Automotive Leaders on Michigan’s Mobility Future: ‘Detroit’s Culture of Innovation Ripe for Industry’s Growth’

From autonomous shuttles to drones that deliver pizza, mobility will touch nearly every person’s life over the next decade and Michigan is poised to lead the way as a hub for technology research and development. Justin Robinson, vice president of business attraction for the Detroit Regional Chamber, joined automotive and mobility leaders and Gov. Rick Snyder to showcase the state’s rich assets, a growing startup ecosystem, and Michigan’s role in the industry’s future on “Eye on the Future: Driving Innovation in Mobility” on WWJ-TV, CBS 62. View the segment here.

CBS 62 ‘Eye On The Future’ Special Reveals How Detroit Will Lead The Next Wave Of Auto Innovation

Head Economists from Federal Reserve Bank, JPMorgan Chase to speak at Automation Alley’s Global Business Outlook for 2018 and Beyond, Jan. 11

Automation Alley, Michigan’s leading technology and manufacturing business association, will host its annual Global Business Outlook event on Thursday, Jan. 11, from 8-11 a.m., at its Troy headquarters.

The 2018 event will be keynoted by Paul Traub, senior business economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit Branch, and John Caldwell, executive director of JP Morgan Chase. In addition, Pavan Muzumdar, Automation Alley’s chief operating officer, will speak about Industry 4.0’s impact on the global economy.

The event will focus on the shifting dynamics of the global economy and how companies can best position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities and challenges of doing business in the U.S. and overseas. Speakers will also examine projected trends in two-way trade and investment flows and identify industries that will either benefit or be challenged by globalization in the short, medium and long terms.

“This is a must-attend event for business and industry leaders looking to gather information on the state of the global economy, examine trends and plan accordingly,” said Noel Nevshehir, Automation Alley’s director of international business services. “For the first time in recent memory, the world economy is running on all twelve cylinders. But this optimism may lull us into a false sense of complacency. While there are plenty of bright spots out there, we can’t ignore geopolitical blind spots that could derail global growth such as North Korea and Iran or, domestically speaking, an overheated stock market correction.”

Topics will include the impact of interest rate hikes on the world economy, the bid to renegotiate free-trade agreements, deregulation, tax reform, health care, potential stock market corrections and geopolitical risks, including China, Iran, North Korea and Russia.

Closer to home, the event will highlight how these and other factors affect Michigan’s business and industry climate, especially the automotive and other advanced manufacturing industries.
The event includes breakfast and networking and there will be time for an audience Q-and-A following formal presentations.

Automation Alley Headquarters is located at 2675 Bellingham in Troy.

For more information, or to register, visit automationalley.com or contact Automation Alley at 800-427-5100 or info@automationalley.com.


About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is Michigan’s leading nonprofit technology and manufacturing business association, connecting industry, academia and government to fuel Southeast Michigan’s economy and accelerate innovation. Automation Alley focuses its efforts on innovation and technology, entrepreneurship, talent development, defense and international business, providing knowledge, resources and funding to help members grow and prosper in the digital age. The mission of Automation Alley is to position Southeast Michigan as a global leader in Industry 4.0 by helping our members increase revenue, reduce costs and think strategically as they keep pace with rapid technological changes in manufacturing.

 

Bodman Receives 2017 Urban League of Detroit Corporate Community Service Award

Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that the Urban League of Detroit & Southeastern Michigan, a non-profit organization whose mission is to enable African Americans and other persons of color in the Metro Detroit and Southeastern Michigan region to achieve their fullest potential, has named Bodman the recipient of its 2017 Corporate Community Service Award.

Bodman attorney Carl F. Stafford accepted the award at the Urban League’s 52nd Annual Guild Gala held at the Detroit Marriott-Renaissance Center on Saturday, December 2.

