Connecting students with in-demand careers

 

Last week, the L’Anse Creuse School District hosted Career Night, an annual event focused on igniting student interest in learning and preparing to enter the workforce.

Nearly 500 participants joined the evening festivities, which included a mix of students and their family members. With over 60 careers represented, students were exposed to a wide variety of professional opportunities.

Career Day_Macomb table.jpgMacomb County’s Department of Planning & Economic Development Deputy Director Vicky Rad and I were present to encourage students to explore career paths in both government and STEM-related industries. We spoke to students not only about careers in planning and economic development, but also about those that are in high-demand and directly impact our local businesses.

As an economic development specialist, I meet regularly with companies that are in need of talented engineers, machinists and cybersecurity professionals, so we spoke to students about the increasing demand for these types of positions and the local opportunities in higher education that support these career paths. Many of the students we spoke with were passionate about finding a career in one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, and more importantly, they were preparing themselves for higher education opportunities after graduation.

One of the documents we shared with students was the Workforce Intelligence Network report naming the top jobs in Southeast Michigan in advanced manufacturing and information technology. Among the most in-demand positions are mechanical, electrical and civil engineers, as well as industrial designers, each of which pay roughly $35 to $40 per hour. When students were able to directly compare careers with salary ranges and educational requirements, they had a much easier time understanding how their work in school can prepare them for future success.

By connecting with students and talking to them about the careers of the future, we hope to inspire the next generation of great thinkers and doers!

Tracey, Alyssa IMG_0194Alyssa Tracey is a senior economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

 

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Hot Jobs in Macomb: What’s in demand in Macomb County?

Good news for job seekers: In Macomb County there were 49,949 total job postings in January 2016 representing 13,553 unique jobs. (Source: EMSI’s proprietary job postings data.) These numbers indicate a posting intensity of 3.68-to-1, meaning that for every available position there were 3.68 job postings for it.

Heavy and Tractor Truck drivers are most in demand with companies looking to fill 2,334 unique positions. The average wage for this group in the county is currently $18.79/hour.

Registered nurses were the highest posting intensity, with 7.16 job posts for each job available, implying strong demand.

See the chart for the most in demand jobs.

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Are you looking for work, or do you know someone who is? Head on over to the Michigan Talent bank at www.MiTalent.org or reach out to the local Michigan Works! office.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick 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 posavetz@macombgov.org.

Natural product line gives Choices Natur Kosmetik edge

As an amateur soap maker, I was really excited when Senior Economic Development Specialist Jack Johns and Project Coordinator Camille Silda invited me on a retention visit to Choices Natur Kosmetik. Not only did I learn about the company’s philosophy and incredible growth, but I also got to smell some really delightful aromas in the process.

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As is the case with many entrepreneurs, Choices started out in the creator’s basement. This past June, Helga Soave opened a 2,000-square-foot storefront in Shelby Township. Her primary focus was on selling wholesale, but since her boutique has opened, retail sales have doubled her wholesale revenue. Soave credits the uptick to Macomb County consumers’ desire for healthy and natural products.

According to Soave, while the cosmetic industry suffered during the Great Recession, organic body care saw an upward trend, and the market for organic products continues to increase. Choices’ revenue is up an impressive 200 percent from last February. The company is looking to hire more staff and intends to open several other retail locations and a manufacturing site.

Mickie Wolf, the company’s cosmetic chemist, handles product development. Soave found Wolf through Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! and is working with them to add another employee. Soave has also been working with the Small Business Development Center to explore franchising opportunities. Our staff at Macomb County Planning & Economic Development has been collaborating with the company for several years, providing site analysis reports when they began their search for a commercial building.

In an effort to create a healthy lifestyle for her family, Soave found that she couldn’t find the type of chemical-free products she was looking for, so she began to make them herself. She uses natural and organic ingredients and essential oils. She adheres to the European Union Cosmetics Regulation, which is more restrictive than the United States’ regulations.

Soave credits her current success to the Beaumont Hospital farmers markets, which gave her the opportunity to interact with customers, gauge her prices and evaluate her packaging. Today Beaumont is one of Soave’s wholesale clients.

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Choices is the only bath care company in the United States that enables customers to create their own custom blends. Soave, who previously worked as a chemist and an esthetician, saw that people with many different skin issues were being treated with the same products. This gave her the idea to let customers choose their own essential oils to build a combination that best suits their needs.

“We use exactly what you need, so it fits,” said Soave.

Each customer’s scent combination is stored on file, making it easy to reorder next time. The store also strives to be environmentally friendly. Many of their products come in reusable glass jars. When you run out of product, instead of buying another container that may end up in a landfill, you buy a pouch to take home and refill your jar.

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Choices is a very welcoming environment. There are sinks in the middle of the building so customers can try soap scrubs to find which ones they like best. The essential oils are available for smelling and trying new combinations. Soave encourages customers to read the back of each essential oil to learn more about it. The staff is also willing to answer questions and provide guidance.

