Flashpoint 1/21/18: Examining Detroit’s lacking Amazon campaign Watch Flashpoint at 10 a.m. on Local 4

January, 21, 2018

WDIV Local 4 – Flashpoint

Devin Scillian – Anchor

On Tuesday, Detroit learned it wouldn’t be the location for Amazon‘s second world headquarters. This week’s Flashpoint examines what can be taken away from the city’s lacking campaign.

Also, this year’s North American International Auto Show is about trucks and SUVs, but why?

Flashpoint is hosted by WDIV Local 4 anchor Devin Scillian. Watch Flashpoint on WDIV at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

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Economic Experts: ‘No Time to Waste’ on Improving Region’s Educated Workforce

To accelerate the Detroit region’s growing economy, attract global firms, and bolster job creation in an age of rapid technological innovation, creative and collaborative solutions to improve Michigan’s education system must be a top priority. That was a key message a panel of economic and business experts reinforced repeatedly during the Detroit Regional Chamber’s fourth annual State of the Region on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

“We’ve laid the groundwork (for regional growth) and we can’t be complacent about this issue. The time is now. We have to make sure we remain competitive in all sectors,” said Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, interim associate director of social science and policy at the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute, in response to a question on the State of the Region’s findings on education attainment.

While the 2017-2018 report was largely positive in areas like median home value growth and a lower unemployment rate matching the national average for the first time in more than a decade, the report also revealed that Detroit ranks just below the national average in the percentage of the adult population with an associate degree or higher.

Hughes-Cromwick was joined on the panel by Joseph Anderson Jr., chairman and CEO of TAG Holdings LLC; Daniel Howes, columnist and associate business editor for The Detroit News; and Paul Traub, senior business economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit Branch. The panel was moderated by Devin Scillian, anchor for WDIV-TV 4.

Additional takeaways from the panel include:

  • In the bid for Amazon’s HQ2, Detroit can play to its strengths, including a vibrant educational base, access to the automotive industry, and proximity to Canada.
  • Regional collaboration is critical to attracting global firms to the region.
  • Regional leaders must leverage all resources to prevent place-based development and ensure equitable, inclusive growth.
  • Closing the talent gap in Southeast Michigan requires more investment at the state level in apprenticeship programs.
  • The modern realities of technology-fueled innovation and a growing talent gap present a significant challenge for companies in Southeast Michigan.
  • The timeline for mass adoption of automated vehicles on roadways is much longer than many believe and is driven by consumer demand and the testing, regulation and adoption of innovative technology, which can be a lengthy process.
  • Just like crisis was a precursor of change for the automotive industry and the city of Detroit, it will take a crisis to fix Michigan’s education system.

Chamber CEO Joins Roundtable Discussion on WDIV-4’s Flashpoint to Talk All Things Amazon

On Sunday, Sept. 25, WDIV-4’s Flashpoint centered its entire show on “The Amazon Chase.” Detroit Regional Chamber CEO and President Sandy Baruah joined Rock Ventures Principal Matt Cullen, Regional Transit Authority Interim CEO Tiffany Gunter, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Flashpoint host Devin Scillian to discuss how and why the Detroit region is a strong contender to be home to Amazon’s second headquarters.

The panel highlighted all the tremendous positives that the region has going in its favor – space, quality of life and the energy of a vibrant urban core, to name a few – all of which will be key factors for Amazon. “Detroit is an exciting place. It’s the comeback city. It’s the place of opportunity,” said Cullen.

Regional transportation and the need to attract and retain talent in the state was also discussed. In terms of the failed RTA ballot initiative, Gunter acknowledged that the ball has moved down the field in terms of progress around regional transportation. She added that plans are already underway on how RTA would tweak the next campaign. “Our region is ready for a change,” she said.

The roundtable panelists all agreed that under the leadership of Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert, the region would prepare and present a world-class proposal. “This is a great exercise in how much progress this region has made working collaboratively,” said Baruah. “I feel really good about where we are and how we’re doing this.”

The second segment of the program focused on how the proposal should look and featured Ignition Media Group Founder and CEO Dennis Archer Jr., Crain’s Detroit Business reporter Kirk Pinho and Detroit Creative Corridor Center Executive Director Olga Stella.

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