The Corporate Community Service Award recognizes organizations that are heavily involved in service efforts that benefit the local community. Stafford and Bodman have served as general counsel to the Urban League of Detroit & Southeastern Michigan for more than five years. In that capacity, Stafford has attended all of the organization’s board meetings, reviewed contracts and leases, and resolved various business disputes, all on a pro bono basis.

The Corporate Community Service Award is the fifth significant honor so far in 2017 for Bodman’s multi-award winning pro bono program. The firm’s pro bono efforts are managed by a full-time pro bono counsel, Kimberly A. Paulson, under the guidance of a standing Pro Bono Committee chaired by firm members Susan M. Kornfield and Christopher J. Dine. Paulson is one of only three dedicated pro bono counsel to be employed by large Michigan law firms.


About Bodman

Bodman is one of Michigan’s largest business law firms with offices in Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, and Cheboygan. Bodman has a diverse client base that includes individuals and businesses in a variety of industries with emphasis on financial services, automotive, real estate and construction, emerging companies and venture capital, health care, manufacturing, and other sectors. To learn more, visit www.bodmanlaw.com.

Growth in US Business Numbers Outpaced by Many Other Economies Around the World

Growth in the number of businesses in the US has been outpaced by many other economies around the world in the last year, reveals a new study by UHY, the international accounting and consultancy network.

According to UHY, there has been a two percent increase in US business starts in the last year. There were 11 million businesses in total in the US in 2016 compared to 10.8 million in 2015 (see table below).

In comparison, overall across all countries in the study (21), business numbers in 2016 increased by eight percent on the previous year.

UHY points out that major advanced economies with already large numbers of businesses, such as the US, can often find it difficult to add to their stock, whereas emerging economies may have more capacity to do so.

It adds that although economic conditions and levels of entrepreneurship are healthy in the US, securing investment can pose problems for small business success.

UHY explains that failing to provide adequate data when soliciting investors or not doing enough research on the competitive landscape are key obstacles to accessing vital investment funds.
The Top 5 rankings in the UHY table for growth in business numbers are dominated by emerging economies.

China topped the table, with a 19 percent increase in business numbers in the last year. There were over 26 million Chinese businesses in total in 2016 compared to almost 22 million in 2015. India is in fifth position with an annual increase of seven percent to 1.1 million businesses in 2016.

Of the Western economies* studied, the UK is first, coming 6th in the UHY table. Numbers of businesses in the UK increased by six percent in the last year, taking the total to 3.9 million.

Rick David of UHY member firm UHY Advisors comments: “Enterprise and entrepreneurship in the US is growing, but not at the same impressive speed that some rival economies are enjoying.”

“Like many developed economies where markets are already highly competitive, America does not have the same scope to grow new businesses at such rapid rates found in China and developing countries. However, ambition remains strong.”

“It is important to remember that the US is still the world’s leading economy. Recent actions by policymakers in the US to revamp the US corporate tax system should significantly impact the growth of future business creation across the country. We expect moves, such as this to dramatically impact the ability of the US economy to keep pace with other similar, high-performing Western economies like the UK.”

“With a good number of incubators and accelerators in operation to support the start-up ecosystem, innovation and entrepreneurship are robust – but we need to make sure that whether the right conditions to allow businesses to thrive are in place.”

“Start-ups and small businesses must maximise their chances of securing much-needed investment funding by making sure they do their homework thoroughly, if they are to flourish and grow.”

China tops table for pace of growth in business numbers – increasing total stock by almost a fifth in a year

Rank Country Number of businesses in 2015 Number of businesses, in 2016 Amount change in number of businesses, % change in number of businesses.

