The Kresge Foundation Grants $450,000 to Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation to Improve College Readiness, Access and Success

The Kresge Foundation and the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation today announce new funding to launch a comprehensive plan and campaign to increase postsecondary education attainment in Southeast Michigan. The $450,000 grant from Kresge will urgently address a crisis, as part of the Chamber’s Forward Detroit regional economic development and competitiveness strategy.

Under the Chamber’s direction, the Detroit Drives Degrees Education Compact represents a collective commitment by leaders in education, business, philanthropy, government and the nonprofit community to address an ongoing barrier to economic development – the lack of residents without higher education credentials or college degrees compared to peer regions across the country. Increasing the number of students who remain enrolled and graduate from a college or university is a key focus of Detroit Drives Degrees, a program started by the Chamber in 2015 to increase college attendance and, ultimately, graduation.

According to Michigan’s Center for Educational Performance and Information, 73 percent of the region’s high school graduates enroll in college within 12 months of graduating but only 35 percent of those graduates earn a degree or credential within six years. The majority of high schools in the city of Detroit have graduating classes with less than 10 percent of students going on to earn a four-year credential, impacting the entire region.

“The Kresge Foundation’s grant allows the Chamber to both develop and implement a strategic blueprint to bolster postsecondary attainment throughout the region. Philanthropic partners like Kresge play a key role in helping us reach our goal of increasing individuals with postsecondary degrees from 43 to 60 percent by 2025,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Chamber.

“We want to help Detroit fulfill its workforce needs using its own homegrown talent,” said Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation. “Detroiters are hungry for the opportunity to get to work, and this initiative will help ensure they’re equipped with the skills, education and credentials required to do just that. We know a postsecondary education is no longer a luxury, but a necessity to move into the economic mainstream, and we’re proud to partner with the Chamber to help more Detroiters and people from across the region get that education.”

The Detroit Drives Degrees Leadership Council, led by Co-chairs Daniel Little, chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Richard Rassel, chairman of Butzel Long, represent 35 cross-sectional leaders from the business, government and academic sectors throughout the region and will serve as signatories for the Compact.

During the next three years, the Chamber will work with the Leadership Council to designate regionwide improvement goals on key attainment metrics and will regularly track and publicize progress on these goals. The Detroit Drives Degrees Compact will address each stage of the talent development pipeline: college readiness, college access, college success and transition to the workforce.

The following will serve as key milestones in the development of the plan:

  • Publish an inaugural “State of Education” report to assess the Detroit region’s education ecosystem.
  • Develop and ratify benchmarks, which will form the basis of the Detroit Drives Degrees Compact. 
  • Cultivate public awareness and continued accountability for achieving the annual benchmarks through media, events and grassroots outreach.
  • Identify and implement key strategies to promote student success through the guidance of regional higher education institutions and other partner organizations.

Kresge’s support comes from its national Education Program and its Detroit Program.

Detroit Drives Degrees Kicks off Annual Challenge to Connect More Students with College Financial Aid

By Tiffany Jones

In an effort to put more of the $90 million in federal aid that went unclaimed in Michigan last year into the hands of students, Detroit Drives Degrees kicked off its second annual “Race to the FAFSA Line” Challenge, which promotes the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Challenge offers incentives to students, counselors and high schools to complete the form and runs through Feb. 28, 2018. Detroit Drives Degrees, an initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Forward Detroit strategy, works to strengthen the talent pipeline by increasing the number of adults with postsecondary degrees in the region.

The goal of the Challenge is to increase FAFSA completion among high school seniors in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties to 65 percent. In its inaugural year, the Challenge and a variety of other efforts boosted the completion rate to 59 percent in 2016, up from 55.6 percent.

The National College Access Network states that high school graduates who complete the FAFSA are 63 percent more likely to enroll in college and by 2025, 70 percent of jobs will require a postsecondary credential.

In order to participate, high schools must register at DetroitDrivesDegrees.com. More than 85 schools participated in the 2016 competition. The school with the highest completion rate will win a senior all-night party, courtesy of Emagine Entertainment. Additional prizes from Emagine and the Detroit Pistons will be awarded to participating schools and student teams across the region.

