Cheryl Carrier, Ford Next Generation Learning, will offer a keynote address at the Macomb Business Awards – Reserve your spot today!

carrierWe are pleased to announce that Cheryl Carrier, executive director of Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL), will present the keynote address at the 6th Annual Macomb Business Awards Breakfast on Feb. 27, 2018 at The Mirage in Clinton Township, MI.

Cheryl Carrier is the Executive Director of Ford NGL, the signature education program of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services.

Cheryl leads the team responsible for developing and managing the innovative Ford NGL program, which is designed to engage educators, employers, and community leaders in the common goal of preparing today’s high school students for the careers of tomorrow. Through community engagement, Ford NGL provides a proven framework to develop high school academies that are career-themed and provide students with opportunities to engage in relevant, academically rigorous, authentic learning opportunities.

Currently, there are 40+ communities across the country that are using the Ford NGL framework and are supported by Ford Motor Company Fund. Several schools across Macomb County have or are in the process of converting to academy base learning.  Romeo High School will be the first Ford NGL certified program in Michigan.

Cheryl works closely with business executives, government/civic leaders, and economic development and workforce development intermediaries to help align education with the skills needed by companies and the local region.

Cheryl joined Ford in 1978 and has held positions in Engineering, Finance, Business Strategy, and Investor Relations. Cheryl assisted Ford Executive Chairman William Clay Ford, Jr., for many years, including a special assignment with the Detroit Lions, as the Human Resource Director, where she was responsible for developing human resource policy.  Cheryl retired from Ford on December 31, 2013 and has been retained by Ford Motor Company Fund to continue as the Executive Director of Ford NGL.

Cheryl serves on the boards of Alignment Nashville, Advance CTE Education Foundation and Future Plans.  She resides with her husband in Petoskey, MI.

Reservations for the breakfast – one of Macomb County’s largest gatherings of leaders in business, education and government – can be made until February 20.

Invite-cheryl

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Industry preview days a golden opportunity for local companies

Each year, the North American International Auto Show opens its doors to crowds of roughly 850,000 members of the public, eager to see the latest and greatest in what the world has to offer. While the public prepares to take in what is sure to be a spectacular 2018 show, companies in the industry have a chance to come for a preview.

2017 NAIAS - Show HighlightsLast year, nearly 40,000 automotive professionals and analysts representing over 2,200 companies from around the world spent days connecting and sharing insights at the industry preview days. This valuable and unique networking and professional development opportunity brings together the key decision makers, designers and leaders responsible for the cutting-edge products, technologies and services on display at NAIAS.

In addition to the displays at the NAIAS, also included is AutoMobili-D, which features 150,000 square feet of dynamic display communities in the Cobo Center atrium overlooking the international waterway and the adjoining Planet M hall. In 2017, AutoMobili-D featured more than 180 brands, ranging from automakers, to suppliers, to tech startups as well as universities and government organizations.

According to the organizers of the NAIAS, there is no other event in North America that provides an international platform for this vast array of companies, organizations and thought leaders under one roof. The 5,000 journalists expected to attend the 2018 NAIAS preview days from more than 60 countries across the globe will have plenty to write about.

2017 NAIAS - Show HighlightsAlso a major part of the industry preview days are the more than 40 hours of mobility-focused announcements and discussions. These educational presentations are both a great way to learn about the latest in mobility and to connect directly with the companies at the forefront of developing these next-generation tools and technologies.

During the 2017 show, 17 vehicles made their worldwide debut. This is ground zero for companies looking to become suppliers and build relationships for new product lines that will be the future staples of the auto industry.

Are you a company interested in attending the industry preview days at the NAIAS? Tickets are available! Click here for more information and secure your attendance for 2018!

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 what resources are available for your business, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.

New Ram truck to debut

ramIf you live or work in Macomb County, you may have already spotted a heavily camouflaged vehicle on our roads. It is rumored to be the 2019 Ram 1500, and anticipation has been growing for the redesign to be revealed. The vehicle is expected to be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, and it will be manufactured here in Macomb County at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant.

