Business Leaders: Education Reform and Job Creation Will Help Michigan ‘Live Long and Prosper’

Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah and Education Attainment Manager Melanie D’Evelyn spoke at the Michigan Solutions Summit on Thursday, March 22 to share insight on the Chamber’s ongoing efforts towards education reform, job creation, and talent retention in metro Detroit. The event was hosted by Business Leaders for Michigan and Bridge magazine.

The More You Learn the More You Earn
D’Evelyn outlined Detroit Drives Degrees’ plan to increase the percentage of postsecondary degrees in the metro Detroit region to 60 percent by 2030. Currently, about 40 percent of Detroiters hold a postsecondary degree.

“Detroit Drives Degrees’ goal is to create an education compact and collaborate with different sectors (nonprofits, higher education, philanthropy) toward reaching a common goal,” D’Evelyn said.. “We want the public to hold us accountable.”

The compact’s work has already begun. Wayne State University (WSU) Provost Keith Whitfield announced at the summit that the university is creating a program that allows adults who left college to re-enroll without paying back the full amount of educational debt they accumulated. The idea is that the university will absorb some of that debt to encourage adults to focus on completing their degrees.

Whitfield also announced that WSU is investing in academic advisors to help current students succeed and building partnerships to offer more paid internships to students. Both Whitfield and D’Evelyn are hoping that other universities will see the benefits of these innovations and create similar programs.

Regional Collaboration Will Drive Job Creation
After D’Evelyn’s discussion on educational reform, Baruah, along with Dave Egner, President and CEO of the Ralph Wilson Foundation, and Kim Trent, Wayne State University Board of Directors sat on a panel to discuss how job creation and talent retention fit into the regional improvement puzzle.

Baruah addressed several roadblocks that currently hinder business growth and investment in the region that would, in turn, produce prosperous jobs to retain educated Michiganders. One such roadblock is a lack of connected, reliable regional transit.

“What is preventing regional transit? Essentially, two things: one, change is an issue of culture. People in Michigan love cars and grew up in the auto culture, and they don’t want that to change,” Baruah said. “And the second big issue is a lingering sense of distrust between Detroiters and suburbanites. People don’t want to pay higher taxes for a system they don’t think they’ll use.”

Aside from transit, the lack of qualified talent was another issue Baruah cited as preventing Detroit from attracting new business. He emphasized the region’s need to invest in talent, encourage people to go into the skilled trades, and repurpose money used to incarcerate non-violent criminals to reintroduce these individuals into Michigan’s workforce.

Both D’Evelyn and Baruah emphasized that collaboration between the public and private sectors is what will drive education reform, job creation and talent retention for the state and region. By working together, Detroiters can create a region where everyone can prosper.

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.

Visit clickondetroit.com to view the original post. 

Was Amazon Bid The Right Use of Time for Detroit?

Jan. 19, 2018

WDET

Stephen Henderson

Detroit will not be home to Amazon’s second North American Headquarters.

The internet retail giant yesterday released its list of 20 cities that made its first cut in the process of finding a home for its new headquarters. It included a lot of cities that had been rumored to be in the running: Chicago, Raleigh, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta. Washington D.C. essentially made the list three times: the district itself as well as Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Cities that were missing? A lot of those cities that needed those jobs the most. Detroit and Baltimore — which had a very intriguing bid— were two of the notable omissions.

Now that we know we won’t be getting tens-of-thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment from Amazon, where does Detroit go from here? And what does this say about these high-profile contests to lure huge corporations? Was this ever the right use of time and energy for Detroit?

Joining Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about the process and answer those questions are Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah and Crain’s Detroit Business reporter Kirk Pinho.

At the end of the day, this was a fabulous experience,” says Baruah. “I think everyone in the Detroit region should be proud… that we were in a position to compete for this. This would not have been the case five years ago, ten years ago. I don’t think we would have been in the game.”

I’ve been doing economic development for a long time. This was a world-class proposal,” he says. “So, at the end of the day, yeah, we’re disappointed we’re not on the list. But we learned a lot. We have a template for future large-scale investments like this… So I’m very happy with the outcome.”

Pinho was part of a reporting team that published a number of in-depth pieces for Crain’s about the process. Crian’s got hold of the actual bid document that Detroit submitted to Amazon and made it public, and published a vivid account of what the bid process looked like behind the scenes.

People that I’ve spoken with have sort of viewed this as a good step in the right direction with regard to transit,” says Pinho. “The first step in addressing a problem is recognizing and admitting that you have one. And… if that’s one of the key reasons why Amazon didn’t see our region to be fit to include on that short list, then that’s sort of a kick in the rear.”