1 China 21,982,000 26,115,000 4,134,000 18.8%
2 Pakistan 73,000 81,000 8,000 11.3%
3 Vietnam 442,000 485,000 42,000 9.6%
4 Malta 88,000 95,000 7,000 8.1%
– World 68,246,000 73,501,000 5,255,000 7.7%
5 India 1,070,000 1,143,000 73,000 6.8%
6 United Kingdom 3,679,000 3,897,000 218,000 5.9%
7 Denmark 297,000 308,000 11,000 3.7%
8 Israel 270,000 279,000 10,000 3.6%
9 Rep. of Ireland 198,000 205,000 7,000 3.3%
10 Russia 4,886,000 5,044,000 158,000 3.2%
11 France 4,836,000 4,973,000 137,000 2.8%
12 Australia 2,121,000 2,172,000 50,000 2.4%
– Major Western economies* 31,208,000 31,898,000 690,000 2.2%
– Europe 21,186,000 21,647,000 461,000 2.2%
13 United States 10,816,000 11,046,000 230,000 2.1%
14 Spain 3,512,000 3,586,000 73,000 2.1%
15 Japan 5,269,000 5,360,000 91,000 1.7%
16 Belgium 634,000 642,000 8,000 1.2%
17 Germany 3,469,000 3,503,000 34,000 1.0%
18 Poland 151,000 150,000 -1,000 -0.5%
19 Italy 3,139,000 3,120,000 -20,000 -0.6%
20 Portugal 1,181,000 1,169,000 -12,000 -1.1%
21 UAE (Dubai) 131,000 129,000 -3,000 -2.0%

*France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, United States

Notes on the figures (rounded to the nearest thousand):
Japan – 2015 figure is an estimate based on 2014 and 2016 figures; UK – figures have a year-end of 31 March 2016 and 2017, and are figures from UK’s Companies House on new incorporations and dissolved companies; Germany – 2016 figure is an estimate based on new registrations and de-registrations for 2016; Belgium – figures are for 2014 and 2015, the most up-to-date figures available; Vietnam – 2016 figure is an estimate based on annual growth rate 2010-15; Australia – Year end June 30 June 2015 and 2016; Pakistan – figures are for fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17 and measure the number of companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).


About UHY LLP
UHY LLP is a licensed independent CPA firm that performs attest services in an alternative practice structure with UHY Advisors, Inc. and its subsidiary entities. UHY Advisors, Inc. provides tax and business consulting services through wholly owned subsidiary entities that operate under the name of “UHY Advisors.” UHY Advisors, Inc. and its subsidiary entities are not licensed CPA firms. UHY LLP and UHY Advisors, Inc. are US members of Urbach Hacker Young International Limited, a UK company, and form part of the international UHY network of legally independent accounting and consulting firms. “UHY” is the brand name for the UHY international network. Any services described herein are provided by UHY LLP and/or UHY Advisors (as the case may be) and not by UHY or any other member firm of UHY. Neither UHY nor any member of UHY has any liability for services provided by other members.

About UHY, the network
Established in 1986 and based in London, UK, UHY is a network of independent audit, accounting, tax and consulting firms with offices in over 296 major business centers across more than 90 countries. Our staff members, over 7,660 strong, are proud to be part of the 16th largest international accounting and consultancy network. Each member of UHY is a legally separate and independent firm. For further information on UHY please go to www.uhy.com.

UHY is a full member of the Forum of Firms, an association of international networks of accounting firms. For additional information on the Forum of Firms, visit www.forumoffirms.org.

UHY is an international association of independent accounting and consultancy firms, whose organizing body is Urbach Hacker Young International Limited, a UK company. Each member of UHY is a separate and independent firm. Services to clients are provided by the UHY member firms and not by Urbach Hacker Young International Limited. Neither Urbach Hacker Young International Limited nor any member of UHY has any liability for services provided by other members.

UHY press contact: Dominique Maeremans on +44 20 7767 2621 Email: d.maeremans@uhy.com.

Crain’s Detroit Names Julie Fershtman in 2017 Notable Women Lawyers

Foster Swift shareholder, Julie I. Fershtman, has been named to Crain’s Detroit Business magazine’s inaugural list of the “2017 Notable Women Lawyer in Michigan.” Women selected for the list were nominated by their peers for setting legal precedent, managing high-profile cases, serving on boards, and mentoring others.

