Talent Chasers: Upping Michigan’s Talent Game

By Rene Wisely

When Consumers Energy sought to fill 50 gas distribution worker positions in 2015, the company was inundated with more than 1,000 applicants. But after a lengthy screening process, only 15 people were found to have the requisite skills. The Jackson-based gas and energy provider hired them but realized then the real-world implications of Michigan’s talent gap. 

 It cost the company time, money and the chance to grow its business quickly. 

 “We knew we had to come up with a non-traditional solution to fill the jobs with qualified people,” said Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers Energy and CMS Energy. 

Consumers isn’t alone. Employers across Michigan are fighting the talent gap – the disconnect between the skills applicants have and the skills employers need. Michigan must fill more than 811,055 positions in the next six years or risk losing $49.1 billion in potential earnings by 2024, forecasters project. 

“We need people, we need workers, we need talent,” said Roger Curtis, vice president of public affairs for Consumers Energy and former director of the state’s Department of Talent and Economic Development. 

And Michigan needs businesses to help turn the numbers around, said Michigan State University economics professor Charles Ballard, author of three books spotlighting the economy. 

“Some are very forward thinking and are trying to make decisions for long-term profit and viability,” Ballard said. “Others, though, are only focused on profit in the short-term.” 


Thinking Outside the Box 

Consumers Energy, which services 6.7 million of the state’s almost 10 million residents, is on the forefront of creating a talent pipeline. Poppe, who firmly believes businesses learn from each other, has been crossing the state to share some of her company’s successful tactics used to attract and retain talent. 

To solve the gas distribution worker shortage, for instance, the company studied its existing team and noticed that many of its successful employees are military veterans. Consumers partnered with the Utility Workers Union of America, its training support consortium, Power for America, and the Department of Defense to create a three-month internship for veterans. 

“They got the skills and then they took the qualification test,” Poppe said. “We had a 98 percent pass rate and we hired them all, so we matched supply with demand, taking a different approach to the talent problem.” 

Consumers also has formed partnerships with Lansing Community College and Alpena Community College, which have utility line worker programs. Consumers helped create the curriculum to ensure that graduates have the skills line workers need to contribute from day one.  

Closing the Talent Gap 

To help others, Consumers partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in October 2017 to create the Michigan Talent Pipeline Management Academy, the first of its kind in the nation. The academy brought together community leaders to learn how to apply supply chain fundamentals to solve the talent shortage. About 200 companies have been schooled to date. 

“We taught them how to fish,” Poppe said. “Each of the trainees went back to their communities, gathered businesses and educators together and ran a workshop for that community. Suddenly, the schools have direct access to employers to learn about what skills they need.” 

The state is doing its part, too, said Poppe. She is encouraged by the Marshall Plan for Talent, which infuses $100 million in Michigan’s education system to grow the talent pipeline through career counseling, job shadowing, scholarships, etc. 

“It’s bringing the business and education community together in ways that we never have before,” Curtis said. “It’s going to take a while, no doubt, but we have to create that pipeline now.” 

Rene Wisely is a metro Detroit freelance writer. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Michigan faces a $49.1 billion loss in potential earnings by 2024 if it doesn’t fill more than 811,055 jobs in the next six years. 
  • Businesses can play a key role in talent attraction and retention via partnerships with universities and innovative apprenticeship programs. 
  • Campaigns like “Choose Michigan” are helping positively change the perception about the state’s lucrative careers among expats and outside talent, but it will take time. 

Take 5: What Comes First, Talent or Business?

By: Paul Vachon

In the wake of Detroit’s failed bid to host Amazon’s second world headquarters, how much of a factor was Detroit’s talent pool? Many business leaders believe if Amazon came to Detroit, talent would follow. However, Amazon cited a lack of existing talent in Detroit as a key factor in being left off the final list.

So, which is it? Does talent follow business or does business invest in locations with an existing talent pool?

National economic experts say its both while also noting the importance of investing local infrastructure to retain homegrown talent and positively impact their quality of life. Urban expert Richard Florida of the University of Toronto correlates the linkage between areas with mass transit lines, quality educational facilities, and public green spaces with strong economic growth.