The Challenge is sponsored by Chemical Bank, DTE Energy, Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office, Independent Bank, Kerkstra Precast and University of Michigan-Dearborn. In addition to Emagine Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons, other Challenge partners include: Detroit College Access Network, Frank FAFSA, Macomb Intermediate School District, Michigan College Access Network, Oakland Community College, Oakland Schools, University of Michigan, Wayne County Regional Education Service Agency, and numerous local college access networks.

Automotive Experts: In Mobility Race, Michigan’s Leadership Dependent on Talent Access

By Carlotta Gmachl

Michigan is well-positioned to lead in the mobility race but risks losing its foothold without access to a pipeline of highly skilled talent and a renewed effort to attract entrepreneurs. That was a key message that automotive and technology leaders outlined during a panel discussion at the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) Annual Conference last week in Holland.

Led by Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto, the panel “The Future of a Driverless Society” also included eLab Ventures’ Paul Brown, Warner Norcross & Judd’s Randall Peck, and InfiniteKey’s Kevin Virta.

Key takeaways include:

  • Talent remains the biggest challenge for startups in Michigan.
  • Most students are interested in joining big corporations and are overlooking their opportunity at a newly founded business. This is particularly true for engineers who are in high demand.
  • While Michigan excels in vehicle mass production, Silicon Valley is known for being strong in product development. Because of this, entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and Michigan see the opportunity to cooperate.
  • Amongst the biggest obstacles for Michigan entrepreneurs is the lack of an established entrepreneur community.
  • Taking risks requires a strong backbone and a community that supports those risky decisions — something Michigan is lagging on.

Panelists also highlighted the importance of Michigan as an attractive state for startups, particularly when it comes to the convergence of technology and mobility. The overarching message of attracting talent reinforces the importance of key tenants of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Forward Detroit economic development strategy: increasing post-secondary degree attainment and increasing mobility-related projects.

“It is clear that Michigan has a challenge and an opportunity to continue to develop our mobility startup ecosystem and to continue to lead in next-generation mobility,” Stevens said.


Carlotta Gmachl is a Business Attraction and MICHauto coordinator at the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Through Forward Detroit, More Than 900 Jobs, $179 Million Invested in Region During Past Year

Forward Detroit, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s economic development strategy, continues to play a key role impacting the Detroit region’s long-term growth by attracting major companies, increasing business investment and creating jobs.

From July 2016 through June 2017, the Chamber led the recruitment of 13 companies from across the globe to establish operations in the region. Executed in partnership with the Chamber’s coalition of regional economic development partners, these projects yielded a combined $179 million in capital investment and 957 new jobs, exceeding Forward Detroit’s annual goal.

Notable projects include:

In addition to the direct efforts of the Chamber, the regional economic development partnership of the 11 counties, city of Detroit, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy helped companies invest $4 billion in expansion and attraction projects and create 13,000 new jobs across the region in 2016.

“Economic development is a team sport. The investment and job creation we have seen over the past year is really a reflection of the dedicated work and collaboration of our public and private partners — organizations that are committed to the long-term growth of the Detroit region and ensuring the continued success of companies that choose to invest here,” said Justin Robinson, vice president of Business Attraction for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

The Chamber’s regional economic development partnership known as Destination Detroit includes: Genesee County, Lapeer County, Lenawee County, Livingston County, Macomb County, Monroe County, Oakland County, Shiawassee County, St. Clair County, Washtenaw County, Wayne County, the city of Detroit, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy. Destination Detroit is an initiative of Forward Detroit.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at mhamilton@detroitchamber.com or 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page.

Economic Development Outreach Yields More Than 900 Jobs, $179 Million Invested in Region During Past Year

Forward Detroit, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s economic development strategy, continues to play a key role in impacting Southeast Michigan’s long-term growth by attracting major companies to the region. Together with its economic development partners, the Chamber helped attract 13 companies from July 2016 through June 2017. The projects yielded a combined $179.25 million in capital investment and 957 jobs.

