Detroit Drives Degrees Provides Platform to Discuss Region’s Talent Pipeline

By Daniel Lai

The Detroit Regional Chamber held its Talent Outlook: Detroit Drives Degrees breakfast on Thursday, March 23 at the Detroit Athletic Club to discuss the region’s talent pipeline and report on the first year of the Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) initiative. At standing room only, nearly 200 attendees heard from leaders from the higher education, business, government, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

33304034420_f189956d27_oChamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah opened the event by giving a brief overview of the D3 program and making a challenge to the audience. “Sixty percent. That is the one number I want you all to remember today,” Baruah said. “As a region, to compete and succeed, we need at least 60 percent of the population to have a postsecondary credential.”

Baruah noted that of the 11.6 million new U.S. jobs created since the recession, 99 percent have gone to workers with some college education.

D3’s overarching goal is to lead the region in achieving 60 percent postsecondary degree attainment by 2025.

The breakfast featured a keynote address from David Dodson, president of MDC, a nonprofit that publishes research and develops programs focused on expanding opportunity, reducing poverty, and addressing structural inequity.

Drawing from his personal journey, Dodson shared how mobility outcomes can drastically change with a postsecondary credential. His philosophy centered around the belief that a person’s socioeconomic status early in life should not determine where they end up later and education makes all the difference.

He described the pathway to upward economic mobility through a three-step process. First, one must complete foundational education. Secondly, obtain a postsecondary credential. Lastly, enter and advance in the workplace. Educational experience, a support network, work exposure, work experience, professional development and a professional network are all building blocks that must be developed and cultivated to achieve success.

Dodson stressed that the biggest takeaway for the business community is to not only build pathways or launchpad institutions, like D3, but to help those in disadvantaged communities truly navigate and fully understand the path to achieving the American dream.

The breakfast also featured a panel that shared insight on how to strengthen the Detroit region’s homegrown talent pipeline. Dodson was joined by Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest; William Huffaker, global director of talent acquisition for General Motors Co.; and moderated by Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network.

The discussion centered on the concept that talent, not capital, is Detroit’s most important asset.

“Detroit children are at the bottom of student achievement,” Arellano said. “A Boston fourth-grade student, educationally, is three years ahead of that of a Detroit student. The schools can’t do it alone. We all need to become advocates, pushing for urgency, excellence and equity.”

“The talent pipeline picture really isn’t pretty,” Huffaker added. “At General Motors, we hire someone with a STEM background every 26 seconds. Our community has changed so much over the last five years than in the last 50 years. As a community, we need to not only consume talent, but produce talent.”

Huffaker also suggested the creation of a more robust mentor program. “Everyone knows that they should have a mentor, but not everyone knows how to use a mentor,” he said.

The morning also included the announcement of the winners of the “Race to the FAFSA Line” challenge, which encouraged students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The challenge was a part of D3’s initiative to improve regional postsecondary outcomes.

Daniel Lai is a communications specialist and copywriter at the Detroit Regional Chamber. Launch Mobile Application For Metro Detroit Job Seekers unveiled new mobile app to assist those who are currently searching for a job or want to hire an employee. Named JobFairGiant, it provides users with the automatic selection of employers hiring in Michigan, two job boards for candidates seeking positions, calendar of upcoming job fairs and access to resume writing and interview tips.

If job seekers want to have advantages over other candidates in modern competitive labor market, they should be aware of all fresh career opportunities 24/7. Constant access to the specialized job search resources can help them to quickly get in touch with prospective employer. Hiring employers can update potential applicants about their positions using the new app. This app will help with the growing needs of employers and job seekers in Metro Detroit; mobile applications are of great use. launched the mobile application to connect hiring employers with candidates using the trendy approach to mobile-recruiting to spark a direct connect between candidates and employers. In JobFairGiant there is no endless manual search with keywords or parameters for fresh vacancies. Hiring companies are highlighted and applying is simple with one click. When someone is looking for a job they always have to use different accounts, sources or websites. Save your time! Launch the JobFairGiant mobile application and immediately apply for thousands of positions in minutes. All functions are free of charge.

Click the below link to download the mobile application for your device.

Android Devices:
Apply Devices:
Kindle Devices:

Walsh College to Host Business Night Open House on April 27

Walsh College will hold a business night open house for future students interested in pursuing a highly-valued bachelor’s or master’s degree at the Troy campus from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, April 27.