As the region’s leaders work together to position Detroit as a contender for the next major investment, here is what some leaders in education, economic development, city government and business had to say:

David DeMuth, CEO, Doner Company

“Attracting talent can’t wait. If you’re running a business which relies on talent, you must compete on a national basis. You need to attract talent from some of the nation’s greatest cities, like New York, Los Angeles or Chicago — as well as emerging places like Austin, Texas and Nashville, Tenn. We can’t wait for the infrastructure to be upgraded. We must outline a compelling opportunity to a candidate using the assts we already have to make the argument. Talent waits for no one.”

Dan Ngoyi, Director, Talent Acquisition, Quicken Loans Family of Companies

“I don’t think it’s a zero-sum game. One priority does not have to precede the other. After Quicken Loans first moved downtown, and after Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy, some infrastructure enhancements occurred. As more companies arrived, the resulting talent surge drove additional improvements, such as the QLine. So, the two priorities can certainly feed off each other, and develop simultaneously.

Justin Robinson, Vice President, Business Attraction, Detroit Regional Chamber

“The first piece is to understand what infrastructure assets we have now as a differentiator. This will allow for employers to make a strong business case to potential employees. But then the region does need to pause and address the issue of “placemaking,” which is fundamental to our long-term success. Most people still choose job over place, but our research suggests they’re pretty close as prospective workers weigh their options.

M. Roy Wilson, President, Wayne State University

“We have to approach the challenge of talent attraction and retention from all angles. Having said that, I do believe that we are losing potential talent to other cities with more advanced infrastructure. People are drawn to places for different reasons, and Southeast Michigan is attractive in many ways. The availability of excellent higher education opportunities and health care, a city in the midst of an impressive rebound, and outstanding cultural and other entertainment offerings are among the many attractions. Yet, without better infrastructure, particularly roads and public transit, it will become increasingly difficult to compete with locations such as Chicago, Boston, Denver and Pittsburgh — all places that have made substantial infrastructure investments in the recent past.”

“Certainly, some talent follows companies but more often, companies will follow talent. Studies by renowned economists have proven this theory. The unemployment rate is under 4 percent, which is extremely low; IT and engineering positions are below 2 percent. Clearly the talent pool in the United States is in a crisis. Michigan has some of the finest universities in the country but is being challenged with retaining talent. We are making strides to change this paradigm via the Marshall Plan for Talent and ChooseMichigan.org initiative.”

Ronia Kruse
President and CEO, OpTech

Jeff Donofrio, Director, Workforce Development, City of Detroit

“When a major company is looking at locating in Detroit, the first thing that they ask us about is the talent pool. This is why we are focused on building and developing the talent of Detroiters. Our goal is to increase the talent pool with our existing residents to advance our competitiveness in attracting new business investment.”

Paul Vachon is a metro Detroit freelance writer.

Exploring the Talent Dividend in Southeast Michigan

By Greg Tasker

The urgent need to improve Southeast Michigan’s talent pool is reaffirmed in a study conducted by Georgetown University that shows that by 2020, at least 65 percent of all jobs will require some form of postsecondary education and training beyond high school. Nationally renowned economist Joe Cortright argues that retaining and growing the number of educated adults with a postsecondary degree is critical to a region’s economy. A 1 percentage point increase in the four-year college attainment rate is associated with about a $1,250 per year increase in average incomes in a metropolitan area. 

On Why Young, Educated Talent Matters 

“We are increasingly in a knowledge economy. Your success as an organization, as public-private partnerships, as communities depends on having smart, creative, innovative people.” 

Cortright’s research shows that U.S. cities that have the highest levels of per capita income also have the best-educated populations. There is also an education spillover effect. Living in a better educated region means workers have more job opportunities, higher wages and lower unemployment.  It also improves public services, infrastructure and other amenities. 

 On Detroit’s Economic Prosperity 

 “Detroit is starting from a tougher spot than most other places. The important thing to remember is to celebrate the successes you’ve already had: The city’s population is not declining anymore and things are visibility turning around. The big challenge is to figure out what the next iteration of Detroit looks like and get everyone involved.” 

 On Feeling Connected  

 “You must do a great job educating your children. Education is important to get even the minimum skills needed to do well in a knowledge-based economy. There’s a broader community task: How do we build communities where everyone fills connected and can find their ways to better education and better jobs and so on?” 

