Walsh College Presents ‘The MBA Experience’ on Feb. 7 and March 14

Walsh College will present “The MBA Experience,” an engaging and insightful event providing students with an opportunity to experience its highly regarded Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program.

There are two upcoming sessions, from 6 to 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Troy campus and from 6 to 7 p.m. March 14 at the Novi campus.

Scott Wyckoff, the student outreach coordinator/admissions and academic advisor at Walsh College, will host the events.

Session topics include:

> Developing strategic insight and judgment
> Structuring your thinking
> Developing leadership and managerial skills
> Networking with faculty and peers while learning the importance of teamwork
> Taking action on ideas, problem-solving methods, and experiences shared in the classroom

The Walsh College MBA program enhances the ability to incorporate opportunistic decision-making and systematic approaches in solving complex problems. Students develop a framework for thinking and making decisions in today’s fast-paced business environment.

The Walsh College Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is available to students 100 percent online, in addition to the current “2+2” format that combines classroom instruction with online study.

“The Walsh College MBA program prepares students for leadership positions in all facets of business,” said Michael A. Rinkus, interim executive vice president and chief academic officer, Walsh College. “The College’s reputation of being a leader in business education is well-earned. Employers value what Walsh has to offer, and our MBA students leave the program with a complete understanding of complex business practices, as well as the confidence and skill to make sound decisions.”

The MBA prepares graduates for positions in mid- to upper-level management by providing a broad, general education in major areas of business study. Walsh College has graduated more than 3,300 MBA students since introducing its program in 1998.

Walsh College does not require a GMAT for admission into the MBA program. Spring registration begins February 13.

Visit the MBA Experience for more information or to register. Seating is limited.

Walsh College Establishes an Endowed Scholarship in Honor of Outgoing President and CEO Stephanie Bergeron

When Walsh College President and CEO Stephanie Bergeron retires from her position at the College in April, she will leave behind a legacy of leadership, integrity, and devotion to the students, alumni, faculty, and staff at the College.

Her sharp business acumen, and her ability to implement current educational needs and anticipate future employment trends has guided the College’s mission since she assumed the role of president in January of 2007.

To pay tribute to all Bergeron has accomplished during her tenure, College trustees, foundation directors, alumni, and other friends of the College have established the Stephanie W. Bergeron Endowed Scholarship. The initial gift that created the scholarship and propelled the tribute campaign was from College trustee William C. Roney and his wife, Joanne.

Unlike most endowed scholarships, which traditionally place specifications on eligibility, such as a particular field of study, this scholarship will be awarded at the College president’s discretion — wherever the need is the greatest. Initial contributions to the scholarship exceed $200,000. The hope is to continually grow the endowment through future contributions in an effort to help more deserving business students fulfill their educational aspirations.

“Stephanie’s tenure at Walsh College is marked by her sincere and total dedication to students,” said Audrey Olmstead, Walsh College vice president and chief development officer. “There truly is no better way to honor Stephanie for all that she has done for the College and the community than to contribute to the scholarship that will benefit deserving students in perpetuity.”

The scholarship fund will be managed by the board of trustees of the College in accordance with the College’s investment and disbursement policies.

Bergeron has presided over a host of major initiatives during her Walsh tenure, including the opening of the Jeffery W. Barry Center in 2008; the introduction of the dual degree program with the MBA/Master of Science in Finance (2009); the Take Charge skills-training workshop program for displaced workers offered during the recession (2009-10); the Walsh College LaunchPad for aspiring student and alumni entrepreneurs (2010); Entrepreneur-YOU, a program providing local women with tools and knowledge for entrepreneurship (2012); the Driving Aspirations campaign, which raised more than $5 million for scholarships (2012); the addition of an award-winning Finance Lab at the College (2013); the implementation of three additional dual degrees, the MBA/MSM, the MBA/MSMKT, and the MBA/MSITL (2014); and the completion of a $15 million renovation of the Troy campus that includes the Executive Success Center and a state-of-the-art Cyber Lab (2016).

Bergeron has also personally contributed to Walsh College’s success with the creation of a conference room in the faculty area, a green roof in the new construction at the Troy campus, and by creating an endowed scholarship named for her mother.

For more on the Stephanie W. Bergeron Endowed Scholarship, visit www.walshcollege.edu/scholarships.

Certificate of Integrated Operations Management at Davenport University


Friday, March 3, 2017 is the deadline to get the early-bird price on Davenport University’s Certificate of Integrated Operations Management, a new 12-week program designed to provide knowledge and skills equivalent to what you would learn in 3 college courses!

