How Macomb County is preparing today’s talent for tomorrow’s opportunity

The world around us is changing. Every day we see new technologies, automation and artificial intelligence influencing the economy, and businesses have to adapt to keep pace. With this evolution, we see the workforce changing too. And in late 2017, we began to see the rise of the “new collar” worker.

What is a new collar worker?
We’ve all heard the terms blue-collar job or white-collar job. Today, a new classification of worker is emerging that combines professional knowledge with technical skills. The need is becoming so great that last year, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty coined the term “new collar” worker to describe a role that is between a professional career and a skilled trade. These workers have technical skills and knowledge rooted in higher education. The roles they fill are in areas like cybersecurity, data science and artificial intelligence, but some roles have yet to be created. It is estimated that 65 percent of today’s kindergartners will have job titles that do not exist today. All told, a big shift is coming and our young people need to be ready to leave high school career and college ready.

MC-New Collar Panel - 2191-14-x 48 (1)

Macomb County is fueling the talent pipeline
To ready our region for this shift and fuel the talent pipeline, Macomb County is engaging directly with businesses and the next generation of our workforce. We work one-on-one with area employers to connect them to resources and learn about their talent needs. We also collaborate with partners to develop and support initiatives that expose students to career possibilities and point them to educational pathways that lead to meaningful employment. This work includes:

  • The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development partners with the Macomb Intermediate School District, along with an active planning committee and generous sponsors, to coordinate one of the nation’s largest celebrations of Manufacturing Day (MFG Day). Since 2014, more than 6,500 students have visited a nearby plant to see industry in action and learn about career possibilities.
  • The Department has also partnered with Romeo Community Schools as they work towards becoming Michigan’s first Ford Next Generation Learning community. The newly established Academies of Romeo will enable students to choose a thematic course of study – such as engineering, health care or information technology – and learn in a relevant, hands-on environment. Students learn math, science, English and social studies within the theme they choose.
  • Macomb Community College hosts AUTO Steam Days, a two-day hands-on opportunity for students to explore careers in automotive design, robotics, manufacturing and technology.
  • The Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Awareness Team (MADCAT) partners with academia and area U.S. Department of Defense assets to develop a career pathway for high school and college students in cybersecurity.
  • MiCareerQuest Southeast – Michigan Works! offices from across the region host an event for 10,000 students at the Novi Suburban Showplace. This event provides hands-on activities related to career exploration in four quadrants: construction, information technology, advanced manufacturing and health sciences. Involved employers will provide hands-on experiences and sponsorship.

Those are just a few examples of the many programs and partnerships Macomb County is pursuing to fuel our talent pipeline and prepare the next generation workforce for new collar work. Through these efforts, we hope to ensure economic stability in our region for many years to come. But ultimately, our goal is to give our young people the tools they need to succeed and connect their passion with opportunity.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.


Year in Review: Macomb Business’ biggest and best blogs in 2016

Are you finding it hard to believe another year is in the books?

2016 was a big year for business in Macomb County. As a department, we hosted numerous major events, had clients directly invest nearly a quarter billion dollars, created thousands of jobs and saw overall employment in Macomb County rise by roughly 17,000 while continuing a seven-year streak that has brought 55,000 total new jobs to the county.

In other words, we were busy! Trying to keep up with everything we were doing was no easy task. We here at the Macomb Business Blog had 53 (now 54!) blogs hot off the presses for you this year. In case you missed any, we want to recap the biggest business news in Macomb in 2016:

Auto show fever grips Macomb County in January! With more than $5 billion in auto investment since 2010, the department had a big presence at the North American International Auto Show.

Macomb County brakes for positive effects from auto show

The big event to celebrate Macomb County’s business accomplishments is the annual Macomb Business Awards. This year marked the fifth annual celebration, and more than 400 turned out at Fern Hill Country Club to see who would take home the coveted awards.

What awaits at the Macomb Business Awards

What do Yahoo, the Democratic National Party, Target and LinkedIn have in common? If you answered all were victims of sophisticated cyberattacks, you’re right! Cybersecurity is a legitimate risk we all face. The new Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range offers classes to help companies defend their technologies against these threats.

Velocity Hub grand opening highlights new cybersecurity asset

Do you have a fond remembrance of the good old days? Well those days are back in Macomb County, economically speaking. In April, Macomb County’s economic recovery pushed the county back to near historic highs. How did we get there? We take a look at the path.

Macomb then and now

Small businesses are the backbone of a healthy economy. Ninety-five percent of the businesses in Macomb County are defined as a small business. Every day, the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development (MCPED) works to help these businesses grow and assists entrepreneurs in starting their own small businesses. The department hosts officials from the Michigan Small Business Development Center in our offices to assist departmental clients with their small business needs. New resources are being added all the time; read on to learn about the focus on digital tools available to small businesses across all industries.

Helping Macomb County small businesses succeed

On the heels of the Mackinac Policy Conference the last weekend in May, 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. In Macomb County, this means jobs, investment and a lot more! Find out how much more:

Connected technologies take root in Macomb

Job growth in Macomb County has been on a steady upswing for the past six years, but in July, those numbers jumped even higher than expected. The only thing rising higher than the mercury in the thermometers this summer was the number of those who were able to find work.