 On Building Places Young Talent Want to Live 

 “I think there is a substantial difference among metropolitan areas in the United States in how robust their urban core areas are. It’s not about making suburbs better. It’s about how do we make the urban core better. It’s shared space for everyone. The question is how do we transform the vibrancy of all the people who live in the community?” 

 On Detroit’s Selling Points 

 “Every city is a little bit different. I don’t think the answer is to look at another city and see how we can be more like that city. A lot of times people get fixated on what other cities have done that’s successful. What worked in places like Nashville, Portland or Austin doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. Detroit is its own story.” 

 Greg Tasker is a metro Detroit freelance writer. 

 Data for Chart 

San Francisco: 48.5% adults ages 25 and older with a four-year degree or higher, $84,675 per capita income 

Seattle: 42% adults ages 25 and older with a four-year degree or higher, $64,553 per capita income 

 Boston: 46.9% adults ages 25 and older with a four-year degree or higher; $70,157 per capita income 

 Detroit: 30.4% adults ages 25 and older with a four-year degree or higher; $58,589 per capita income 

Talent All-Stars

By: Dawson Bell

The competition to retain existing talent while recruiting new talent is increasingly fierce. When it comes to luring the best and brightest, companies across the region are thinking outside the box — from innovative apprenticeship programs to offering tuition reimbursement programs and investing millions in renovated office space. The Detroiter is celebrating the people behind the efforts of small, medium, and large-size companies that are changing their culture and improving perceptions among employees every day.

Nicole Kiefer, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer 

Company: Credential Check Corp. 

Location: Troy 

Number of Employees: 36 

Claim to Fame: Credential Check is an Inc. magazine “5,000 Fastest-Growing Company” and multiple winner of Crain’s Detroit Business’s annual “Cool Places to Work.”   

“Employers need to constantly evaluate their needs and their culture (in order to) have an understanding of how a prospective employee will fit in. If you’re looking to put just a warm body in the seat, you’ll be filling it again in six months. There are jobs out there for everybody. But not every job is for everybody. It’s so easy to apply for employment online that some applicants don’t even understand what the job requires. Companies need to be specific. Because there is a cost involved in making mistakes.” 

Credential Check is an Inc. magazine “5,000 Fastest-Growing Company” and multiple winner of Crain’s Detroit Business’s annual “Cool Places to Work.” Kiefer said helping clients attract and retain employees is at the core of the company’s business as providers of background screening. 


Ronia Kruse, Co-founder, President and CEO 

Company: OpTech 

Location: Troy 

Number of Employees: Nearly 350 

Claim to Fame: Nine-time recipient of “Metropolitan Detroit’s Best and Brightest Company to Work For” by the National Association for Business Resources. 

“Companies need to build strategies for short-, mid-term and long-term growth.” 

OpTech LLC, an award-winning talent solution and development firm, specializes in identifying and connecting IT talent, engineers and other professionals with employers in need.  

Part of OpTech’s strategy is a partnership with the state of Michigan and its Marshall Plan for Talent. The company also works jointly with educational institutions to increase participation in STEM programs and build connections between employers and the employee pool of the future. 

Kruse said social media is essential to connect job seekers with information about a company’s culture and values, including attributes beyond job description and compensation. Young people “want great opportunities, flexibility .. and to feel purpose driven.”  


Tammy Forney, Director, People Services 

Company: Wade Trim 

Location: Detroit 

Number of Employees: Nearly 500 

Claim to Fame: Recipient of more than 130 local, state and national awards; Named one of “Metropolitan Detroit’s Best and Brightest Company to Work For” by the National Association for Business Resources. 

“Networking through professional associations, universities and social media has been our No. 1 recruiting source. When the people who already work here are proud of where they are and what they are doing, it’s a huge advantage.” 

Forney said finding talent with “specialized skill sets’’ for complex engineering projects is a growing challenge. 

Providing employees growth opportunities, advancement and cross training is also key. Wade Trim’s “young professionals group” helps associates expand their skills by preparing mock project proposals and visiting job sites outside their discipline. Under development is a mentoring program that will pair experts across three generations: veteran, mid-career and entry level. 