Julie has shown an excellent record of representing her clients in business, contract, equine and insurance litigation. Her leadership includes serving as president of the State Bar of Michigan (2011-2012), only the fifth woman in 80 years to be elected to this role, and as co-chair for its 21st Century Practice Task Force (2015-2016). Lastly, her strong commitment to mentoring young attorneys and educating both clients and collegues has captured the admiration of her peers. Previously, Fershtman was named the “2016 Woman of the Year” for the State of Michigan by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

“Members of the firm gravitate toward Julie for her sage advice and wise counsel on both business and personal matters,” said Michael D. Sanders, president of Foster Swift. “She thrives on lifting the performance and enabling the success of all those around her.”

Julie practices out of Foster Swift’s Southfield office. A lawyer for 31 years, she has tried cases before juries in four states and has been a speaker at conferences in 29 states. She has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2013 in the categories of Commercial Litigation and Insurance Law.

Pitch Club News Release Jan 24, 2018

Kyyba Innovations, Bodman PLC and TiE Detroit are hosting Pitch Club on Wednesday, January 24th at Next Energy, Detroit. Pitch Club is a mentoring and funding program aimed at connecting the various ecosystems and smart zones throughout Michigan. Pitch Club has ongoing monthly events that provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from seasoned entrepreneurs and investors. The events are meant to educate, network, inspire and provide valuable experiences for being investable. As part of the events, 3 lucky entrepreneurs will receive the opportunity to practice their pitch and discuss business plan with funding experts, giving them a better understanding the mindset of an investor. Events are hosted monthly on Wednesday evenings in Michigan cities including: Ann Arbor, Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids.

The January 24th event at Next Energy in Detroit will include 3 startup presentations, a pool of judges, and a special guest “Founder & CEO” keynote speaker. The application deadline for startups is Sunday December 31, 2017.

Apply here: http://kyybaxcelerator.com/pitch-club-application.php

Judges
Robi Mitra, CEO, K&A Resource Group
Steve Jbara , Owner, Grand Rapids Drive
Charlie Moret, Presdient & CEO, Invest Michigan
Lori J. Birman, VP of Membership & Development, SBAM
David C. Bloom, Founder and Principal, Factotem

Agenda
5:00pm – 5:25pm Registration
5:25pm – 5:30 pm Opening Remarks
5:30pm-6:30pm Company Presentations
6:30pm-6:35pm – Introduction of Keynote
6:35pm-6:55pm –Keynote
6:55pm – 7:10 pm – Q&A with Audience
7:10 pm – 7:30 pm Networking

Thank you to our sponsors
Bondman PLC
TiE Detroit
Next Energy

Check out the entire calendar and get registerd here: http://kyybaxcelerator.com/calendar-registration.php

The select pool of the companies chosen to pitch at the monthly Pitch Club events will be provided investment opportunities in the form of presenting to the investment team of Kyyba Innovations and TiE Detroit Angels during their quarterly Angels meeting. Investment opportunities will range from $25,000 to $100,000. TiE Detroit Angels funded companies, if qualifications are met, also could have the chance to present to the TiE Global Angel Alliance (TGAA). TGAA is a global platform for funding that exposes startups to a broader investment pool and opportunities to raise additional funds much larger than any single TiE Chapter or local Angel Group. TGAA recently invested $395,000 in Zeto, and $450,000 for Hemex Health from the TiE Global network.
Testimonials

“Pitch Club provides a tremendous opportunity for cross-pollination and increased deal flow across Michigan, something that currently is not at the level it should be. This program will be very valuable for both the startup entrepreneurs and investors and will hopefully create a meaningful dialogue, as well as a technological and economic impact for the entire region,” said Tel Ganesan, Managing Director, Kyyba Innovations. “In order to make this initiative even more successful, I encourage seasoned entrepreneurs in each of these areas to join us by serving as a mentor.”