The Certificate of Integrated Operations Management doesn’t just teach you concepts and wish you well in applying them. Real-world application is built into this unique program that follows an interdisciplinary approach – incorporating operations, project, and quality management – for managing effective business operations.

The course concludes with the development of an employer-driven operations improvement plan that can be applied immediately to improve advanced operational performance in your organization.

Davenport University
45 Ottawa Avenue NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Dates & Time:
March 31 – June 23, 2017 | Fridays, 8 am – 4 pm

Visit www.davenport.edu/CIOM for more information or to register for this certificate program.

For more information:
Email or call Bethany DeVine. Professional Development Representative, IPEx
Bethany.DeVine@davenport.edu and (616) 233-2589

UHY Advisors Appoints Six New Managing Directors, Two from Michigan Practice

UHY Advisors, Inc. (“UHY Advisors”), one of the nation’s fastest growing professional services firms, announces the appointment of six new managing directors: Cynthia Hannafey, Stacey Massa, Pamela May, Keith Moore, Marian Shaw and Paul Truber. May and Moore are both from the Michigan practice.

“We are very excited to welcome these outstanding individuals as our newest managing directors. They epitomize the opportunity we present to all of our employees to take their career to the next level- both from a technical and quality perspective,” said Anthony Frabotta, UHY Advisors’ chief executive officer and chairman of the board. “In addition, the fact that a significant portion of our newest leaders are participants in our WISE initiative (Women Invested in Success and Excellence) is a trend that is likely to continue. UHY’s ongoing growth demands that we continue to lead and build not only the WISE group, but create opportunities for all of our associates.”

Richard David, chief operating officer of UHY Advisors, adds: “We are excited to see the ranks of our managing directors expand through the addition of these talented professionals. They have proven their commitment to quality client service and have impeccable technical and business skills. These future leaders are to be congratulated on reaching this significant career milestone.”

Pamela May is a managing director of UHY Advisors MI, Inc. and partner of UHY LLP. Ms. May is responsible for delivering tax and attest services to a diverse client base in the manufacturing, real estate, wholesale distribution and professional service industries. She has extensive knowledge in corporate and partnership tax planning, compliance and research. Ms. May advises clients on how to maximize profit and limit taxes through proper planning. She received her B.A. in Accounting and an M.S. in Taxation from Walsh College, and is a licensed CPA in the state of Michigan. Ms. May serves as a finance committee chairman for the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce, Macomb County Foundation and Macomb County Advocacy for Business. She has been with the firm and its predecessors since 1997.

Keith Moore is a managing director of UHY Advisors MI, Inc., partner of UHY LLP and leading member of the firm’s industry group servicing petroleum marketers. He assists companies with developing and implementing strategic plans to improve operations, protect assets and increase profitability. Mr. Moore has consulted on numerous business transactions providing buy side and sell side advisory, business expansion transactions, due diligence, financial analysis, profitability and cost cutting analysis, tax strategies, IRS and state tax audits, and financing. He received his B.S. in Accounting from Wayne State University and is a licensed CPA in the states of Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan. He is also a British Standards Institute ISO/QS9000 Certified Auditor. Mr. Moore has been with the firm and its predecessors since 1990.

Additionally, UHY Advisors’ Michigan practice announced the promotions of 52 employees, including four principals: John Gallo, Steven Katzman, Loni Winkler and Patrick Wojcinski.

The firm’s Michigan practice is the fifth largest accounting firm in southeast Michigan with over 350 employees and has the largest accounting firm presence in Macomb County.

About UHY Advisors
UHY Advisors provides tax and advisory services to entrepreneurial and other organizations, principally those enterprises in the dynamic middle market. UHY LLP, a licensed CPA firm, provides audit and other attest services to publicly traded, privately owned and nonprofit organizations in a number of industry sectors. UHY Advisors, operating in an alternative practice structure with UHY LLP, forms one of the largest professional services firms in the US. While that scale might provide confidence for some clients, others tell us our greatest value is the way we bring these resources to bear to help address today’s evolving business challenges. It’s a philosophy we call “The Next Level of Service”. To learn more visit www.uhy-us.com.