At the open house, attendees can:
> Meet with faculty and representatives from student clubs.
> Review financial aid and scholarship options.
> Learn about Career Services.
> Tour the Troy campus.

Attend informational sessions:
> Undergraduate IMPACT session (5:30 p.m.)
> Graduate IMPACT session (6 p.m.)
> MBA Experience session (6:30 p.m.)

“Business Night is an opportunity for individuals who are considering a Walsh degree to learn more about our undergraduate, graduate, and IT programs,” said Heather Rigby, director, Admissions and Academic Advising, Walsh College. “If you’re looking to get your education and business career on track, Business Night is a great place to start. We’ll be there to answer all your questions and give you the personalized service necessary when making this type of decision.”

Visit Walsh College Business Night for more information and to register.

Butzel Long attorney Clara DeMatteis Mager re-elected to the French American Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Clara DeMatteis Mager has been re-elected to serve a two-year term on the Board of Directors of the French American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) Michigan Chapter.

As the Immigration Practice Department Leader, Mager has been instrumental in growing the practice. Notably, Butzel Long received (Tier Two) recognition in the 2011-2016 “Best Law Firms,” rankings by U.S. News Media Group, the publisher of U.S. News & World Report and nationwide recognition by Chambers & Partners.

Mager focuses her practice on business and family immigration issues including all aspects of the international movement of personnel, inbound and outbound work-authorized nonimmigrant (temporary) and immigrant (permanent) status, immigration consequences of mergers, acquisitions, and corporate restructuring, employer sanctions, and immigration law audits.

She is a firm liaison to Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. She has served as Chair and Regional Chair of the Lex Mundi Immigration Committee. She is very active with the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation providing legal services to select “social entrepreneurs.” The Foundation is part of the global social entrepreneur movement for positive social change. She is active in the community working on pro bono immigration matters.

Mager is currently a Board Member of the Italian American Alliance for Business and Technology and Leonardo International, Inc. She also is a member of the Federal Bar Association (previous member of the Leadership Council of the Immigration Committee), State Bar of Michigan (Past Chairperson of the International Law Section and previously held positions of Chair-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Council Member and Chairperson of the Immigration Committee), Women Lawyers Bar Association and Italian American Bar Association (Board Member and Past President).

She also was a Board Member and past Chair of the J.D./L.L.B. Advisory Board, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law/University of Windsor Faculty of Law. She is a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Detroit XXII Class. Mager is listed in The Best Lawyers in America (Immigration) and Michigan Super Lawyers (Immigration). Mager is a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated Lawyer.

Mager is a graduate of Wayne State University and of the Detroit College of Law (J.D., cum laude, 1987) where she was a member of Law Review.

About the French American Chamber of Commerce
The French American Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit, membership-driven business association which is supported by globally-minded members with a particular interest in promoting French and American business relations.

About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the top law firms in Michigan and the United States. It was founded in Detroit in 1854 and has provided trusted client service for more than 160 years. Butzel’s full-service law offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as alliance offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Mexico City and Monterrey. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting or follow Butzel Long on Twitter:

Rehmann partners with Intacct to help empower today’s businesses

Rehmann and Intacct — a leading provider of financial management and accounting software — are partnering to expand Rehmann’s outsourced accounting and advisory practice which includes SkyBooks, the Firm’s cloud-based suite of financial and accounting software solutions.

With this development, Rehmann becomes an Intacct value-added reseller (VAR). This allows the Firm to sell, implement, support and develop custom enhancements for Intacct’s award-winning cloud financial applications. Cloud-based accounting applications represent a rapidly growing field … one that holds special interest for Rehmann.

“Our teaming with Intacct comes in response to what we’re hearing from clients,” said Rehmann Principal Sharon Berman. “Today’s business leaders understand the value of robust technological capabilities and the efficiencies that come along with them.” She cited the ability to integrate disparate applications, providing clients with a more holistic view of their organization in a seamless user experience.

Intacct VARs are selected based on extensive experience in finance, business best practices, enterprise resource planning (ERP), cloud technology and financial software. As an Intacct VAR, Rehmann clients will have access to newer technologies, features and benefits, including:

  • Real-time visibility to financial and operational data anywhere, anytime and from any device.
  • The ability to customize their financial systems and reporting.
  • Easy integration with other internal applications such as CRM, POS, PSA and custom internal applications.
  • Easily customizable and automated business process workflows without any costly programming and upkeep required.
  • Complete online document management capabilities, which eliminates paper copies and file folders.
  • Automatic ERP upgrades.

