CNBC’s Ron Insana Talks the Future of Technology and the Economy

Senior Analyst for CNBC and Financial Industry Expert Ron Insana kicked off the State of the Region with a keynote with insights from his career journey and predictions of where the nation’s economy is headed. WDIV-TV 4 Anchor Devin Scillian discussed with Insana implications of the trade war with China on the U.S. and Michigan, along with how new technology is shaping American culture and the future of its workforce.

When discussing effects of the trade war on both the national economy and Michigan, Insana said that while he disagrees with the current administration’s tactics, he doesn’t disagree on what the Trump administration is fighting about. If the trade war had not taken place, Michigan’s economy would have experienced more growth, he said.

When Scillian asked Insana about the revitalization of Detroit, he was optimistic.

“This town has gone through some kind of renaissance,” said Insana. “Many towns that have been successful in reorienting have had a renaissance. The cost of living is less, and you can make decent amounts of money.”

Insana discussed the debate between whether more jobs will be destroyed or more created that simply have not been thought of in the coming years. Artificial intelligence (AI) may replace many jobs in the future, he said. Insana noted that the biggest public policy failure is failing to address the needs of those that have been left behind in the changing workforce.

Watch: Ron Insana’s interview with Devin Scillian

Goodman Mucha joins firm’s Healthcare Industry Group

Karen Goodman Mucha recently joined the Healthcare Industry Group of Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest law firms.

“It’s great to have Karen on board as a member of our healthcare team,” said Mark S. Kopson, Plunkett Cooney’s Healthcare Industry Group Leader. “She’s an exceptionally skilled attorney, and her diverse in-house counsel experience will be of tremendous benefit to our clients.”

An of counsel attorney in the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office, Goodman Mucha focuses her practice primarily in the area of healthcare law. She has extensive experience drafting commercial and governmental managed care contracts; managing complex health care and employment litigation; handling health care transactions for a variety of providers; ensuring Medicare and regulatory compliance for health care providers with a particular focus on home health and hospice providers; and reviewing, drafting and revising health system vendor agreements, including those for information technology.

Goodman Mucha has over 30 years of experience as in-house counsel for a home health and hospice provider, physician organizations, medical centers and managed care organizations. She has handled a variety of industry-related issues, including compliance and code of conduct programs, fraud and abuse, HIPAA, patient care issues, and agreement disputes with professional service, educational affiliation, system-wide vendor and vendor procurement and payors.

Goodman Mucha received her master’s degree from the Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University in 1986. She received her law degree from Wayne State University Law School in 1983 and her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980. Goodman Mucha is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Health Care Compliance Association, from which she earned a Certificate in Health Care Compliance.

Plunkett Cooney’s Healthcare Industry Group was formed to meet the unique needs of clients in the increasingly complex business of healthcare. Using a multi-specialty approach, the firm’s attorneys solve and work to prevent problems on behalf of all types of healthcare providers, payors and health-related businesses. The firm’s clients include physicians and physician networks, single- and multi-specialty professional practices, physician-hospital organizations, integrated delivery networks, pharmacies, ambulatory surgery centers, long-term care facilities and many others.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of business and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm employs approximately 140 attorneys in seven Michigan cities, Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. Plunkett Cooney has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms. The firm was also selected by Crain’s Detroit Business as its inaugural Law Firm of the Year.

For more information about Karen Goodman Mucha joining Plunkett Cooney, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008;

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2019-2020 State of the Region Report Shows Economy Growth Slowing

For the past six years, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual State of the Region report has benchmarked the economic health of the region against national peer metro regions, documenting its growth and areas of improvement post-recession. While previous years have shown steady growth, this year’s report finds that growth is slowing in some areas including exports, foreign direct investment, and unemployment rates.

Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah presented the State of the Region report to more than 350 attendees at Ford Field, detailing how while the regional economy continues to grow along with per capita income, jobs, and median home values – other key measurements such as exports, housing permits, and foreign direct investments have decreased slightly.