“From the elevator pitch to the public pitch to the investor pitch, the more successful entrepreneurs are pitching, the more integral this will become to their success. We are pleased to partner with Kyyba Innovations to help entrepreneurs to gain exposure, insights and support that will help them truly move the needle,” said Paul Riser, Director of Technology-Based Entrepreneurship at TechTown Detroit.
“Access to investors and the opportunities to pitch without having to travel are signs of a healthy startup ecosystem,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. “We are excited to have the Ann Arbor region included in Pitch Club; this new avenue for connecting startups and potential funders is a terrific addition to the existing ways entrepreneurs are able to attract capital as well as the investors already interested in what’s happening here.”

About Kyyba Innovations :
Kyyba Innovations is a global second stage startup accelerator investing in technology and IP related startups in broad based industries. Kyyba Innovations provides a custom acceleration program and scaling services to startups, including Customer Development, Product Development and Investment in exchange for equity. Industries Include: Health, Mobility, IoT, Industrial, Energy, Automotive, BlockChain and Fintech.

About Bodman PLC:
With more than 150 attorneys in offices throughout Michigan, Bodman PLC has delivered extraordinary results to our clients for more than 85 years. Our attorneys provide savvy business counsel to some of the region’s most successful companies and individuals on a broad range of issues, and we provide clients with the personal attention of a small firm with the talent and skill expected of the nation’s leading law firms.

About TiE:
The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals with roots in the Indus region. There are currently 13,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 61 chapters across 18 countries. TiE’s mission is to foster entrepreneurship globally through mentoring, networking, education, incubating, and funding. Dedicated to the virtuous cycle of wealth creation and giving back to the community, TiE’s focus is on generating and nurturing our next generation of entrepreneurs.

 

Former Director of the Michigan Department of Human Services and Former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court joins Butzel Long

Maura Corrigan joined Butzel Long as Counsel on November 27, 2017. Justice Corrigan will concentrate her practice in litigation and appeals.

“Maura is highly regarded and deeply respected for her legal acumen and her exemplary service to the state of Michigan,” said Justin G. Klimko, President and Managing Shareholder, Butzel Long. “Our clients and our attorneys will benefit greatly from the talent, experience and wise counsel she brings to our Firm.”

Justice Corrigan served as a law clerk to Judge John Gillis of the Michigan Court of Appeals. She then became a Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney in 1974, and Chief of Appeals in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit in 1979. In 1986, she was promoted to Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney, the first woman to hold that position. She became a partner at Plunkett and Cooney in 1989.

In 1992, Governor John Engler appointed her to the Michigan Court of Appeals. In 1997, the Supreme Court named her Chief Judge of the appeals court. She was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1998 and reelected in 2006. Justice Corrigan is the only person ever to serve as Chief Judge of both the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. She served two terms as Chief Justice. She left the court on January 14, 2011 to become the Director of the Michigan Department of Human Services under Governor Rick Snyder.

From 2015 – 2016, Justice Corrigan was a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C. where she worked on poverty and child welfare issues. In that role, she testified in Congress, authored papers and book chapters, and served as liaison to state secretaries of human services.
Justice Corrigan has participated in numerous community and professional activities. She currently serves on seven nonprofit boards. She is a past president of the Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers and the Detroit Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. She served as a public member of the Michigan Law Revision Commission from 1991-1998, as an executive board member of the Michigan Judges Association, and as a member of the Judicial Advisory Board of the Center for Law and Organizational Economics at the University of Kansas Law School. She was vice-president of the Conference of Chief Justices from 2003 – 2004. She is a published author in the legal and child welfare fields. She holds seven honorary doctorates from Michigan colleges and universities, among numerous honors and awards.

She earned her J.D. degree (cum laude) from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and her B.A. degree (magna cum laude) from Marygrove College.