Julie Lodge-Jarrett, Chief Talent Officer, Global Talent Management 

Company: Ford Motor Company 

Location: Dearborn, Detroit 

Number of Employees: 202,000 

Claim to Fame: Investing $740 million to revamp Michigan Central Station in Detroit and $1.2 billion to redevelop company facilities in Dearborn. 

 “We emphasize our capacity to provide exciting and meaningful work … in a cooperative culture. Potential employees realize they will have the ability not just to innovate, but to impact the world.” 

Ford has some innate advantages when it comes to attracting high-end talent. For starters, a globally recognized brand and a global workforce with more than 3,000 job openings for technical, product development, finance and IT. 

Lodge-Jarrett said the company’s success in landing top-tier engineering, design and creative candidates relies on the transformation from traditional manufacturer to a comprehensive mobility company. 

Having the wherewithal to invest $740 million in Michigan Central Station and $1.2 billion to redevelop facilities in Dearborn sets Ford apart, she said.  


Dan Ngoyi 

Director, Talent Acquisition, Quicken Loans Family of Companies 

“For a company to be great, it must do good, and that’s what we do best at Quicken Loans and the Rock Family of Companies. We’re a ‘for-more-than-profit’ company that understands ‘doing well’ and ‘doing good’ aren’t mutually exclusive concepts. We attract and retain high-level talent by creating purpose behind everything we do. At the end of the day, that’s what attracts top talent – the opportunity to take part in something bigger than yourself.” 

As one of the region’s largest employers, Quicken Loans is innately focused on cultivating homegrown talent. Employees spend countless hours at local universities meeting with their future workforce. The company culture reflects a “purpose drives productivity” philosophy that focuses on helping others while producing results.

Dawson Bell is a metro Detroit freelance writer.

Build Your Talent Pipeline With Let’s Detroit

Nearly 60,000 students graduate from Southeast Michigan colleges and universities each year. Let’s Detroit aims to keep these graduates in Michigan by connecting them with things to do, places to live, jobs and each other. Businesses can leverage Let’s Detroit to reach young talent in an authentic way. Increase visibility for your brand, industry and career potential for young talent at your company through this online and offline platform.

The Detroit Regional Chamber is taking an innovative approach to its talent retention and attraction efforts
with the launch of Let’s Detroit. The strategy focuses on connecting young professionals to each other, employment, things to do, places to live and opportunities to make a positive impact via an online and offline platform. National economic data suggests that a region’s per capita income is largely
driven by the percentage of highly skilled, educated adults it retains. While the region’s employers consistently list access to talent as a top concern, until now, there has not been an organized strategy around retaining talent, said Greg Handel, the Chamber’s vice president of education and talent.
Thirty-six percent of graduates from Michigan colleges and universities leave the state within a year of graduating, Handel said. The Chamber wants to increase the number of college graduates who remain in the state by 1 percent each year and also attract talent from outside the state. About 100 partners from government, nonprofit, young professional groups, higher education and businesses across the region began working on the initiative over a year ago. They analyzed survey results, held focus group discussions,
and studied best practices for talent retention and attraction from cities like New Orleans, Philadelphia and Calgary. Handel said survey feedback revealed that young people are generally not aware of career opportunities in Southeast Michigan.

Text a Detroiter

Let’s Detroit engages young professionals who enjoy talking about their neighborhood, favorite things to do, career or ways to make an impact on the community. Through a unique “Text a Detroiter” platform, regional ambassadors answer questions from anyone, anywhere in the world and serve as a one-stop resource for all that the Detroit region has to offer. The technology is like that used by Uber and Lyft.

How Does It Work?

LetsDetroit.com lets users choose features, such as where to find a lively nightlife or outdoor recreation, and highlights cities on a map where opportunities exist. Regional ambassadors can also recommend events
or places to check out. Another section of the website focuses on careers, since the Chamber recognizes
that talent will only stay or move to Detroit if they have a job, said Sarah Craft, manager for the Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees initiative. Graduates can reach out to young professionals in 10 different industries who can connect them to professional or industry-specific groups. “A lot of people are here because they want to make a difference in the community and it’s surprisingly hard to get engaged,” Craft said. The platform will include resources on ways young professionals can volunteer, learn and lead in their communities. One of the most impressive features is called “Text a Detroiter” which allows anyone, anywhere in the world to reach out to a young professional living here who is invested in the region’s success and ask questions. While the perception of Detroit and the region has improved, there’s still work to do, Craft said. She hopes that having locals — not just the Chamber — share their love for Detroit and the region will change that narrative.