To learn more, visit

About Rehmann
Rehmann is a fully integrated financial services firm of CPAs & consultants, wealth advisors and corporate investigators dedicated to providing clients proactive ideas and solutions to help them prosper professionally and personally. The firm offers a cross-functional team approach that gives clients direct access to a professional in any available service. Rehmann has nearly 800 associates in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Rehmann is an independent member of Nexia International, offering clients a global approach. Find us online at

Brenda Lawrence

Brenda LawrenceRep. Brenda Lawrence is a Democrat congresswoman representing Michigan’s 14th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes parts of Detroit and 17 cities in Wayne and Oakland counties. She was re-elect in Nov. 2016, where she serves as a Senior Whip, Vice Chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues and Secretary of the Congressional Black Caucus. She is also a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Lawrence previously served as the first African American female mayor of the city of Southfield and was a member of the Southfield City Council, where she was elected president in 1999. She also served on the Southfield Public School Board of Education as president, vice president and secretary.

Franco adds technology, consumer clients

Franco, a Detroit-based full service public relations, marketing and social media agency, announces the addition of the following clients:

  • automotiveMastermind – automotiveMastermind is the leading provider of predictive analytics and marketing automation technology for the automotive industry. The company’s cloud-based platform helps dealers precisely predict automobile-buying behavior and automates the creation of micro-targeted consumer communications, leading to proven higher sales and more consistent customer retention. automotiveMastermind currently works with hundreds of dealerships from various automotive manufacturers, including Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, MINI and Toyota and has plans to add more OEMs in 2017.
  • Avalon International Breads – Established in 1997, Avalon International Breads is a Detroit-based bakery dedicated to producing hand-crafted artisan breads and other baked goods, using 100-percent organic flour. For 20 years, Avalon has served over 1,000 customers daily at its two Detroit storefronts. The bakery recently expanded its business to include a cafe in Ann Arbor and another opening soon in Detroit.

About Franco

Franco integrates PR, marketing, social media, design and measurement to deliver communications programs that drive organizational performance. Franco was founded in Detroit in 1964 and has been a leader within the industry and the region for five decades. Today, Franco is a full-service public relations agency serving clients in the automotive, technology, healthcare, nonprofit, consumer and professional service sectors. For more information, visit

Trillium Academy Seniors Hear Career Lessons from Chamber Millennials

By Daniel A. Washington 

Visiting the Detroit Regional Chamber’s office just one day after being announced the grand prize winners of the inaugural Race to the FAFSA Line Contest, more than 20 Trillium Academy seniors got a chance to hear from a panel of millennial employees of the Chamber.

“We (Detroit Drives Degrees) find that it is important that students get exposure to career opportunities here in the region during the critical part of their academic journey,” said Greg Handel, vice president of education and talent at the Chamber.

Led by Handel, students discussed the important work of Detroit Drives Degrees (D3), a Chamber initiative seeking to increase the proportion of individuals with college degrees and high-skill credentials in the region. Greg's_Education-3

“Interning here at the Chamber in marketing and communications turned into a full-time job in the engagement department,” said Paige Blessman, engagement coordinator. “It is important to be open to new opportunities because you never know what you will end up enjoying.”

College preparedness, the importance of networking and following one’s passion were just a few of the topics Chamber employees spoke about with students. Panelists shared stories and shortcomings to better help give insight to career possibilities.

“The truth is you have to be flexible in a sense; there are multiple ways to get to where you want to be,” said William Butler, business development representative, during the panel discussion. “Each seemingly backward or forward step on my journey led me here – happily employed at the Chamber, living my dream – helping partake in shaping Detroit’s bright future.”

Panelists also included: Marianne Alabastro, manager of Signature Events; Sarah Craft, Detroit Drives Degrees program associate; Melissa Knapp, senior graphic designer; Nikki Farneti, financial analyst; and Daniel A. Washington, marketing and communications coordinator.

Daniel A. Washington is a marketing and communications coordinator at the Detroit Regional Chamber.


Destination Detroit’s Economic Development Partners Attract $2.03 Billion, 3,271 New Jobs to Southeast Michigan in Third Quarter of 2016

DD_Social Media Numbers_3.28.17_webDuring the third quarter of 2016, Destination Detroit’s economic development partners directly assisted with the creation of 3,271 new jobs and $2.03 billion in new investment.