Pinho also talks about reports that Amazon felt Southeast Michigan lacks adequate talent to fill jobs, and the role that played in Detroit’s omission from the “HQ2” short list.

 

CLICK TO HEAR THE ENTIRE CONVERSATION. 

Chamber’s Work to Grow Region’s Educated Workforce Backed by Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren

Last week, the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren endorsed the Detroit Regional Chamber’s plan to establish a regional Education Compact, a key step in ensuring that the region is educated, healthy and employed to compete in the 21st century global economy. The Compact will be led by the Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees initiative, with the support of a grant from The Kresge Foundation.

The endorsement was part of the Coalition’s action items under six priorities it released in a new report titled “Our Schools, Our Moment.” The report highlights areas that can be acted upon immediately by leaders across the public and private sectors to ensure success for all students.

Under the Chamber’s direction, the Detroit Drives Degrees Education Compact  will establish long-term goals and set key benchmarks in bolstering postsecondary readiness, access and success for Detroit students. This initiative represents a collective commitment by leaders in education, business, philanthropy, government and the nonprofit community to address an ongoing barrier to regional economic development – a lack of residents with higher education credentials or college degrees compared to peer regions across the country.

Currently in the beginning phases, Detroit Drives Degrees has begun to identify baseline data, create the Compact framework, and conduct economic analysis to determine education attainment needs through 2030. Steps to finalize the Compact agreement will take place over the next 18 months, with a signing ceremony slated for 2019.

“The goal of the Detroit Drives Degrees Education Compact will be to facilitate partnerships between K-12 stakeholders and postsecondary education institutions with a shared goal,” explained Greg Handel, vice president of education and talent for the Chamber. “It is needed to drive collective action in helping more students achieve their postsecondary goals. The Coalition voicing its support is an important step forward in this endeavor to increase student success.”

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, comprised of a diverse cross-section of business, civic, education, philanthropic, religious and community leaders, make the case that these six priorities ensure Detroit’s youth are educated to career- and college-ready standards. The Chamber’s Forward Detroit Strategy has aligned with the goals of the report and the Chamber is a key partner and business voice for the Coalition. Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah serves as a steering committee member of the Coalition and has been involved from its inception.
The Coalition’s priorities outlined in the report include:

  1. Get Serious About Attendance – Students have to show up to learn.
  2. Choose Detroit – Getting students and educators to our schools.
  3. Learn to Read, Then Read to Learn – Reading by third grade is essential.
  4. Keep Pace with Detroit’s Economic Recovery – Give students multiple college and career pathways after high school.
  5. Fully Fund Special Education – State and federal action required.
  6. Expect Improved Cooperation and Accountability from Our Leaders – Shared responsibility means all schools working together.

Read and download the full report here.

Michigan’s economic growth is sustained by an educated workforce, which is why it is critical the business community be engaged and have a voice in the Coalition. Among the five co-chairs of the Coalition representing the business community are Chamber Executive Committee member John Rakolta Jr., president and CEO of Walbridge; and Mark Reuss, executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain for General Motors Co. Additional co-chairs include: Tonya Allen, president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation; Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit branch for the NAACP; and Angela Reyes, executive director of the Detroit Hispanic Development Corp.

This report is the second released by the Coalition since its formation three years ago. The first report, “Choice Is Ours,” is targeted toward Lansing lawmakers regarding reforming Detroit Public Schools Community District.

For more information about Detroit Drives Degrees, an initiative of Forward Detroit, visit detroitdrivesdegrees.com.

Industry Experts: Latest Proposed Changes to NAFTA Are Red Flag for Automotive Supply Chain

As the fourth round of negotiations between Canada, the United States and Mexico surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) conclude, the Detroit Regional Chamber, along with MICHauto and the Consulate General of Canada, hosted members of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association for an informative discussion on NAFTA’s potential impact on trade and economic growth for the U.S. and Canadian economies.

Anne Cascadden, trade commissioner for the Consulate General of Canada, said two of the biggest sticking points that are hindering negotiation efforts between the three countries revolve around the United States’ proposal that requires:

  • Any new agreement would sunset after five years and must be renegotiated
  • Rules of origin for automobiles would include 85 percent NAFTA-country product, up from 62.5 percent now, and 50 percent U.S.-made product in order to be exempt from tariffs

Cascadden said the U.S. proposal would greatly impact NAFTA supply chains. Specifically, steel, aluminum, copper, plastics, electronics, and other parts currently exempt would be required to come from North America for vehicles to qualify under rules of origin.