“There are more and more metrics where we’re not quite doing as well as we used to,” said Baruah. Unemployment, which has steadily decreased since the recession, has “ticked up slightly,” he noted.

Here are the key takeaways from the report:

  • Growth continues for private sector jobs in the region.
  • Detroit regional population increased slightly in 2018.
  • Median home values have grown 32% since 2014.
  • Detroit region ranks lowest in labor force participation.
  • Michigan’s foreign direct investments dropped to $1 billion in 2018.
  • Office vacancy rates fall below the national rate two years in a row.
  • Despite declining, Detroit still holds the highest poverty rate among peers.
  • Median household income rose 15.3% since 2014.

Along with these benchmarks, Baruah also noted the Chamber’s efforts in addressing opportunities for improvement mentioned in the report.

“Our overall goal as a region needs to be that our region is educated, employed, healthy, and able to win in the 21st century economy,” said Baruah.

Baruah debuted the Chamber’s initiative, the Michigan 2030 Plan, a long-term mission and policy roadmap to outline the next ten years.

“The challenges in the next decade might actually be more complicated than the decade that just passed,” said Baruah.

Read and download the report.

New State of Education Report Details Education and Talent Needs of the Region

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s inaugural State of Education report serves as a call to action that change is needed to improve outcomes for education and talent to guarantee economic prosperity for the region. Chamber Chief Operating Officer Tammy Carnrike presented the report to more than 150 attendees at the new State of the Region session “Detroit 2030: From Education Crisis to Talent Hub.” Here are the key takeaways:

Though disparities in postsecondary outcomes exist between the city and the region, the region as a whole lags behind the nation in key measures

The leaks in the regional talent pipeline, where students are dropping off before earning a degree, exist not at just one stage but are prevalent throughout the pipeline.

With only 47% of regional students who enroll in college persisting to graduate after six years, there is a need to not just enroll students in postsecondary education but to ensure they earn a degree or credential, according to the Michigan Education Data Center.

The Detroit region, more than any of its national peers, must make education attainment a top priority to compete in today’s increasingly complex economy.

According to the U.S. Census American Community Survey One-Year Estimates, there are 694,995 regional adults who have postsecondary experience, but “stopped out” before earning a credential. Reengaging these adult students provides a significant opportunity for increasing education attainment.

In 2017, 36% of college graduates left the state within 12 months of graduating, according to Michigan State University Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. Keeping the educated talent in our state post-graduation will contribute to increasing the population of adults with degrees.

State of Education: Detroit’s Turnaround

Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District, discussed the city’s challenges in improving its schools, naming poor infrastructure and need for support from the business community as some of its challenges. Carnrike discussed with Vitti the district’s achievements in recent years, and its areas for opportunity.

Detroit students lag behind students in surrounding school districts because of economic inequality, said Vitti. Public schools in wealthier districts receive considerably more funding per student, giving them the advantage over Detroit students.

“To educate the average Detroiter takes more funding than educating the average Birmingham student,” Vitti said.

Students also face non-academic relation issues, Vitti explained. He notes that social-economic factors should not be discounted, including food and housing, and that Michigan has been stagnant from a systems policy perspective.

“We have to think about strategies and investments to change that.”

Carnrike asked Vitti on what he considers to be the district’s two-year priority challenges. Vitti named investing in teachers, career opportunities for students, and infrastructure.

“Facilities do matter – our schools are deteriorating,” said Vitti. “By 2023, our buildings would need 1.5 billion dollars. The state does not mark one cent for capital improvement.”

While the district struggles in many areas, it has made strides in recent years. Enrollment has increased for the first time in over a decade, said Vitti. And most students showed improvement individually.

“Our level of improvement outpaced the rest of the state,” said Vitti.

Detroit 2030: From Education Crisis to Talent Hub

Education and Talent’s Crucial Impact on Detroit’s Economic Growth

Last week, during State of the Region’s “Detroit 2030: From Education Crisis to Talent Hub,”  experts discussed the importance of education along with talent attraction and retention in relation to Detroit’s continual progress, and the necessity to train today’s talent for jobs of the future to ensure steady economic growth.