About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in Michigan and the United States. It was founded in Detroit in 1854 and has provided trusted client service for more than 160 years. Butzel’s full-service law offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as alliance offices in Beijing and Shanghai. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting www.butzel.com or follow Butzel Long on Twitter: https://twitter.com/butzel_long

Oakland Community College Names New Chancellor

Oakland Community College announces the appointment of Peter Provenzano to the position of Chancellor. Provenzano joined Oakland Community College in 2014 as Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services and a key member of the College’s executive leadership team. Since May 2017, Provenzano has served as the Interim Chancellor. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of Provenzano as successor in the position of Chancellor.

“The decision to offer the position to Mr. Provenzano reflects the Board’s confidence both in his proven leadership abilities and his vision for the future,” said Oakland Community College Board Chair John P. McCulloch. “He has been in the forefront of developing a long-range planning process that is responsive to the needs of our students and community.”

With Provenzano’s work as Interim Chancellor, the Board expects a seamless transition and ongoing stability across the College. While his role as Chancellor is already in place, Provenzano’s “interim” status will officially change effective January 1, 2018, given the Board’s vote.

“With educational institutions facing significant change, Peter Provenzano brings a track record of leadership and success,” said McCulloch. “His commitment to student success and collaborative partnerships reflects Oakland Community College’s strategic direction and the ongoing vision for excellence and best practices.”

“I’m very impressed with Peter’s vision for the college. He’s not just looking at today or tomorrow, but is looking forward five, 10 and 20 years,” added Trustee Kathleen Bertolini. “He has also surrounded himself with a great team for advice and solving concerns related to any aspect of the college.”

With nearly 20 years of leadership experience in the public and private sectors, Provenzano is known for his collaborative leadership style and mission driven focus on student success and community benefit. Provenzano earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Wayne State University and a Masters in Administration from Central Michigan University. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.


With five campuses throughout Oakland County, Oakland Community College offers degrees and certificates in approximately100 career fields as well as university transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts. The College provides academic and developmental experiences allowing each student to reach their full potential and enhance the communities they serve. More than 40,000 students annually attend OCC; more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Says District Is ‘Primed to Get this Right,’ Just Need Time

All students will have the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to thrive in the city, nation, and world. That is the vision Nikolai Vitti, superintendent for Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) shared with the Detroit Drives Degrees Leadership Council, comprised of high-level regional stakeholders representing education, business, philanthropy and government.

Vitti, a native of Dearborn Heights, returned to Southeast Michigan this spring from Jacksonville, Fla. as one of the preeminent superintendents in the country, to help solve many issues facing DPSCD.

“What I inherited… is a system that didn’t have systems and processes in place to support teaching and learning and scaling the pockets of excellence that existed in Detroit Public Schools,” explained Vitti. “That’s everything from curriculum, to hiring principals, to training principals, to intervention materials for students who are behind in reading and math, to wraparound services that need to be integrated and aligned.”

Moving forward, Vitti explained that change at scale is happening, and it is being driven by the schools. In the past, the district was not able to move strategically in any one direction. Instead the district lied dormant because it was being managed like a business in bankruptcy. Today, the district is progressing and is focused on creating college and work-ready paths for students.

Three top priorities Vitti shared with the Council to ensure students graduate and have options after high school are:

  1. Make sure every high school has access to rigorous curriculum and accelerated programs.
  2. Make sure every high school has a career academy with different programs like manufacturing, nursing or engineering.
  3. Create a college-ready culture through the implementation of the Common Core curriculum and provision of SATpreparatory classes for 10th, 11th and 12th grades.

These are just three priorities that fall into his “Blueprint 2020” plan that Vitti developed to “educate and empower every student, in every community, every day” to build a stronger Detroit. Read more about the strategic plan for rebuilding Detroit’s public schools here.