SHAP is a great example of a success story in Macomb County. It was slated for closure during the recession, but has made a remarkable comeback. Massive improvements have been made at the facility in recent years to retool it to build the next-generation Ram pickup.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has invested $1.48 billion and created 700 new jobs to support the manufacturing of the new truck and future growth of the Ram brand. This commitment is part of FCA’s effort to increase production capacity of trucks and SUVs in the U.S. to match demand.

Don’t miss the unveiling of the new Ram at 9:05 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15 at the NAIAS, and see what our Macomb County workforce is able to do!

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

Perks of participating in Macomb Business Awards

DSC_0003The Macomb Business Awards is the perfect opportunity to network, exhibit your company’s expertise, and if you’re lucky, you may even get some national publicity. This was the case for Bakes and Kropp after winning an award in 2016.

Bakes and Kropp is a custom cabinetry company that designs and manufactures luxury kitchens, vanities, libraries and closets. Their high-end cabinetry is built in a 30,000-square-foot production facility in Mount Clemens and sold at three showrooms in the New York area as well as through a dealer in Plymouth, Michigan.

According to cofounder Paul Kropp, one of the benefits of being located in Macomb County is the area’s talented workforce and solid work ethic. Traditionally an area dominated by automotive manufacturing, Kropp says he sees the excitement employees have to work on something different. Also because of the auto industry, Macomb County also has no shortage of experienced metalworkers for Bakes and Kropp to reach out to when they have chrome plating or metal fabrication needs, enabling them to create truly unique wooden and metallic products.

At the end of 2015, Bakes and Kropp was nominated for the Macomb Business Awards in the category of Startup Business to Watch. As a growing business that had been operating for less than four years and had more than two full-time employees, they fit the qualifications for the category. The awards ceremony was held in February 2016.

Kropp said at the time, he wasn’t sure if his company would win because of the other great competing businesses, but when their name was called, he was thrilled.

“I enjoyed the whole process,” said Kropp. “The ceremony was well done, and it was a huge morale booster for the company.”

After receiving the award, the Bakes and Kropp was mentioned in several local newspaper articles and also listed on our website, MacombBusiness.com. Because of the nation’s interest in Macomb County during the presidential campaign, NBC was looking for a venue here to host a roundtable for NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. They discovered Bakes and Kropp on our website and chose them to be the host site, and an employee even participated in the roundtable. Kropp said it was exciting to meet a celebrity and receive exposure on a national level.

While there is no guarantee your company will be mentioned in national news, you can count on a delicious breakfast, an inspirational guest speaker and the chance to take home an award. Time is running out to be a part of this year’s Macomb Business Awards. Today is the deadline for nominations. Simply go to our website to nominate your company.

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

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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.

Romeo-Washington Chamber shoots for the stars, honors John Paul Rea

When it comes to celebrating one’s hometown, perhaps nobody does it better than Romeo.

Between Tillson Street trick-or-treating, the Michigan Lavender Festival, and of course the Michigan Peach Festival, Romeo residents have a lot to be proud of. There’s even more to celebrate, though: The town also has a fantastic array of cuisine, art, and music made by locals.

That’s what Night Under the Stars is all about.

For the 6th year in a row, the Greater Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual Night Under the Stars celebration. The event features local music, art, food, and wine, as well as a keynote speaker known as a “hometown success story.”

This year that honor goes to none other than John Paul Rea, director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

“We were really excited to choose John Paul. He was class president back when he graduated Romeo High School in 2001, and he’s had so much success since then, while staying local at the same time,” said chamber Executive Director Kelley Stephens. “He’s got an interesting story.”

In his keynote address, Rea will discuss his journey from Romeo to where he is now.

“We’ve had keynote speakers from all different fields—arts, literature, film, sports—but we’ve never had someone from the political sphere until this year,” Stephens said.

Around 140-180 people attend the event every year—so get your tickets soon.

“This is one of my favorite events that we do,” added Stephens. “The money that we raise funds scholarships for graduating high school seniors, so it’s a way to celebrate the community while giving back.”

Night Under the Stars takes place from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Aug. 4 at the Historic Douglas House. Tickets are $25 per person or $40 per couple. To reserve your tickets, call (586) 752-4436 or visit www.rwchamber.com.

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Jenna Russell is a summer intern at the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. She is a senior at Oakland University.