Other discussion participants included Ann Wilson, senior vice president of government affairs for the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association; Xavier Mosquet, senior partner for The Boston Consulting Group; and Christopher Sands, senior research professor and director of the Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

In welcoming remarks, Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah said that Canada and Mexico are more in-tune with the economic ramifications of the United States’ potential withdrawal from the trade agreement, adding that any new agreement must first “do no harm” to the countries’ existing trade relationship. While not perfect, Baruah said NAFTA has been a major factor in North America’s competitiveness with the European Union.

Baruah has been a key voice regarding the NAFTA renegotiation and remains highly sought after for his expertise and insight at discussions in Michigan and Canada based on his current role at the Chamber and his past work in Washington, D.C.

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.

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.

View the original article here.

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Appoints Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah to Detroit Branch Board of Directors

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago announced the appointment of Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah to its Detroit branch board of directors, effective immediately. The term will expire December 31, 2017 and be followed by an additional three-year term from 2018 – 2020.

The Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. appoints three of the Detroit Branch directors, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Board of Directors appoints four additional Branch directors.

As a Detroit Branch director, Baruah will contribute to the formulation of national monetary policy, provide economic information to help inform the Board of Governors in Washington and act as a link between the Federal Reserve and the private sector.

The Detroit Board of Directors is made up of seven business leaders from across the Detroit region, including Detroit Regional Chamber board members Wright Lassiter III of Henry Ford Health System and Sandra Pierce of Huntington National Bank. Other directors include Chair Michael Seneski of Ford Motor Co., Joseph Anderson Jr. of TAG Holdings LLC, Linda Hubbard of Carhartt Inc. and Rip Rapson of The Kresge Foundation.

Baruah joined the Chamber in 2010. Prior to the Chamber, Baruah served President George W. Bush as administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in Washington, D.C. and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce.

In 2016, Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Baruah as chair of Michigan’s 21st Century Economy Commission.

Baruah also serves on the boards of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, Automotive Hall of Fame, and Detroit Economic Club. He is a contributor to Harvard Business School’s U.S. Competitiveness Project, a Leadership Circle member of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, and chairs the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition. He is a former Advisory Board Member of Spain’s Institute of Competitiveness.


About the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the nation’s central bank. The Chicago Reserve Bank serves the Seventh Federal Reserve District, which encompasses the northern portions of Illinois and Indiana, southern Wisconsin, the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, and the state of Iowa.  In addition to participation in the formulation of monetary policy, each Reserve Bank supervises member banks and bank holding companies, provides financial services to depository institutions and the U.S. government, and monitors economic conditions in its district.

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.

Positioning the Detroit Region as the Future Home of Amazon’s HQ2

With Detroit’s revitalization fresh on the minds of the business community, there is no better time to leverage the region’s world-class talent, assets and resources to attract leading global companies. With Amazon’s recent announcement to build a second headquarters, the Detroit Regional Chamber is doing just that.

A Collaborative Effort

As reported in the Detroit Free Press, the Chamber, along with the city of Detroit and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., is leading a broad coalition of business and government leaders to establish a proposal to make the case for Amazon’s expansion to the Detroit region. Through its best-in-class economic development expertise, the Chamber is well-suited to lead this effort.

From its annual State of the Region report to its automotive and mobility asset map and interactive Data Center, regional and statewide economic development partners often look to the Chamber to provide key information to site selectors and businesses interested in the Southeast Michigan market. Collectively, these assets provide an impactful tool for business attraction.

Read the latest stats and data presented by Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah to justify Detroit’s position as a contender for Amazon’s HQ2 in a letter to the editor published in Crain’s Detroit Business.


MORE: Read the latest stats and facts about how Michigan is positioned to lead the world in next-generation mobility.


Well-Positioned to Compete

Key to the coalition’s success in positioning Southeast Michigan as an ideal location for Amazon’s HQ2 will be meeting Amazon’s preferences and decision drivers as laid out in the request for proposal – namely real estate availability, incentives and a strong labor force.

  • According to the Chamber’s 2017 State of the Region, Detroit has availability of industrial and commercial real estate across the region.
  • Michigan’s business-friendly climate bodes well for economic incentives, from the recently passed “Good Jobs for Michigan” legislation, to the MI Thrive collection of bills incentivizing the redevelopment of transformational brownfields projects.
  • Detroit’s rich labor pool exceeds 2.5 million individuals, larger than 28 other states.
  • It is one of the fastest growing technology regions, leading peer regions in STEM occupation job growth at more than 18 percent since 2010.
  • The Detroit Metropolitan Airport is a world-class facility, recently being ranked No. 1 in business travel.
  • Detroit is an international gateway to business around the world. The region is one of the strongest export markets in the nation, especially with its ideal proximity to the Canadian market.

These are just a few of the ways the Detroit region is a standout contender for Amazon’s headquarters project.

The Chamber will continue to be the voice of business and will monitor the developments.