Detroit Regional Chamber Receives $765K Grant to Expand Strategy to Fill Talent Gap From Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation

DETROIT, Oct. 17, 2019 – The Detroit Regional Chamber announced an expanded strategy to help fill the talent pipeline for employers and a grant of $765,000 from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation to fund this work for the next 24 months. The Chamber’s effort is targeting the region’s population who have some college experience but haven’t earned a postsecondary degree or credential. The work removes barriers for these individuals to pursue their degree or credential and offers a pathway to a sustainable career.

With a portion of the funding, the Chamber is in the process of hiring two positions – one will focus on program and employers’ partnerships and the other will focus directly on adult college completion efforts.

The expanded strategy will contribute to increasing postsecondary degree attainment in Michigan to 60% by 2030, a goal established by the Chamber in 2016 and was adopted by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earlier this year. There are nearly 700,000 people in the Detroit region that qualify as “adult learners” – the population aged 25 years or older with varying levels of prior college experience. In addition to growing the number of qualified workers for employers, the Chamber’s work will also help increase the per capita income for these individuals and contribute to cutting the region’s equity gap in half.

“Over the past year, the Chamber’s strategies to fill the talent gap have gained national attention. The grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation will build upon that work by targeting Detroiters who are unemployed or underemployed and connect them with a pathway to earn a sustainable living wage by aligning their skills with the needs of regional businesses,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Chamber.

The Chamber is now poised to:

  1. Help employers establish an environment to upskill existing employees
  2. Work with regional community colleges to align programs with business needs and become more adult-friendly
  3. Reach adults from the past 15 years who “stopped out” before earning a degree and help them restart their education
  4. Help adult learners navigate their return to education by connecting them with support services to ensure their success

“With this funding, the Chamber seeks to activate employers and supports community colleges to assist adults in obtaining additional postsecondary training and new skills that prepare them for the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow in Southeast Michigan.  These goals are closely aligned with the Foundation’s priorities in the Young Adults and Working Families focus area, and we are proud to support the Chamber in leading this collaborative regional effort,” said Lavea Brachman, vice president of programs for Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

The Chamber is targeting adults and engaging businesses in the following counties – Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne. To execute the full strategy, the Chamber estimates this work will require an additional $1.5 million in funding.

The body of work funded by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation is the result of the Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees regional collective impact effort which engages stakeholders from business, government, and education who share the goal to increase regional degree attainment. The work concepts were developed by reviewing national best practices and with critical input from this group. The Detroit Drives Degrees partners will continue to engage in the execution of the work and contribute to its success.

To learn more visit www.detroitchamber.com/D3 or contact Melanie D’Evelyn at mdevelyn@detroitchamber.com.

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About 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. As the voice for business in the 11-county Southeast Michigan region, the Chamber’s mission is carried out through creating a business-friendly climate and value for members, leading a robust economic development strategy, and convening Michigan’s most influential audience at the nationally unique Mackinac Policy Conference.

About Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. The Foundation has a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit www.rcwjrf.org.

$450,000 Kresge Foundation Grant will Support Programs to Improve College Readiness, Access and Success

Last week, the Detroit Regional Chamber received a $450,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation to launch a comprehensive plan and campaign to increase postsecondary education attainment in Southeast Michigan.

The three-year grant supports the Chamber’s Forward Detroit strategy to create and sustain an educated, employed and healthy workforce in the 11-county Detroit region. Increasing the number of adults with postsecondary degrees is a goal of Detroit Drives Degrees, a Forward Detroit initiative.

In a joint release, Kresge Foundation President and CEO Rip Rapson said, “We want to help Detroit fulfill its workforce needs using its own homegrown talent. 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 Chamber will work with 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, to designate regionwide improvement goals on key attainment metrics. The plan will address each stage of the talent development pipeline including: college readiness, college access, college success and transition to the workforce.

The Chamber thanks The Kresge Foundation for its confidence and support in Forward Detroit’s mission. This grant is a big step in helping the Chamber achieve its goal of increasing the number of individuals with postsecondary degrees from 43 to 60 percent by 2025.

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

Comerica Bank to Offer Grants to Benefit High School Baseball and Softball Teams

Comerica Bank announced that it will offer its Grand Slam Grant for the third consecutive year. The program offers two $10,000 grants to high school baseball or softball teams to create, expand or improve their programs. Like last year’s Grand Slam Grant program, Comerica will award the grants to one high school from Southeast Michigan, and another in the Central/West Michigan region.

“Comerica is proud to support Michigan’s hometown teams by presenting the Grand Slam Grant for the third consecutive year,” said Thomas D. Ogden, president, Comerica Bank-Michigan. “In the first two years of the grant program, local coaches and school administrators have demonstrated incredible passion and creative thinking when it comes to improving youth programs and positively impacting the community. We can’t wait to see their amazing ideas this year.”

The grant recipients will be recognized on the field prior to the game on April 6 against the New York Yankees during the Detroit Tigers 2013 opening weekend. In addition to the grant, each winning school will also receive tickets to the opening weekend game.

Public high schools in Comerica’s markets of Southeast Michigan and Central and West Michigan are eligible to apply for the Grand Slam Grant. One grant recipient will be chosen from each of the two regions. The funds can be used for field improvements, equipment, training camps, or other baseball or softball-related expenses.

Grant applications will be reviewed for a variety of criteria including overall need, creativity, and school and community impact. The grant recipient will be selected by the Comerica Bank Grand Slam Grant Selection Committee, consisting of representatives from Comerica Bank and the Detroit Tigers.

Eligible schools can download the grant application at www.comerica.com/grandslamgrant. Once complete, the application, along with supporting materials such as photos or videos must be submitted via email to grandslamgrant@comerica.com no later than 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, 2013.

Last year, Comerica awarded grants to baseball teams from Lincoln Park High School and Kalamazoo Central High School. Lincoln Park High school used the funds to support much-needed renovations to its underground pit facility, which is utilized by baseball, softball and local little league players year-round, while Kalamazoo Central High School put the funds toward a batting cage project that would also be used by the school’s softball program as well as area youth teams.

About Comerica Bank
Comerica Bank, with 216 banking centers in Michigan, is a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated. Founded in Detroit in 1849, Comerica continues to invest in Michigan. Comerica’s $17 million renovation of its building at 411 W. Lafayette in Detroit was completed last year and the renamed Comerica Bank Center is now the bank’s Michigan Market headquarters. Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA) is a financial services company strategically aligned by three business segments: The Business Bank, The Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Comerica focuses on relationships, and helping people and businesses be successful. To receive e-mail alerts of breaking Comerica news, go to http://www.comerica.com/newsalerts . To find us on Facebook, please visit www.facebook.com/ComericaCares. Follow us on Twitter at @ComericaCares.

About The Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers, Inc., a charter member of the American League in 1901, have won four World Series and 11 American League pennants. The team is owned by Michael Ilitch who purchased the ballclub in 1992. Michael and his wife, Marian, jointly own other companies in the food, sports and entertainment industries include: Little Caesars Pizza, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, the Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, Little Caesars Pizza Kit Fundraising Program, Champion Foods, Uptown Entertainment and Ilitch Holdings, Inc. Marian Ilitch is the sole owner of MotorCity Casino Hotel. For more information, visit www.tigers.com.