Some notable projects include:

• ArcelorMittal’s investment of $83.5 million expansion into Detroit
• Fuyao Automotive’s $66.3 million investment in a new facility in Plymouth
• VDL Steelweld’s $3 million investment in a North American headquarters in Oakland County
• Thanasi Foods’ $2.8 million investment in a Macomb Township facility

The success of these projects positively reflects the Chamber’s ongoing collaboration with 11 county partners, the city of Detroit, city of Novi, city of Southfield, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy through Destination Detroit, an initiative of Forward Detroit. Together, these partners focus on promoting the region’s assets with one unified voice to national and international companies looking to expand in the U.S. market. This work is made possible through the strategic partnerships and contributions of Forward Detroit’s investors.

Learn more about Forward Detroit’s initiatives here.

Forward Detroit Quarterly Results

April–June 2017

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Forward Detroit strategy programs and initiatives reported the following results for the April to June 2017 quarter.

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Business Attraction team worked with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Oakland County and city of Troy to close a deal to bring the North American headquarters for Dutch automotive engineering service firm, VDL Steelweld to the region. The company leased a 50,000 square foot facility in Oakland County, investing $1.22 million in the region and adding 43 new jobs that pay an average of more than $100,000 annually.

Learn more about the Chamber’s Business Attraction efforts. 

 
MICHauto, an initiative of the Chamber, held a Legislative Supplier Fair and Reception and its annual Auto on the Island programming in May at the Mackinac Policy Conference. The fourth annual Supplier Fair and Reception connected more than a dozen suppliers with lawmakers to continue the discussion on the economic impact of suppliers across the state.

Continuing to bring the industry to the forefront of conversations, MICHauto hosted 35 industry CEOs on Mackinac Island for Auto on the Island. The challenges, opportunities, threats and weaknesses facing the automotive and mobility industry were discussed among the CEOs present as well as in a discussion with Gov. Rick Snyder and Mayor Mike Duggan. Automotive stakeholders also participated in an automotive roundtable discussion that focused on human capital in the digital age.

Learn more about MICHauto.

 In spring 2017, the Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) team launched two surveys to increase the Detroit region’s population by putting a greater focus on retaining existing residents and attracting new ones. The surveys resulted in 500 responses that will be used to further build out D3’s talent attraction and retention strategies.

To further communicate D3’s work in talent to a broader audience, Sarah Craft, program manager, sat on a panel for the Detroit Regional Relocation Council Quarterly Business Meeting, where she informed 50 national relocation professionals on Detroit’s assets and appeal. Additional panelists included: University Moving Storage’s Ben Cross; Center City Properties’ Michael Martorelli; Quicken Loans’ Dan Ngoyi; and Hall & Hunter’s Amy Zimmer.

At the May D3 Leadership Council meeting, the team brought together education experts from Cleveland to talk to the Council’s representatives in higher education, business, government, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector about a national model proven to improve student success. The goal of the discussion was to understand how Cleveland has successfully increased its educational attainment rate and how a similar model can be implemented in Detroit.

Learn more about Detroit Drives Degrees.

Read more about what the Forward Detroit initiatives accomplished:

Michigan’s Mobility Assets Key Topic of Netherlands Delegation Visit to Detroit

Detroit’s Tech, Automotive Leadership Takes Spotlight During Israel Mission Trip

MICHauto Roundtable: Technology Innovation Will Augment Workforce Transformation

Economic Impact of State’s Auto Suppliers Key Topic at Annual MICHauto Legislative Reception

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Awards $3.5 Million Grant to Detroit Promise to Help Students Pursue Higher Education

Detroit Drives Degrees Gleans Lessons from Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland to Increase Local Graduation Rates

Help Detroit Drives Degrees Attract and Retain Talent in Southeast Michigan

MICHauto Supports Student Entrepreneurs in Lear Open Innovation Challenge

Katelyn Davis Joins MICHauto and the Detroit Regional Chamber as Director

Katelyn Davis joins the Detroit Regional Chamber as director of MICHauto. In this role, she will support and lead planning and execution for MICHauto, as the statewide automotive and mobility industry association, and the organization’s growth as an integral part of Forward Detroit, the Chamber’s economic development initiative.