Melissa Anders is a metro Detroit native and freelance writer.

What Can I Find?

Find Your Place

Is your talent new to Southeast Michigan and not sure where to settle in? Connect them with
resources to find their perfect community. Talent can learn what the region has to offer from a local resident to get the insider perspective.

Land Your Dream Job 

Finding a job you love is harder than it sounds. Let’s Detroit strengthens professional networks and
connects talent to the field they care about.

Explore And Enjoy

There are so many things to do in Southeast Michigan but it’s sometimes hard to know
what’s going on. Let’s Detroit helps young talent find their community, whether that’s in a jazz club, on a hiking trail or over brunch.

Meet The Let’s Detroit Ambassadors

Clarence Anthony Jr

Coordinator, Graduate Student Career Advancement, University of Michigan

Industry: Education

Why I Love Detroit: It has a lot of cultural pride and history in multiple fields of innovation. I also find that the culture of Detroit is one that embodies grit and determination — not only in continuously driving forward to grow as a city, but also in preserving its past.

Zain Ismail

Senior Consultant, Strategic Support Services Henry Ford Health System

Industry: Health Care

Why I Love Detroit: One of my favorite things about Detroit is its proximity to Windsor, Ontario. It’s only in this region that you can take advantage of the best of what two countries have to offer.

Michael Waling

Finance Manager, FCA US LLC

Industry: Automotive

Why I Love Detroit: I love the spirit of Detroit. There is a sense of shared pride and community in our city. There is also a “tough, no nonsense” vibe to the city, which I have really come to admire.

Nicole Watkins

QA Engineer, Detroit Labs

Industry: Technology

Why I Love Detroit: We have a diverse community of IT professionals who are highly engaged in sharing knowledge and opportunities. I work for a great company that helped me build my career in software development and testing, and I’ve gained valuable experience on mobile and web apps with global reach.

How Do I Get Engaged?

As a business organization who cares about attracting the right talent, Let’s Detroit offers myriad ways to engage with young professionals around the world. Here are a few ways you can leverage the website to augment your talent attraction and retention strategy.

Become a Partner Let’s Detroit partnership opportunities offer 12 months of engagement and exposure through the website, a texting function, engagement opportunities and social media engagement. It also exists offline to enhance and create programs aimed at driving regional collaboration, social mobility, equity and economic prosperity.
Showcase the Region

Need a way to show talent all that the region has to offer? LetsDetroit.com is the perfect tool. Businesses can leverage the website in their recruitment strategy and onboarding toolkit. The site helps companies show off places to live, events, and how to plug into community projects and young professional groups.

Engage Your Talent

Businesses can engage young professionals in their organization to serve as texting or employment ambassadors. These individuals help promote the region and share resources, recommendations and events related to their field of work to help connect talent and grow their network.

Start retaining Michigan’s top talent for the future of your business at LetsDetroit.com

Spotlight On Talent: Rick Snyder

By Gov. Rick Snyder

As we continue to maximize Michigan’s momentum, a critical focus on talent development is key. We’ve achieved remarkable growth, but sustaining that growth depends on our ability to build an education and talent system that creates long-term, high-paying careers for Michiganders, breaks down barriers to employment, and shows employers that Michigan is the place to grow and invest in.

There’s a talent crisis facing our nation, and in Michigan, we’re doing something about it. We recognize the rapidly changing workplace and growing demand for talent, which is why we’re leading the charge in preparing residents for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Through the Marshall Plan for Talent, we’re breaking down silos and forging revolutionary partnerships between educators, employers and others to transform our talent pipeline and fill the more than 811,000 job openings in fields facing a critical talent shortage.

In many ways, there are antiquated perceptions about learning and how best to deliver a quality education and skills training. Sometimes, this prevents us from helping our young people find the learning and career paths that best suit them. That’s why we’ve dedicated $100 million through the Marshall Plan to innovative programs, including competency-based certification, assistance for schools to improve curricula and classroom equipment, scholarships and stipends, and support for career navigators and teachers.