The bulk of the new investment during this time was generated by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA US), who in July revealed plans to spend $1.49 billion retooling its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to accommodate production of the next-generation Ram 1500 pickup truck.

FCA’s announcement isn’t the only recent investment of $1 billion or more for Macomb County. In 2015, General Motors Co. made the decision to commit $1 billion into its historic Warren Technical Center and

Learn more about a few of the projects that helped drive economic growth in the Detroit region from July through September of 2016:

Quarter 3 Project Highlights

Company: FCA US LLC

Location: Sterling Heights

Partner Lead: Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development

New Jobs: 700

New Investment: $1.49 billion

Description: FCA will move production of its next-generation Ram 1500 pickup truck to the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, committing $1.49 billion to modernize the facility. FCA’s decision, which is now the largest one-time corporate investment in the city of Sterling Height’s history, creates 700 new jobs and secures the future of a plant that had been previously listed for closure during the company’s 2009 bankruptcy. FCA chose Sterling Heights over a number of competing locations across North America.

Company: Fuyao Glass

Location: Plymouth

Partner Lead: Wayne County Department of Economic Development

New Jobs: 533 new jobs, 400 jobs retained

New Investment: $66 million

Description: Fuyao Glass, the world’s largest automotive glass manufacturer, will significantly expand its presence in the Detroit region, investing $66 million in a new logistics and factory facility in Plymouth. Fuyao originally entered the North American market in 2008 with an establishment in Oakland County’s Orion Township. The latest move will consolidate existing operations into one location, but add an additional 533 jobs for a new business unit that will finish the glass before shipping to automakers.

Company: iSource

Location: Flint

Partner Lead: Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce

New Jobs: 45 initial, up to 100 over the next two years

New Investment: $625,000

Description: iSource is a rapidly growing software company that developed a cloud-based web-to-print service. After reaching capacity at its Fenton headquarters, iSource made the decision to relocate to the recently renovated, historic Dryden Building in downtown Flint. The move will initially create 45 new jobs, with the possibility of reaching 100 total personnel over the next two years. The plans are part of the company’s larger vision to create a “tech town” in Flint and play a significant part of the city’s revitalization.

Company: Strongback Properties

Location: Adrian

Partner Lead: Lenawee Now

New Jobs: 0

New Investment: $4.35 million

Description: Strongback Properties is a Michigan-based real estate development firm founded by business partners Steve Hickman and Doug Kapnick. The company is currently renovating three historic, yet blighted buildings in downtown Adrian. Once completed, the project will add 17 new apartments as well as office and retail space to one of the city’s main corridors.

About Destination Detroit

Representing the 11 counties that make up Southeastern Michigan, Destination Detroit is a collaborative business attraction effort led by the Detroit Regional Chamber in partnership with the region’s principal economic development agencies. Each quarter, Destination Detroit aggregates and promotes the investment and job creation results for projects directly impacted by these organizations.

Michigan Hot Jobs! Expo Sizzles with Job Opportunities

The month of March is sizzling with local job opportunities around the Metro Detroit area. Hiring employers are preparing to meet with potential applicants at the Michigan Hot Jobs! Expo happening on March 30.

There is a growing need to hire experienced professionals, college alumni, military veterans and entry-level workers to fill over 500 positions; resumes are being accepted for positions in Engineering, Information Technology, Skilled Trades, Seasonal, Manufacturing, Production, Industrial, General Labor, Customer Services, Retail, Management, Restaurant, Accounting, Banking, Office Support, Clerical, Data Entry, Call Center, Installation, Technical, Machining, Electrical, Mortgage, Financial Planning, Insurance, Education, Truck Driving, Real Estate, Nursing, Rehabilitation, Human Services, and other career fields. will host the Michigan Hot Jobs! Expo to be held on Thursday, March 30, 2017 at the Marriott Hotel located at 3600 Centerpointe Parkway in Pontiac, Michigan from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. We have collaborated with the top employers and recruiters in search for the best candidates. The upcoming event will feature over 500 immediate job openings; including several union skilled trades electrician and boiler operator positions with Fiat Chrysler, armed hospital security positions with Teachout Security Solutions, CDL truck driver positions with  North Star Ranch and caregiver and nursing positions with  Life Center Inc. Participating companies include Global Information Technology, Quicken Loans, The Dako Group, HTC Global Services, Sani-Vac Service, Special Tree Rehabilitation, Mass Mutual of Michigan Metro and many other employers.

Information regarding the upcoming job expo is available on the company website at or by calling 734-956-4550.