The War for Talent: A Global View with Kelly Services’ George Corona

Over the last decade, the shifting global talent landscape has proven a challenge for businesses as they struggle to keep up with digital disruption, aging workforces, and widening skill gaps.

“The biggest challenge to global growth is having access to talent,” said keynote speaker George Corona, retired president and CEO of Kelly Services, Inc. “If you hope to survive, you’re going to have to change.”

The war for talent is a product of companies, regions, and countries competing for the same talent pool. Businesses must find different ways to approach the workforce, changing social norms, and technology’s influence on the workforce.

Technology’s significant and disruptive impact is changing the skills required to compete in the workforce due to innovations like Artificial Intelligence. By 2022, 133 million new jobs will emerge meaning the global workforce will have to be reskilled to meet those new needs.

“The number one thing Detroit has to do to avoid a slow-growth future is to retain and redeploy workers at scale to meet talent needs of the companies of the future,” Corona said. “Together we have a responsibility to change the course of our future and invest in the talent we have.”

Detroit’s Talent Market: Now vs. the Future

At the local level, starting talent development in K-12 by investing in programs and mentorships dedicated to learning tech skills will help Detroit’s students qualify for jobs of the future, creating opportunities and benefiting the economy.

“Five years from now, ten years from now, those students will be prime candidates to work for us,” said KimArie Yowell, vice president of talent development for Quicken Loans. “We’re competing with Ford, we’re competing with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, so we have to think differently about how we’re doing that.”

Post-secondary attainment is also vital for the future of the region. Companies must tell their legislators how critical investing in talent is for companies in the present and future, said Brandy Johnson, advisor of post-secondary education and workforce development for the State of Michigan.

“We need, as business leaders, to say we’re going to do this,” said Frank Venegas Jr., chairman and CEO of Ideal Group. “We’re creating these opportunities; we’re creating successes all over.”

Detroit Chamber: Southeast Michigan Doing Well, But Lags On Regional Transit

December 6, 2019


Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

The debate continues over the need for a robust and fully funded Regional Transit Authority connecting all Southeast Michigan.

Wayne, Oakland, and Washtenaw counties are all moving forward on that issue together. But Macomb County, which narrowly defeated the last attempt to find regional transit, will sit this round out.

What does that mean for regional cooperation moving forward?

On Thursday, the Detroit Regional Chamber released its annual “State of the Region” report. It shows the region is doing well in many areas. But there is still a lot of work to do, and transit is one of those areas where the region lags far behind other major metropolitan areas in the U.S.

We have a lot of wins to celebrate,” says Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah. “I think if we go back in time ten years ago and if any one of us had predicted that Detroit, the city, the region, and, frankly, the state would be in the position where we are now. I think we would have all said to each other that, ‘No, you’re crazy. We’re not going to make that much progress.’ But we have.”

However, he says, that progress has slowed a bit.

We are not progressing as fast, we’re not making as much progress, in the last two years than we were in the previous three-to-four… (there’s) a little bit of a slow-down,” he says. “We’re still growing, make no mistake. This is still a positive picture. But we’re not growing as fast as our peers in some of the national numbers.”

But he says that transit is an area that must improve to help people and businesses alike.

Our current access to public transit for the citizens of this region is completely inadequate and we need to do better,” says Baruah, who notes that Metro Detroit ranks worst among major metropolitan areas across the country. “We care about this because the best way to make companies that are based in our region, large and small, and the people in our region prosperous is to allow people mobility.”

Baruah notes that it’s harder to build out transit now that federal funding for those projects isn’t as available as it used to be.

Our regional would have been so much better now had we done this in the 1960s and 70s,” he says.

Listen to the discussion here.

Election 2020/Better Made Potato Chips

December 5, 2019

One Detroit

One Detroit kicks off Detroit Public Television’s Election 2020 coverage with a special report from our first community conversation in the city of Warren. Christy gives viewers highlights of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s just released State of the Region report. Plus, One Detroit takes a look at the history of Better Made potato chips.