All of the above entities are members of Urbach Hacker Young International Limited (“UHYI”), a worldwide network of independent professional services firms that provide audit, tax and advisory services around the globe. UHYI is ranked among the top international accountancy networks and a proud member in good standing of the Forum of Firms. Collectively, the US operating entities (UHY Advisors and UHY LLP) are the largest independent members of UHYI with significant participation, bringing the power of the international network to serve the individualized needs of US clients.

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

Wanted: More skilled workers in Michigan, say Gov. Rick Snyder and others


By Julie Mack

January 18, 2017

LANSING, MI — Michigan’s recent job growth has created a new problem: Finding qualified workers to fill those positions.

It’s a topic raised by Gov. Rick Snyder and other state officials Tuesday night, as Snyder gave his seventh annual state of the state address.

“We went from having jobs leaving the state to now they are coming back,” said Roger Curtis, director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development. “It creates new issues. They are good issues, but they are still issues. The need is now.”

In fact, there are “thousands and thousands” of jobs that need to be filled, Curtis said. “I looked on our website this morning and there were 90,000 job openings listed.”

Those openings run the gamut from jobs in the skilled trades, to engineers, to work in agriculture, to police officers.

In Tuesday’s address, Snyder spoke at length about education and job-training, and how that is tied to the state’s continued economic recovery.

In particular, Snyder spoke of continued and increased investment in community colleges and skilled trades apprenticeship programs.

No question, encouraging Michigan children and young adults to pursue post-secondary education — as well as funding those programs — are key to Michigan’s future success, said Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

“We can’t take our foot off the gas just because we have lower unemployment,” Williams said. “We could easily go back to the dark days of the recession.”

Among the ways to build the state’s skilled workforce, officials said Tuesday:

  • Encourage people to move to Michigan, and “put them to work,” Snyder said. The governor set the goal of having Michigan grow its population to at least 10 million residents by 2020. The last time Michigan’s population exceeded 10 million was 2008. The most recent estimate pegs the state population at 9,922,576.
  • Encourage immigration. Immigrants — from engineers to migrant workers — play a critical role in the state’s workforce, Curtis said. Asked about potential curbs on immigration by President-Elect Donald Trump, Curtis said: “I think everyone is a little worried right now about what President Trump is going to do.”
  • Encourage Michigan college graduates to stay in Michigan. “We do a lot of things in the state that drive away our young people. I’m the mother of three millennials,” said House Democratic Floor Leader Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills. So what do they want? Mass transportation, welcoming communities and vibrant downtowns, she said.
  • Improve education outcomes among Michigan children and young adults. Snyder spoke Tuesday of the need to prepare K-12 students for post-secondary education.
  • Encourage students to pursue careers in fields where the need is the greatest, such as engineering and skilled trades. “There are a lot of preconceived notions about skilled trades” that underestimate the pay and skill level need for those jobs, Curtis said.
  • Fund vocational and other post-secondary programs to encourage enrollment. Williams said his organization is especially enthuisiastic about vocational programs at community colleges that are targeted for jobs at specific companies.

Ideally, 60 to 65 percent of Michigan high school graduates should be completing a post-secondary program, Michigan State Superintendent Brian Whiston said. Currently, about 37 percent of Michigan adults age 25 and older have at least an associate’s degree.

“I like the plan where everybody gets the first two years of college for free,” through a community college, Whiston said.

In fact, such programs are available now in many K-12 districts, which are collaborating with community colleges to allow teenagers to stay on for a fifth year of high school and graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

But getting students to college also means improving outcomes for underachievers, and that could mean revamping the way Michigan funds K-12 education, Whistler said.

While Snyder noted Tuesday that funding for Michigan’s K-12 education is at an all-time high, Whiston — who is appointed by the Michigan State Board of Education, an elected body — said more money is needed.

Whiston pointed to a 2016 study by consultants hired by the state that concluded “notably successful” school districts spent an average of $8,667 per student in 2013-14. The state’s minimum per-pupil foundation grant is $7,511 for 2016-17.

“We’re below the ($8,667) figure by a considerable amount,” Whiston said.

He also said the current funding formula puts schools serving high-poverty populations at a disadvantage.

“Poverty counts,” he said. “For awhile, there was the feeling everybody should get the same amount. But we’re come to realize that maybe that shouldn’t be the case. Some kids, like English-language learners, are more expensive to educate.

“It’s a different way of looking at funding,” Whisten said. “I think we’re getting there.”