Since the launch of the Marshall Plan just seven months ago, we’ve seen tremendous support among employers and educators from across the state. Efforts by schools and businesses that were already partnering to accomplish great things are quickly accelerating, and new partnerships continue to form. In September, the application process began for education and business leaders to apply for more than $59 million in Marshall Plan grants to pioneer solutions to close the state’s talent gap.

Just as educators should look at how they can transform the learning process, employers should change their requirements for hiring, recognizing that many in-demand skills can be acquired through certificate programs and lifelong learning – and that includes breaking down barriers to employment. At the state level, we recently removed the checkbox reading, “Were you convicted of a felony?” that precedes occupational and construction code licensing applications, as well as instructed all state departments to remove the felony question box on the state’s website for state employment. I strongly encourage private employers to follow suit to give second chances to those who are ready to work and already trained for the jobs that employers desperately need to fill.

In addition, we need to do a better job of promoting Michigan as the place to locate and grow your business. Michigan is the home for innovation, career opportunities and economic expansion, and we need to be louder and prouder about that. We have an incredibly talented workforce, and plenty more residents with great potential. By continuing to break down silos, we can help Michiganders find success while powering our economic future.

Making the Business Case for Investing in Employee Education

The United States is moving toward a “knowledge economy” meaning that by the year 2020, 55 million jobs will require some education beyond high school. This equates to about 65 percent of all available jobs in the nation.

Currently, 44 percent of all Michiganders have a postsecondary credential – a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, or a high-value certificate. This lags behind the national average and is one of the factors preventing Michigan from filling high-skilled jobs.

The Chamber’s robust talent agenda
At the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Why Business Should Invest in Talent breakfast on Tuesday, Oct. 16, Detroit Drives Degrees Leadership Council Co-Chairman Richard Rassel discussed the Chamber’s regionwide talent agenda. View the full presentation here.

Rassel defined the Chamber’s talent agenda as comprising of four components:

  • Increasing access to post-secondary education. The Chamber does this by supporting the race to the FAFSA finish-line to ensure more students have financial resources to attend college, and administering the Detroit Promise scholarship for Detroit students.
  • Improving post-secondary success. This is achieved through the creation of a higher education compact. The compact establishes metrics and goals for improving post-secondary retention and graduation rates with a focus on underserved populations. The compact also provides success coaches to Detroit Promise community college students, to ensure they have the tools they need to succeed.
  • Promoting talent retention and attraction. LetsDetroit.com was launched to promote the region and engage young talent by connecting them to local networks, peers and activities.
  • Upskilling the region’s adults with some post-secondary education but no credential. The Chamber works with higher-education intuitions to create pathways back to degree or credential completion and increased employer support.

Rassel provided two examples of individuals who pursued their higher education goals with the help of their employer.

Discover’s commitment to employee education
Following the videos, Jon Kaplan, corporate education, training and development leader for Discover Financial Services, and Danette Howard, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for the Lumina Foundation, discussed what Discover is doing to upskill its workforce through tuition reimbursement and how other businesses can learn from their success.

“Discover has had a tuition reimbursement program in place for years, but one of the key barriers preventing students from enrolling is that they had to pay the tuition cost upfront,” Kaplan said. “If you calculate an employee in the call center having to pay at least $3,500 a year with the intention of being reimbursed later…that is not a reasonable expectation for everyone.”

In June 2018, Discover rolled out a new tuition re-admission model to improve its incentive to employees. In this model, Discover pays universities directly to cover students’ tuition costs.

Kaplan noted a few takeaways that may be helpful for other employers looking to develop a similar programs:

  • Choose a set of programs for which employees may apply. Select programs that will help employees grow within the company.
  • Provide academic coaching for returning students who have been out of school.
  • Hire a third party to work with the universities who understand university processes and language.

“Currently, Discover has about 400 to 500 employees enrolled in our tuition rea-dmission program,” said Kaplan. “When you account for the significant reduction in turnover, absenteeism, and the costs saved when promoting individuals internally, we have seen a 144% return on investment.”

The perception that education ends after high school is long outdated. To close the talent gap and continue propelling Michigan’s economy forward, businesses need to start investing in their employees’ education.