Davis’ seven-year career has been dedicated to Michigan’s automotive industry. Most recently she served as a corporate affairs and communications specialist with Yazaki North America, Inc., where she was responsible for the company’s internal and external communications and corporate marketing strategy and implementation. Prior to that, she worked for WPP’s GTB (formerly Team Detroit) on the communications team at Ford Motor Co.

“We are extremely pleased to have Katelyn join the MICHauto team. Her background and experience in the auto industry, combined with her expertise in marketing and communications, made the perfect match and will be critical to achieving our mission and goals,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Chamber.

Davis earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations from Grand Valley State University and completed graduate studies in new media communications at Wayne State University.

In addition, Davis is an acting board member for the Automotive Public Relations Council (APRC) and played an active role on MICHauto’s Awareness Committee.

She resides in Wyandotte, Michigan.

# # #

About MICHauto

MICHauto is a statewide initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive industry in Michigan. MICHauto embodies a public-private strategy, championing Michigan as the global epicenter of the automotive industry and providing a platform for collaboration on advocacy, business attraction and retention, and talent attraction and development. Serving as the unified voice of Michigan’s automotive cluster, MICHauto works closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Original Equipment Suppliers Association, Center for Automotive Research and other Michigan and national organizations. To learn more visit MICHauto.org.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber

Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

Forward Detroit Quarterly Results

Quarterly Investor Results

Oct. to Dec. 2016 

Investor Blog_Business Attraction
The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Business Attraction team assisted in closing six deals in the Detroit region, which created 254 jobs and brought in $103,750,254 of investment. Learn more about the Chamber’s Business Attraction efforts.

 

Investor Blog_D3
The Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) initiative introduce the Race to the FAFSA Line challenge for Southeast Michigan. Since the kickoff of this challenge in October, the D3 initiative trained 170 high school counselors on the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) completion and recruited 80 students leaders to encourage FAFSA completion in their schools. So far, 13,630 students in the region completed the FAFSA in that quarter. Learn more about the Detroit Drives Degrees.

Read more about what the Forward Detroit initiatives accomplished:

Taking a Data-Driven Approach to Increasing Graduation Rates for Low-Income, Minority Students

Detroit’s Next Opportunity: A Premier Destination for Health Care Innovation, Investment

Industrial Space, Talent Attraction Impacting Detroit’s Sustainable Growth

For Auto Industry, Attracting and Retaining Millennial Talent Requires an Inclusive Company Culture

 

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page. For more information on Business Attraction, contact Justin Robinson at 313.596.0352. For more information on Detroit Drives Degrees, contact Greg Handel at 313.596.0331.

Industrial Space, Talent Attraction Impacting Detroit’s Sustainable Growth

As Detroit continues as a hotbed for the automotive and manufacturing industry, and foreign investors, creative solutions to the region’s limited industrial development space and the ability to attract and retain new talent will impact long-term prosperity. That was a key message economic development, building and real estate experts laid out during the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Investor Briefing: Industrial Projects in Today’s Property Market.

According to Paul Hoge, vice president and principal of Signature Associates, Detroit’s current average industrial vacancy rate hovers just over 6 percent, compared to an 18 percent vacancy rate in 2010. Correspondingly, rental rates and construction have also gone up.

“It’s a classic supply and demand scenario. Right now we’ve got a lot of demand and limited inventory,” he said.

Douglas Fura, senior vice president of Farbman Group, a Southfield-based industrial real estate brokerage firm, said in some markets the vacancy rate is near zero when you remove the functionally obsolete facilities that are too expensive to rehabilitate into the modern age.

What’s Driving Demand?

According to Hoge, unlike comparable metro regions, Detroit did not face an overbuilding problem heading into the Great Recession. Additionally, as the economy began to recover, many OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers demolished 20 million square feet of under-functioning industrial space.

“We are pretty well positioned if things slow down again. The bigger issue is how do we expand on an efficient basis?” Fura said.

Ronald Moran, vice president of Dearborn-based Ghafari Associates, said from a construction perspective, he has noticed more clients looking to merge their manufacturing and engineering teams into one facility.