View the original article here: http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/01/wanted_more_skilled_workers_sa.html#incart_river_home

Four National Speakers Added to 2017 Conference Lineup

Hear from four national speakers that will take Michigan’s Center Stage during the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference. This year’s Conference will drive statewide dialogue centered around the key pillars of: restoring civility in American politics, winning the race in connected technology and increasing economic opportunity to move Michigan forward.

Michael Beschloss
Michael Beschloss
Best-selling Author, “Presidential Courage”; Presidential HistorianIn an effort to restore civility in American politics, presidential historian Michael Beschloss will give a behind-the-scenes look at leadership styles of past presidents and share insight on President-elect Donald Trump following his first few months in office.
Geoff Colvin
Geoff Colvin
Senior Editor-at-Large, Fortune MagazineAs Michigan capitalizes on its position as a leader in next-generation mobility, Geoff Colvin will talk about the importance of leading ahead of what’s next to think beyond the “connected car” to the connectivity of all things and big data.
Wes Moore
Wes Moore
Founder and CEO, BridgeEDU;
Best-selling Author, “The Work”U.S. veteran, acclaimed author and youth advocate, Wes Moore, will share how the transformative power of education along with other economic inclusion strategies can shrink the opportunity gap and enhance the quality of life for all Michiganders. This keynote is sponsored by PNC Bank.
Julie Winokur
Julie Winokur
Executive Director, Talking Eyes MediaFilmmaker Julie Winokur will encourage attendees to stop bickering about politics and pull up a chair to the table to make politics an acceptable topic for dinner conversation again. Winokur’s movement and documentary, “Bring It to the Table,” aims to bridge political divides and break down partisanship.

View the full Conference speaker lineup, including CNN’s Stephanie Cutter, Aspen Institute’s Walter Isaacson and MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, by visiting mpc.detroitchamber.com.

Brown & Brown of Detroit Sales Leader has established Endowed Scholarship

We are proud to announce that Brian Pilarski, sales leader and commercial insurance agent at Brown & Brown of Detroit, has established an endowed scholarship fund at Walsh College.

Pilarski has recently established the Brian M. Pilarski Endowed Scholarship, which will be eligible to be awarded beginning in September of 2020. This fund will help deserving graduate students complete their degrees from Walsh College. Brian’s generous gift has helped Walsh get closer to achieving their goal of reaching $12 million in endowed funds by 2020.

Pilarski was driven to establish the scholarship because he desires to give back to the Walsh community, stating “Giving future leaders the help they need is a critical component of growing the business community. Many people have helped me along in my career and I have a responsibility to help others.”

Pilarski graduated from Walsh College in 2007 with his Master of Science in Management degree. He served two consecutive terms as president of Walsh College Alumni Association. He continues to sit on the Foundation Board, and served as its youngest director. Pilarski has received several awards from Walsh, including “Distinguished Graduate of the Last Decade” and “Association of Fundraising Professionals Distinguished Volunteer.”

Brown & Brown of Detroit is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brown & Brown Insurance, the sixth largest insurance intermediary in the United States. Located in Sterling Heights, this office is the largest independent insurance agency in Macomb County.

Author Michael Beschloss among 4 new speakers for Mackinac Policy Conference

Crain’s Detroit Business

By Annalise Frank

January 18, 2017

Author and presidential historian Michael Beschloss will offer insight on presidential leadership styles and President-elect Donald Trump’s first few months in office at this spring’s Mackinac Policy Conference.

An announcement by the Detroit Regional Chamber on Wednesday also included

Other speakers added to the lineup are Geoff Colvin, senior editor-at-large for Fortune Magazine, who will discuss connectivity in the evolving field of transportation; Wes Moore, founder and CEO of BridgeEDU; and Julie Winokur, executive director of Talking Eyes Media.

The chamber’s goal for the annual conference is to start conversations on restoring civility in American politics, winning the race in connected technology and moving Michigan toward a better economic future.

Previously announced speakers include Stephanie Cutter, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama and political commentator on CNN; and Nicolle Wallace, a former White House communications director and conservative political analyst on MSNBC. Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, is to give a talk on disruption and collaboration as Michigan looks to grow economic opportunities.

Several key speakers have yet to be announced, said Tiffany Jones, the chamber’s director of communications.

The event runs May 30 to June 2 on Mackinac Island.

View the original article here: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20170118/NEWS/170119818/author-michael-beschloss-among-4-new-speakers-for-mackinac-policy

Brooks Kushman Further Expands Los Angeles Office; Hires Sean Casey As Shareholder

Brooks Kushman is pleased to announce the addition of Shareholder Sean Casey to the firm’s Los Angeles office. The move further expands the firm’s presence in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County area.