“We are primed now on behalf of the students to get this right. Emergency management did not work. We now have an elected and powerful board, that hired a superintendent with a track record of reform, and I’m from metro Detroit; I want to be here,” Vitti urged. “Give us time without the interference and politics to get this right. We will get it right. We have a good board that’s very focused on policy, a superintendent that has implemented reform, and a union that’s buying into the reform. All the components are there from strong nonprofits like The Skillman Foundation that is stepping up and wanting to work with the district, to businesses that are getting involved, and a mayor that’s invested. All the pieces of the puzzle are in place, we just need time to put it together.”

Vitti’s presentation and goals for the district align with the Chamber’s goal of improving education attainment to drive economic prosperity and social mobility.

Detroit Drives Degrees, an initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Forward Detroit strategy, is focused on increasing post-secondary degree to 60 percent across the region by 2025. For more information on Detroit Drives Degrees, please visit detroitdrivesdegrees.com.

 

Chamber’s Work to Grow Region’s Educated Workforce Backed by Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren

Last week, the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren endorsed the Detroit Regional Chamber’s plan to establish a regional Education Compact, a key step in ensuring that the region is educated, healthy and employed to compete in the 21st century global economy. The Compact will be led by the Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees initiative, with the support of a grant from The Kresge Foundation.

The endorsement was part of the Coalition’s action items under six priorities it released in a new report titled “Our Schools, Our Moment.” The report highlights areas that can be acted upon immediately by leaders across the public and private sectors to ensure success for all students.

Under the Chamber’s direction, the Detroit Drives Degrees Education Compact  will establish long-term goals and set key benchmarks in bolstering postsecondary readiness, access and success for Detroit students. This initiative represents a collective commitment by leaders in education, business, philanthropy, government and the nonprofit community to address an ongoing barrier to regional economic development – a lack of residents with higher education credentials or college degrees compared to peer regions across the country.

Currently in the beginning phases, Detroit Drives Degrees has begun to identify baseline data, create the Compact framework, and conduct economic analysis to determine education attainment needs through 2030. Steps to finalize the Compact agreement will take place over the next 18 months, with a signing ceremony slated for 2019.

“The goal of the Detroit Drives Degrees Education Compact will be to facilitate partnerships between K-12 stakeholders and postsecondary education institutions with a shared goal,” explained Greg Handel, vice president of education and talent for the Chamber. “It is needed to drive collective action in helping more students achieve their postsecondary goals. The Coalition voicing its support is an important step forward in this endeavor to increase student success.”

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, comprised of a diverse cross-section of business, civic, education, philanthropic, religious and community leaders, make the case that these six priorities ensure Detroit’s youth are educated to career- and college-ready standards. The Chamber’s Forward Detroit Strategy has aligned with the goals of the report and the Chamber is a key partner and business voice for the Coalition. Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah serves as a steering committee member of the Coalition and has been involved from its inception.
The Coalition’s priorities outlined in the report include:

  1. Get Serious About Attendance – Students have to show up to learn.
  2. Choose Detroit – Getting students and educators to our schools.
  3. Learn to Read, Then Read to Learn – Reading by third grade is essential.
  4. Keep Pace with Detroit’s Economic Recovery – Give students multiple college and career pathways after high school.
  5. Fully Fund Special Education – State and federal action required.
  6. Expect Improved Cooperation and Accountability from Our Leaders – Shared responsibility means all schools working together.

Read and download the full report here.

Michigan’s economic growth is sustained by an educated workforce, which is why it is critical the business community be engaged and have a voice in the Coalition. Among the five co-chairs of the Coalition representing the business community are Chamber Executive Committee member John Rakolta Jr., president and CEO of Walbridge; and Mark Reuss, executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain for General Motors Co. Additional co-chairs include: Tonya Allen, president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation; Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit branch for the NAACP; and Angela Reyes, executive director of the Detroit Hispanic Development Corp.

This report is the second released by the Coalition since its formation three years ago. The first report, “Choice Is Ours,” is targeted toward Lansing lawmakers regarding reforming Detroit Public Schools Community District.

For more information about Detroit Drives Degrees, an initiative of Forward Detroit, visit detroitdrivesdegrees.com.