Job growth picking up steam in Macomb

Nearly 400 companies make up Macomb County’s network of IT and cybersecurity businesses. Collectively, they employ more than 8,000 workers (and growing!). These companies are utilizing sophisticated software systems and the latest in technology to revolutionize security. The department’s focus on MADCAT, Planet M and other cybersecurity initiatives is paying dividends for Macomb County’s IT industry.

IT jobs growing in Macomb County

Entrepreneurs drive economic growth. Macomb County has roughly 23,000 self-employed individuals across all industries. These combined with stage one businesses in the county comprise a significant chunk of the growth potential available. The department has been working hard to provide this group with the resources they need to sustain and grow their operations.

New business portal gives entrepreneurs resources to succeed

Manufacturing is one of Macomb County’s most important industries. Overall, more than 1,600 companies throughout the county have an annual economic impact of $13.4 billion. These firms employ almost one fifth of our workforce. And, the average salary in the industry is nearly $75,000 annually. The department hosted more than 2,000 students at more than 40 manufacturing locations all across the county as part of a nationwide celebration of Manufacturing Day.

MFG matters in Macomb County!

This year, as a way to encourage residents and visitors to shop the county’s independent retailers, Macomb County made it easier than ever to support local businesses. The department created an online interactive resource for shoppers to find and connect with the more than 1,600 independently-owned retail stores located within the county.

Macomb County encourages you to shop small this Saturday

2016 was a major year for business investment in Macomb County. At the sixth annual State of the County, the continued and remarkable economic rebound in Macomb County was a central theme for County Executive Mark Hackel during his address. We recap what he had to say and all of the department’s accomplishments for 2016!

Spotlight on big investments at annual State of the County Address

As you can see, 2016 was indeed a big year! This is a great time to thank the people who help make this blog possible: MCPED Director John Paul Rea, MCPED Communications and Business Outreach Program Manager Maria Zardis and county communications experts Caitlin Gerds-Habermas and Sarah Cormier for not only being frequent contributors, but also for making sure every blog was proofread and reviewed. We would also like to thank our outside partners who contributed their time and content to the blog this year!

The goal of the Macomb Business Blog is to keep you informed. Do you have news or an idea to share with us for 2017? Reach out to me at We want to hear from you.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts.

“Macomb2Macomb” event at Macomb Community College highlights career opportunities

Tonight our department will be represented at Macomb Community College’s “Macomb2Macomb” event at the University Center in Clinton Township.

Coordinated by the college’s Career Services Office, our purpose is to interact with students about future job possibilities here within our department.

We will bring copies of the brand-new Macomb Momentum magazine and talk about how it represents a portion of our efforts to promote Macomb County as a great place to live, play and work.  We’ll also have lots of Lake St. Clair “Circle the Lake Tour” maps to distribute as well as to talk about our efforts to move the Macomb County Blue Economy Initiative forward.

A big map of Macomb County on an easel will help us talk with students about our work to help communities develop and update master plans, attract new businesses (like Jimmy John’s Field) and the types of services our Geographic Information System (GIS) group provides to others.

We are also going to bring copies of some of our targeted industry reports covering the sectors of advanced manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, defense and blue economy.  Not only will these publications help us describe our work to understand what drives our economy, but also as a way that we can describe some of the many great companies that there are to work for in Macomb County.

We are looking forward to networking with the other county departments that will be there to represent the careers they offer.  More importantly, we are glad to be involved in inspiring the next generation to be excited about the career opportunities that await them here in Macomb County.

If you are a Macomb Community College student planning to attend, please be sure to stop by the Department of Planning & Economic Development table and say hello!

Zardis, Maria IMG_0089Maria Zardis is the program manager for the Business Outreach and Communications Group for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.


New websites showcase Macomb County

Promoting the best of Macomb County has been a priority of the County Executive since the new form of county government was implemented. Bringing new visitors and investment to Macomb, as well as building community pride are a focus of county government. Each month, thousands of people visit two of Macomb County’s websites, and Both websites offer great information about resources available in Macomb County and now both are sporting a new look to better showcase the best the county has to offer:

MMYH HomepageMake Macomb Your Home

The Make Macomb Your Home website is the centerpiece of the award-winning Make Macomb Your Home campaign, which includes television commercials, active social media accounts, billboards, digital and print advertising. The website is a robust resource of interactive content that shows off the great quality of life ready to be enjoyed in Macomb County.

Visitors to the new site will find enhanced content featuring great information covering everything from Macomb County’s golf courses, breweries, orchards and outdoor activities. Information about these resources is paired with dynamic content provided by the community in the Make Macomb Your Home blog (Have an idea that would make a great blog? Get started by visiting!blogsubmit/cwcs) and integrates with social media.

In addition to information, the new website provides tools such as the home finder, blog, ideas for winter fun, a busy calendar of upcoming events and information about the many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Check it out and discover something new about Macomb that you will enjoy!

MacombBizHomepageMacomb Business

Capping off a successful 2014 which saw clients of the department of Planning & Economic Development invest of $216.8 million and have an impact of 3,331 jobs, the county has refreshed its main business portal,

Serving as both an attraction and a retention resource, business owners and entrepreneurs can find information about how to start, locate or grow their business in Macomb. The county’s Department of Planning & Economic Development offers great resources from site selection, information, financing and incentives. Visitors to the new site will also find a calendar of upcoming educational and business networking events, information about department news and links to the department’s social media accounts.

Know someone who could use our resources? Visit our site & share!

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