Casey brings over 20 years of experience to the firm’s Los Angeles office. His intellectual property experience includes the preparation, prosecution, and litigation of technologies that include advanced aerospace technologies, complex computer hardware and software systems and components.

“Sean has an incredible amount of experience in managing global patent portfolios and strengthens our prosecution group,” said Mark Cantor, president of Brooks Kushman. “As a previous in-house counsel for a major aerospace manufacturer, he will be a tremendous asset to our firm. I am excited to welcome him to our team as we continue to grow our presence in the Los Angeles area.”

Prior to joining Brooks Kushman, Casey was an in-house IP counsel for Boeing, where he focused on managing a large patent portfolio. Prior to going in-house, he was a managing director for a Midwest regional law firm. He also served as an aerospace design engineer for the McDonnell Douglas Aerospace Space and Defense Systems Division (now Boeing) where he was responsible for the design, analysis, integration, and testing of a variety of components and mechanisms for national and defense engineering projects.

“I am thrilled to join the Brooks Kushman team,” said Casey. “The firm is very well-respected throughout the nation and they have a robust group of talented patent professionals.”

Casey received a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude in aerospace engineering from the Boston University College of Engineering and his Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles.

About Brooks Kushman P.C.

Brooks Kushman P.C. is a leading intellectual property (IP) and technology law firm with offices across the nation, and represents clients nationally and internationally with respect to protection, enforcement and monetization of IP, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. The firm has more than 90 intellectual property professionals specializing in various technical disciplines, and has a reputation for providing leading IP counseling with a focus on the business objectives of their clients.

Brooks Kushman counts a number of Fortune 100 companies across a variety of industries among its clients. The firm is also recognized by leading legal publications and rankings, including Corporate Counsel magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Law360, Intellectual Asset Management, Managing Intellectual Property, and Intellectual Property Today.

For more information, please visit www.BrooksKushman.com.

Snyder pushes to amp up investments in state infrastructure

Crain’s Detroit Business 

By Lindsay Vanhulle 

January 17, 2017

Gov. Rick Snyder called for major new state investment in maintaining sewers, water systems and other public works in his State of the State address, citing failures including the Flint water crisis and the Fraser sinkhole.

The call came during a speech that heartily touted numerous successes — declining unemployment, more private-sector job creation, large companies like Google and Amazon setting up shop in Detroit and its suburbs. Snyder also pushed a goal to boost the state’s population above 10 million by the 2020 census.

He said the first step toward improving the condition of Michigan’s roads, bridges and drinking water is to keep track of the state’s infrastructure systems and proposed creating a central database that can act as a clearinghouse to help state and local governments and utilities better plan for repairs.

The database, known as an asset management system, was among the recommendations put forth last month in a report by task force appointed by Snyder to identify Michigan’s infrastructure priorities. The group was created in response to the lead-poisoning crisis in Flint’s drinking water.

The crisis in Flint — and the real infrastructure challenges across the state that it raised — will remain a priority in the coming year. More recently, a sinkhole opened up in Fraser due to a leaking underground sewer line.

“We’re at risk in every corner of Michigan” for failed infrastructure, Snyder said during the speech, delivered to a joint session of the Legislature at the Capitol. “We know this is a huge challenge.”

He called the Flint emergency a “sad chapter in the history of our state,” pledging to continue working to end the lead emergency.

A year ago, Snyder used his State of the State address to apologize for the crisis in Flint and ask lawmakers for millions of dollars in state aid. He also said he would release two years’ worth of emails related to Flint, which was an unusual step considering the governor’s office is exempt from state open records laws.

A package of bills that would have opened up the governor’s office and the Legislature to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act failed to get out of the legislative term that ended in December. Democratic lawmakers continue to call for increased transparency as the Flint crisis heads into another year.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, recently introduced a bill in Congress that would require states to strengthen their ethics and transparency laws to at least match what is required at the federal level or risk losing the ability to manage some federal programs. The bill would require annual financial disclosures from legislators, among other things.

Kildee, who is considering running for governor himself in 2018, told reporters in Lansing on Tuesday that he believes the sense of urgency that underscored Snyder’s speech last year has diminished.

“I would ask the governor to return to that moment where it felt as if this was his top priority, a year ago today,” Kildee said. “I’m asking him to step up and do what he promised: Fix it. Go to the Legislature, provide those additional resources so that Flint really does receive this form of justice — the kind of justice that comes in the form of having it made right by the people who did this to them.”