The natural product line, customized merchandise and environmentally-responsible focus set Choices apart from other bath and body product manufacturers and retailers. This is definitely a Macomb County business to watch.

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

Macomb-OU INCubator’s Capital Raise Meetups: Let Mac-OU INC show you the money!

The Macomb-Oakland University INCubator (Mac-OU INC) recognizes that one of the largest needs of entrepreneurs is capital, so we created Capital Raise Meetup seminars to steer these small-business owners in the right direction. After three consecutive years, Mac-OU INC’s Capital Raise Meetups are still in high demand.

Mike Brennan, Mac-OU INC’s capital strategist, covers the various capital sources in Michigan and discusses how to properly position a company to be qualified for private funding, including private equity, the angel network and venture capital, and/or public funding, including grants, pre-seed, micro-loans and venture match.

Brennan is an accomplished executive and entrepreneur with 26 years of experience in both growth and startup organizations. He has founded five companies, raised $12 million privately for one and cumulatively employed more than 200 people in Michigan.

An example of these funding sources includes the Business Accelerator Fund (BAF), which is available solely through the state of Michigan’s SmartZones. Mac-OU INC is the top SmartZone, out of 18 total, for garnering the most BAF dollars to assist client companies.

In total, $579,004 in BAF dollars has been awarded to client companies through Mac-OU INC. These BAF awards are distributed by the Michigan Small Business Development Center through Mac-OU INC to the various accelerator service providers.

Free Capital Raise Meetup sessions are set from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays, March 1, April 5, May 3, June 7, Sept. 6, Oct. 4 and Nov. 1. After his group presentations, Brennan is available to further assist participating companies in determining individual needs.

Mac-OU INC supports economic development in Southeast Michigan by accelerating high-tech businesses, cultivating academic innovation and encouraging research and development. To help small businesses grow, the incubator creates customized success strategies for startup and emerging companies in the niche industries of defense, homeland security, advanced manufacturing and technology.

The incubator is located in the Velocity building at 6633 Eighteen Mile Road in Sterling Heights. Those interested in attending the lectures are asked to register in advance by contacting me, Joan Carleton, at (586) 884-9324 or macINC@oakland.edu. For more information, visit the incubator website at oakland.edu/macombouinc.

Joan Carleton is the marketing and communications manager for the Macomb-Oakland University INCubator.

 

Macomb-OU INCubator’s Capital Raise Meetups: Let Mac-OU INC show you the money!

The Macomb-Oakland University INCubator (Mac-OU INC) recognizes that one of the largest needs of entrepreneurs is capital, so we created Capital Raise Meetup seminars to steer these small-business owners in the right direction. After three consecutive years, Mac-OU INC’s Capital Raise Meetups are still in high demand.

Mike Brennan, Mac-OU INC’s capital strategist, covers the various capital sources in Michigan and discusses how to properly position a company to be qualified for private funding, including private equity, the angel network and venture capital, and/or public funding, including grants, pre-seed, micro-loans and venture match.

Brennan is an accomplished executive and entrepreneur with 26 years of experience in both growth and startup organizations. He has founded five companies, raised $12 million privately for one and cumulatively employed more than 200 people in Michigan.

An example of these funding sources includes the Business Accelerator Fund (BAF), which is available solely through the state of Michigan’s SmartZones. Mac-OU INC is the top SmartZone, out of 18 total, for garnering the most BAF dollars to assist client companies.

In total, $579,004 in BAF dollars has been awarded to client companies through Mac-OU INC. These BAF awards are distributed by the Michigan Small Business Development Center through Mac-OU INC to the various accelerator service providers.

Free Capital Raise Meetup sessions are set from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays, March 1, April 5, May 3, June 7, Sept. 6, Oct. 4 and Nov. 1. After his group presentations, Brennan is available to further assist participating companies in determining individual needs.

Mac-OU INC supports economic development in Southeast Michigan by accelerating high-tech businesses, cultivating academic innovation and encouraging research and development. To help small businesses grow, the incubator creates customized success strategies for startup and emerging companies in the niche industries of defense, homeland security, advanced manufacturing and technology.

The incubator is located in the Velocity building at 6633 Eighteen Mile Road in Sterling Heights. Those interested in attending the lectures are asked to register in advance by contacting me, Joan Carleton, at (586) 884-9324 or macINC@oakland.edu. For more information, visit the incubator website at oakland.edu/macombouinc.

Joan Carleton is the marketing and communications manager for the Macomb-Oakland University INCubator.

 

Macomb County growing and cultivating talent

Macomb County has been swimming against the tide of a statewide trend since 2000. Michigan’s loss has been Macomb’s gain.