How can businesses get involved in the Chamber’s talent agenda?
In January 2019, the Chamber will launch the “Bridging the Talent Gap” survey. This survey was designed to help Detroit Drives Degrees obtain a benchmark of employer performance in helping employees pursue higher education. All employers are encouraged to complete the survey, which takes about 30 minutes. All attendees at the Why Business Should Invest in Talent Lunch will receive a link to the survey in January.

Employers are also encouraged to share inspiring stories of adult students within their organization who overcame or are overcoming barriers to pursuing their educational goals. Do you have an inspiring story? Contact Melanie D’Evelyn at mdevelyn@detroitchamber.com.

Overview Of 2018 MICHauto Summit: Explore Your Automobility Future

October 18, 2018

Michigan Business Network

Chris Holman welcomes Glenn Stevens, Executive Director, MICHauto; Vice President, Automotive and Mobility Initiatives, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, Detroit, MI. Glenn gives a recap of the 2018 MICHauto Summit: Explore Your Automobility Future.

MICHauto’s signature event offers automotive industry leaders, students and interns the unique opportunity to connect and help explore future career opportunities directly from leaders working in the industry. Conversations and topics will explore the future of the automotive, mobility and technology fields and how the industry is rapidly changing from decades past.

Glenn joins Chris for a recap below, so just click play, thanks.

View the original article here

Detroit Chamber Backs Whitmer

October 18, 2018


Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer picked up her first major business endorsement Wednesday when the Detroit Regional Chamber political action committee said she had a better record and a better plan on issues important to its members.

The communications chief for Ms. Whitmer crowed on Facebook after the endorsement that Ms. Whitmer had been endorsed by the Detroit Chamber and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). “Let that sink in,” said Zack Pohl.

In a statement, Ms. Whitmer said she was, “so proud to have this endorsement because we need a governor who can bring both parties together to solve problems and get things done for the people of Michigan. I’ve got real plans to help our business grow and attract talent to Michigan by fixing our roads and infrastructure, making health care more affordable and ensuring every Michigander has a path to a high wage skill.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Bill Schuette had run the table so far on business endorsements, winning the backing of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Grand Rapids Regional Chamber, the Small Business Association, the Michigan Manufacturers Association, Business Leaders of Michigan, National Federation of Independent Business-Michigan and others.

Brad Williams with the Detroit Chamber said the endorsement had to be approved by two-thirds of the PAC board so that it showed a true consensus. The last time the chamber endorsed a Democrat for governor was in 1990 when it endorsed then Governor James Blanchard (who, of course, lost a tight election to then-Sen. John Engler). The chamber did not endorse for governor in the 2002 and 2006 elections and endorsed Mr. Engler in 1994 and 1998 and Governor Rick Snyder in his two elections.

Mr. Williams said Ms. Whitmer had shown she could reach across the aisle and work on a bipartisan basis, which the chamber is counting on in ensuring the Gordie Howe International Bridge is completed and that a major effort is undertaken on road improvement.

He said Ms. Whitmer had shown bipartisan ability in working on getting support for the Howe Bridge, on securing the Grand Bargain to help Detroit work through its bankruptcy filing and on winning passage of the Healthy Michigan Medicaid expansion.

Mr. Williams emphasized several times Ms. Whitmer’s commitment to getting the new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, built. Asked if the chamber was not confident Mr. Schuette would also work to seeing the bridge completed, Mr. Williams said Mr. Schuette said he wanted to see “multiple bridges” across the Detroit River, which was “an acceptable opinion.”

But, Mr. Williams said, the “first thing is to get a modern bridge built with a modern customs plaza” at the point where it would best take advantage of the Detroit area freeways.

Once the Gordie Howe Bridge is built then the chamber could support building a new span for the Ambassador Bridge – the family owning the Ambassador Bridge (which still has not stopped its opposition to the Howe Bridge) has gotten clearance from Canada to build a new span so long as it demolishes the old bridge once the new one is complete – Mr. Williams said.

But, “only the Gordie Howe satisfies the need” for businesses in the region, he said.
Asked about Ms. Whitmer’s vote against Mr. Snyder’s plan to replace the Michigan Business Tax with the Corporate Income Tax in 2011 (which the chamber supported), Mr. Williams said there were several issues in context with the tax proposal including the large budget cuts and the offsetting tax on pension income which could have influenced decisions on the tax vote.