“While it used to be all the engineers and office workers in one building separated from the manufacturing facility, these days there is a big demand to bring those people closer to production so they can collaborate more easily to solve problems,” he said.

That requires building a new central facility or renovating existing assets.

The Talent Question

In addition to growing demand for industrial space, the ability to attract and retain talent is critical. Both manufacturers and government leaders have a role to play in that as well, according to Romano Curti, director of business development for Barton Malow Co.

Curti said Michigan faces tremendous competition from other states offering deep incentives to lure national and international investment. Average wages and “cool places” with the flexibility of open, collaborative environments that appeal to the next generation workforce are also deciding factors in a decision to locate.

Ultimately, however, the winner will be the region that can provide these assets — whether it be talent, office/manufacturing space or incentives — in an efficient timeframe.

“Speed to market is key,” Moran said.

Justin Robinson, vice president of business attraction for the Chamber, said the Investor Briefing is the first step in better educating economic developers and regional partners on the state of the regional industrial market.

“Having a clearer picture of the real estate market and constraints helps us all better inform investors so that they can make faster and better decisions,” Robinson said.

The next Investor Briefing on attracting and retaining talent will take place on Feb. 14. Learn more and register here.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at mhamilton@detroitchamber.com, or 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page.

Detroit’s Next Opportunity: A Premier Destination for Health Care Innovation, Investment

With high-quality hospitals, world-renowned programs and nationally recognized research universities and medical schools, the Detroit region is a premier location for innovators, investors and entrepreneurs who want to lead the health care industry. But unfortunately, it remains a hidden jewel.

Promoting that message to industry leaders across the state and country has been a key focus of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s HealthForward initiative this year.

“Despite Southeast Michigan’s robust health care ecosystem, it has not achieved recognition as a national destination for health or a hub of health care innovation and jobs,” said Roy Lamphier, the Chamber’s vice president of health care and business solutions.

Changing that narrative, Lamphier said, builds on the Chamber’s Forward Detroit economic development strategy to sustain Southeast Michigan as one of the fastest growing regions in the country.

“It’s about getting the message out there among professional health care players — hospitals, suppliers, insurers and providers — as well as entrepreneurs — about why Detroit can be a player in the new health economy,” Lamphier said. “Subsequently, that will help attract more talent, investment and jobs for the region.”

To do that, Lamphier said the Chamber has already begun meeting with health care stakeholders to craft the region’s story. He said plans are also underway to convene regional CEOs and C-suite leaders to define the health care story.

“The Chamber is in a position where we touch a large cross-section of the health care industry. Bringing these key players together to think about the future and craft the message we want to tell the rest of the world is in our collective interest,” Lamphier said.

But it is only one piece of the puzzle.

Detroit also ranks at the bottom 20th percentile nationwide in the overall health and wellbeing of its workforce, impacting the competitiveness of the region.

Building on its longtime effort to educate employers on ways to lower costs on care, the Chamber is going a step further by working with business and health leaders to craft a placemaking strategy focused on projects, programs and policies to support healthy communities.

“We’re not focused on creating capacity and adding cost to the system,” Lamphier said. “We want to determine the business agenda on health and tie that agenda to leadership action,” Lamphier said.

Recently, the Chamber partnered with Crain’s Detroit Business for a Health Care Leaders Dinner (pictured) featuring 40 academic, government, health and civic leaders to identify areas where the business community can make an impact on a recurring basis.

“Our end goal is to help businesses make investments that raise the health and well-being of the region’s workforce,” Lamphier said. “The more money we pour into treating sickness is money that could have gone into wages and investment. We need to start investing upstream to get ahead of the curve.”

By both marketing the region’s health care assets and taking steps toward creating a healthy workforce, Lamphier said  Southeast Michigan can craft a vibrant health ecosystem attractive to investment and talent in the 21st century.

For more information on how to get involved with HealthForward, contact Roy Lamphier at rlamphie@detroitchamber.com, or 313.596.0381. For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at mhamilton@detroitchamber.com, or 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page.