Flash back to 2000. Macomb County’s population was 788,149. Fast forward 16 years to present day, and it currently sits at 865,570. A growth of 77,421 people (+9.8%) may not seem notable, but this occurred during a time when Michigan was losing population. In 2000, Michigan stood at 9,938,444 residents. Today that number has dwindled to 9,883,640, a drop of 54,804 people (-0.6%) which, without Macomb County, would have been a 132,225 drop. For perspective, that would be a bigger loss than losing every resident in the entire city of Lansing or Ann Arbor.

Most recently, Macomb County is growing at a pace of about 19 people per day. Given that the average household size in the county is 2.50 people, you could leave town for a three-day weekend on a Friday and come home on a Sunday to 23 new and occupied single family homes on your street. Imagine that kind of growth for the past 16 years and suddenly Hall Road makes sense.

Why is Macomb County different?

Given such a large sample size of time and population changes, Macomb County bucking the state’s trend signifies something stronger than chance. Residents are finding something in Macomb that they aren’t finding elsewhere across Michigan. A key area to look could be Macomb’s strong economy, deep pool of talent and high quality of life.

Macomb County’s workforce is becoming better educated. From 2000-2010, the number of those with associate’s degrees climbed by 1.2%,  bachelor’s degrees increased by 2.3%, graduate and professional degrees increased 1.9%, while those who did not graduate high school dropped by 4.6%.

Our workforce is gaining young professionals. From 2000-2010, those aged 10-24 accounted for 15,431 (20%) of Macomb County’s population growth. Six years later now in 2016, this age group is beginning their careers in the county.

Macomb County is affordable. The average price of a home in Macomb County is $139,500, compared to $199,600 in Oakland County. When factoring in median household income –- $53,870 in Macomb County (which is 12% higher than that of Michigan ($48,308)) – and $65,637 in Oakland shows that the cost of a home in Macomb County is 2.58 times the average annual income compared to 3.04 times in Oakland County. This doesn’t even account for property tax rates, which are much lower in Macomb.

On top of this, Macomb County is desirable. With 31 miles of coastline along Lake St. Clair, roughly 30 golf courses, orchards, blue ribbon schools and abundant retail, many are pleased to call Macomb their home.  Building permits hit a rock bottom of 346 in 2009 but have since averaged 1,835 per year from 2013-2015. The number of permits for multi-family housing was the highest in 2015 it has been since the new millennium (669).

What’s driving this growth? A thirst for talent.

Macomb County is experiencing job growth in a number of high paying fields.

Largest growth by total jobs:

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Top 10 growth by highest wage:

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Most current openings:

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What does this mean for the future?

While the county’s auto rebound has been profound, the demand for services has been equally as impactful. Hall Road and Gratiot are bursting with new retail. Lakeside Mall has anchored Hall since the 1970s, but Partridge Creek opened within the last decade and Macomb Mall has undergone 8-figures worth of enhancements. A new premium outlet mall is planned at Hall Road and I-94 to attract shoppers not just within the county, but from all across the region. Coupled with a new independent league baseball stadium and a revamped Freedom Hill, Macomb County is becoming a regional destination.

These major investments are enhancing the quality of life within the community and encouraging local upgrades. Kroger has opened new mega stores, bringing in celebrities and offering perks such as personal shopping. Emagine Theatres chose Macomb for a new state-of-the-art multiplex. New breweries and restaurants are opening up all across the county, bringing with them career opportunities, a higher quality of life and a stronger quality of place.

These are exciting times for Macomb County.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick 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 posavetz@macombgov.org.

Business and recreational opportunities on display at the Detroit Boat Show

As a recent transplant to Southeast Michigan, I never fully appreciated the number of marinas, boats, businesses, and recreational opportunities along Lake St. Clair in Macomb County. This past September, I attended the Boating and Outdoor Festival at the Lake St. Clair Metropark and gained a real appreciation for the region’s boating culture.

The boating industry is huge in Michigan. According to the Michigan Boating Industries Association, Michigan is the third largest marine market in the country, following Florida and Texas. Boasting an economic impact of $762.4 million in new boats, motors, trailers, and accessories in 2014, Michigan continues to outpace the national average.

UntitledI am pretty sure the sales reps at the Boating and Outdoor Festival didn’t anticipate a windfall kind of day when they saw me checking out the state-of-the-art fishing and powerboats, cabin cruisers, and personal watercraft, but I did have to talk myself down a few times while looking at the latest kayaks and smaller sailing craft.

After attending the festival, I am really excited to see what the Detroit Boat Show at Cobo Center has to offer, including all of the different exhibitors showcasing the latest navigation and communication equipment, docking systems, boats, apparel, and other opportunities such as charter trips and fishing on Lake St. Clair. I think my daughter will really enjoy some of the great activities planned, especially meeting a mermaid and watching the alligator wrangling!

This show will be a welcomed taste of summer on a February day. And I am sure with all the boats, fun, and water, there is bound to be a great tiki bar!

Geurink, Brent IMG_0018Brent Geurink is an associate planner for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development’s Land and Water Resources Group.