And Mr. Williams said, “This endorsement was about Sen. Whitmer, not about Attorney General Schuette who has served the state honorably for the last 34, 35 years. He is certainly qualified to be governor. We made a decision based on who would be the best candidate for governor.”

A spokesperson for Mr. Schuette said he had been endorsed by most business groups because he is the “{best hope for continuing growth” that followed tax cuts enacted after policies Ms. Whitmer supported.
The Schuette campaign also on social media repeatedly posted the long list of business endorsements it had received.

CONGRESSIONAL RACES: The chamber, with one exception, backed incumbents in the 11 races where it weighed in.

In the competitive races, the chamber backed U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) in the 8th District but stayed out of the 11th District.

“Mike Bishop has been representing the people of Michigan honorably for decades,” Mr. Williams said in a statement. “His service in Congress has been exemplary and the Chamber encourages voters to return him to Washington to continue his leadership on smart taxation and regulation, protecting the Great Lakes, and lowering the costs of college education.”

“Throughout my time in public service I have been proud to work with the Detroit Regional Chamber to move our economy forward and support our community,” Mr. Bishop said in a statement. “I am honored to once again earn the support of more than the (two-thirds) of the men and women of the Chamber PAC board required to earn this endorsement, and I am ready to continue to work with them toward a brighter for future for our region.”

Elissa Slotkin campaign spokesperson Laura Epstein said the lack of endorsement did not speak to her commitment to business.
“Elissa Slotkin is proud to have the support of local leaders and community groups, including Democrats and Republicans, and if elected, she will work hard in Congress on behalf of all Michigan small-business owners,” Ms. Epstein said.

Mr. Williams said the chamber stayed out of the competitive 11th District race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. David Trott (R-Birmingham) because it had not endorsed Republican Lena Epstein or Democrat Haley Stevens in the primary and did not have the two-thirds majority of its board to back either for the general.

In the 7th District, where Democrats have been gunning for U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) but where Democrat Gretchen Driskell has an uphill battle, the chamber backed Mr. Walberg.

“Rep. Walberg’s position on both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Education and Workforce Committee, have allowed him to have a laser focus on the issues most pressing to business in our region,” Mr. Williams said.

In the other open seats, the chamber backed Andy Levin to succeed his father, retiring U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak), but stayed out of the 13th District, where Rashida Tlaib has an open path to replace resigned U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr.

In the rest of the seats, the chamber endorsed U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet), U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland), U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Midland), U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint), U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell(R-Dryden Township), U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield).

The chamber made no endorsement in the 3rd District where U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Township) is seeking re-election.

OTHER ENDORSEMENTS: The Detroit Chamber also announced it was endorsing House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt Township) for attorney general, saying he had consistently worked to put away criminals and to ensure an environment for growth.

The chamber also announced it was endorsing both Republican-nominated candidates for the Supreme Court, Justice Elizabeth Clement and Justice Kurtis Wilder, saying it was critical that jurists who know the rule of law “prevail” to ensure stability and “common sense justice that allows our economy to thrive.”

The chamber did not reach a decision on an endorsement for the secretary of state position sought by Democrat Jocelyn Benson and Republican Mary Treder Lang.

View Original Article Here

Intellectual Property Attorney Joseph Pytel, Jr. Joins Dickinson Wright’s Troy Office

TROY, Mich., October 18, 2018 – Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Attorney Joseph J. Pytel, Jr. has joined the firm’s Troy office as Of Counsel.

Mr. Pytel concentrates his practice on providing strategic counseling on intellectual property matters and preparing and prosecuting patent applications in the electrical, computer hardware and software, and mechanical arts. He has more than 15 years of industry experience supporting a major automotive company while at Electronic Data Systems and Hewlett Packard holding roles including project software engineer, engineering project manager, and global ITIL process owner for Change and Release Management.

Mr. Pytel is the Secretary for the Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the American Intellectual Property Law Association. He is recognized as a leader in his field by Michigan Super Lawyers “Rising Stars”.

Mr. Pytel received his B.S. in computer engineering from GMI Engineering and Management Institute; his M.S. in manufacturing management from Kettering University; his M.S. in operations management from Kettering University; and his J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 475 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has 19 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 12 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville and Music Row, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management controls and security processes for our commercial transactions. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.