A New Report About Metro Detroit Is Out. Here Are 3 Takeaways

December 5, 2019

Detroit Free Press

John Gallagher 

The Detroit Regional Chamber released its latest annual State of the Region report Thursday, and I have three takeaways from it.

A rich compendium of facts and figures about the 11-county southeast Michigan region, the full report can be found at the website

Useful as a guide and mirror of where metro Detroit finds itself, the packed report defies easy summary. But back to my top three points:

Economy taking a breather

First, the booming growth enjoyed in southeast Michigan and the state as a whole since the Great Recession has finally cooled a bit. Not dramatically so, nor are we in a new recession. It’s just that the above average growth of recent years cannot be sustained forever.

Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Chamber, acknowledged as much as he briefed the media Wednesday on the new report and emphasized the positive.

“Our regional economy continues to grow,” Baruah told reporters. “Jobs continue to grow. Per capita income’s on the rise. Median home values are strong and getting stronger. … Population is up slightly and that is a better direction than in past years. Labor force participation rate, poverty rates, all those have slightly improved in the new data.”

But he continued, “Over the last two years now we have seen some leveling off and in this year in particular we have noticed decreases for some key metrics, including exports, housing permits, foreign direct investment. And our unemployment has actually ticked up just slightly.”

Other data sources have made the same point. Economists generally agree Michigan’s economy will continue to expand for at least another couple of years. But there’s enough hints in the data of a little softening to start putting away a little extra for a rainy day.

Education woes remain a ‘flashing red light’

Second, the State of the Region makes clear that our biggest challenge, or what Baruah calls our “flashing red light,” is the failure of our education system.

Data in the report show that over the past five years, graduation rates in the region have been trending upward, slightly lagging behind the national average. But for city of Detroit students, graduation rates within four years have fallen 1% since 2014.

Then, too, fewer than 10% of city of Detroit high school students are considered college-ready, based on SAT scores above 1,060 or ACT of 21 or higher.

And southeast Michigan high school grads who reach for some post-high school education or train too often drop out. The Chamber report shows that 47% of regional high school grads and 73% of city of Detroit grads have not earned a degree or certificate within six years of enrollment.

And while there are some improvements in a few areas, Baruah added, “It is a very mixed picture. We lag our peers. We lag the nation.”

Given the stakes involved, for our young people and for a region that desperately needs a trained and educated workforce, we have got to put more thought and resources into training our kids for the future.

The region really needs to act like a region

And, third, the Chamber’s report makes me wonder whether this region acts often enough as, well, a region. That is, the disparate communities in the Chamber’s 11-county report too often remain riven by city-suburban rivalries or conflicts between the rural exurbs and the more densely populated communities closer to the center.

True, as Baruah told me, we’ve gotten better at cooperating. That’s especially true now that Democrat Dave Coulter has succeeded the late L. Brooks Patterson as Oakland County executive, smoothing the way for a more cooperative relationship with Democrats Warren Evans in Wayne County and Mike Duggan in Detroit.

“I have never seen the kind the high-level collaboration between the mayor and the three key county executives than I have just in these recent months,” Baruah said in response to my question. “I think that’s a hugely positive sign that we have leaders that are not just willing but are already showing demonstrable evidence that they’re working together.”

That will especially be true as these leaders shape a new referendum on regional transit for the 2020 ballot. They’ll need help from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to get there.

“I think the big thing we’re going to be asking the state for now is support from the governor’s office for updated RTA (regional transit) legislation that will allow our regional leaders to put together a more flexible plan, and we’ve got that support from the governor’s office,” Baruah said.

My conclusion: I hope Sandy Baruah’s right about things looking better on regional transit and a host of other issues. For unless we start thinking of metro Detroit as our unified home, and less like a cluster of fractious competing communities, we’ll never achieve our full potential.

Read the article here