Congress in December approved $170 million for Flint. The state has allocated more than $234 million toward the water crisis, which was caused by a decision to switch drinking water sources while the city was under state oversight.

Kildee said he wants Snyder to take the lead on ensuring Flint has the necessary resources to replace lead pipes and improve the city’s water infrastructure and prepare for long-term economic and health problems for the city’s kids who have been exposed to lead.

Snyder’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission found that Michigan would need to spend close to $4 billion more per year just to fix the infrastructure systems it has. Groups from the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association to Business Leaders for Michigan have said more funding will be needed if the state plans to fix problems with transportation, water systems, energy transmission and communications networks.

A database that could track infrastructure assets would be a logical place to start, Snyder said. The commission found that the state lacks coordinated planning between Lansing, municipal governments and utilities. The problem with that, in practical terms, means a single road might be torn up twice — first, to fix the surface, and later, to repair an underground utility line.

A bill has been introduced in the House to create a statewide infrastructure council, which could manage the database and set a long-term strategy. That bill could prompt “a robust conversation about how best to do this,” said Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. “Flint was a wake-up call. Fraser was a wake-up call. It’s time for us to think more broadly.”

Funding will be a challenge. A $1.2 billion road-funding package adopted in 2015 will result in increased general fund pressure in coming years as up to $600 million in revenue is diverted to roads. The first $150 million will be set aside starting in the 2019 fiscal year. And the Republican-controlled state Legislature is floating proposals to reduce the state’s income tax — with the goal of eliminating it — though it’s not clear what revenue would replace it.

House Democratic Leader Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, told reporters Democrats are willing to consider ways to reverse the state’s underinvestment in infrastructure, though “it can’t be a half-measure.” Singh said any attempt to address infrastructure will need to also involve municipal governments, which have struggled with cuts to state revenue sharing.

Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, said the state will have to look at ways to pay for existing repairs and also infrastructure systems that will be needed in a decade or more. That could mean considering public-private partnerships and, possibly, long-term infrastructure bonds while interest rates remain low.

A focus on jobs

Much of Snyder’s address Tuesday focused on job creation and talent. He called for expanding a new residential vocational training program at more state prisons, creating new apprenticeship opportunities and funding a program that could help K-12 school districts purchase equipment for skilled trades training, similar to a program in 2015 for community colleges.

He advocated for more career counseling in high schools and expanding a job program that currently helps long-term unemployed residents in four cities.

And Snyder wants Michigan to continue to lead in the burgeoning mobility sector, including leveraging the state’s automotive prowess with the development of connected and driverless cars.

Among some of the state’s recent work: MDOT has installed sensors along freeways in Southeast Michigan that can communicate with technology inside vehicles, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. plans to help connect the tech industry in Silicon Valley with automakers in Michigan.

Snyder also signed legislation that will allow autonomous vehicles to drive on public roads at any time, not only while being tested, which proponents say will expand their development in Michigan. The state is home to Mcity, a 32-acre test site at the University of Michigan, and the planned $80 million American Center for Mobility at Willow Run in Ypsilanti Township.

Steudle said the state is waiting to hear whether the American Center for Mobility could earn a federal designation as a driverless car proving ground. The project already has named its first corporate funding partner in AT&T, which will be the facility’s sole cell network provider through 2020.

“This is an area we can not afford to slow down in,” Snyder said. “We are the world’s leader today. We need to continue to be the world’s leader.”

Pension liabilities

Snyder said he plans to establish a work group to address municipal unfunded retiree liabilities, for both pensions and health care, that would include legislative leaders, local governments and public employee unions.

Republicans in the House dropped an effort at the end of the last legislative session to address the billions of dollars in unfunded retiree obligations, though they have said the issue remains a priority.

“It was great to hear the governor address unfunded liabilities tonight, as this is the most pressing issue facing our state,” said James Freed, city manager in Port Huron. “If left unaddressed, it will debilitate our ability to deliver core services in communities across the state.”

Yet Democratic legislators said the problem can’t be solved without also addressing municipal finance and revenue sharing.

Communities won’t be able to contribute more toward their liabilities if they are limited in how much revenue they can collect, Singh said.

“You have to deal with this in a comprehensive way,” he said.

View the original article here: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20170117/NEWS/170119837/snyder-pushes-to-amp-up-investments-in-state-infrastructure?X-IgnoreUserAgent=1