designated by the National Security Agency.

Institutional partners named on the site include a range of businesses, nonprofits and military representatives. Several of the institutional partners have established private cyber testing ranges; however, the Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range at Macomb-OU INCubator remains the sole cyber range accessible to the public.

The site’s Resources tab contains links to tools that both the public and governmental agencies can utilize to ensure their networks are secure. The state of Michigan has several informational resources featured on the site, including the cyber disruption strategy and Michigan Cyber Initiative. A 25-minute video with Brig. Gen. Michael Stone features a panel discussion on how cybersecurity threats are monitored, prevented and addressed by both the automotive and defense industries. As these industries in particular continue to power Macomb County’s economic growth, it is vital for business owners and employees to be aware of potential threats and how to prevent a cyberattack.

Look for events and MADCAT quarterly meetings on the calendar – the group is open to the public and new members are always welcome.

The website’s redesign was the result of a visioning process the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development undertook with Mount Clemens-based digital marketing agency Hunch Free.

Tracey, Alyssa IMG_0194

Alyssa Tracey is a senior economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.