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April 1: Education Coalition Recommendations to Reform Detroit’s School System Key to Restoring Path to Middle Class

Education Coalition Recommendations to Reform Detroit’s School System Key to Restoring Path to Middle Class

Recommendations of the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren presented to Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday in order to reform the city’s education system offer a viable path forward for Detroit’s middle class families.

The coalition has been meeting since December and is made up of religious leaders, educators, civic leaders and business owners. Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah, who serves as a co-chair of the finance committee for the coalition, said Detroit students are paying the price for decades of bad decisions made by adults.

“In order to break this cycle, we must take action to solve this problem and once again make education the ladder that children in poverty can use to reach the middle class and beyond,” Baruah said.

Among its recommendations, the 36-member coalition called for the creation of a Detroit Education Commission, appointed by Mayor Mike Duggan, which would oversee the opening and closing of all schools in the city. Citywide performance standards for charter schools developed by the Commission would also be required. If agreed upon, governance of Detroit Public Schools and its 97 schools would also be returned to an elected school board instead of a state-appointed emergency manager, and the state would absorb the district’s debt.

Gov. Snyder: Healthy Workforce Vital to Michigan’s Continued Comeback

More than 200 attendees filled the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2015 Health Care Leaders Forum on Tuesday at the Detroit branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Among regional and national health care thought leaders at the Forum, Gov. Rick Snyder delivered a keynote address, sharing his vision for a healthier Michigan. Snyder said that the state must take a more holistic approach to health care in order for residents to be more successful. Addressing the challenges of the federal government’s Affordable Care Act regulations, Snyder admitted that Michigan must continue to improve cost, quality and access to health care while also calling on Michiganders to take ownership of their own wellness and preventative care. The Governor also encouraged residents to work together to identify and help solve problems within the health care system.

Other keynote speakers at the Forum included Jan Berger, president and CEO of Health Intelligence Partners; Dee Edington, founder and chairman of Edington Associates LLC.; Richard Gilfillan, president of Trinity Health; and Mark McClellan, director of the Health Care Innovation and Value Initiative and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Mary Barra, Mike Duggan and Kevyn Orr Among Fortune’s Top 50 Greatest Global Leaders

Fortune magazine recently released its list of the 50 Greatest World Leaders, among them are General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and former emergency manager Kevyn Orr.

Barra is ranked No. 9 on the list, credited with calmly handling General Motors’ ignition switch crisis and “juggling the demands of investors, regulators, customers, plaintiffs and employees on one of the business world’s most visible stages.” Fortune credits Barra for helping to transform the automaker’s culture and revitalize the automotive industry.

Citing Duggan and Orr’s handling of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy and its aftermath, Fortune ranked both at No. 20 on the list that celebrates “extraordinary men and women who transform business, government and philanthropy.”

Frank Venegas Jr. Shares Why Community Outreach is Integral to Business Success at Inside the CEO Mind

For Ideal Group CEO and Chamber Board member Frank Venegas Jr., community involvement is more than public relations, it’s an integral facet of both his life and business. Speaking at the Chamber’s Inside the CEO Mind series last week, Venegas shared how his engagement with the Southwest Detroit community has helped him both grow his business and create opportunity for local residents.

Ideal Group began after Venegas sold a 1979 Cadillac he had won in a competition and used the money to start his business. Now, revenue for the company not only exceeds $200 million, but Venegas stands out as a regional business leader and pillar in the community, providing jobs to local residents, supporting nearby Detroit Cristo Rey High School and helping transform a once abandoned Southwest Detroit parking lot into an urban garden.

Venegas was recently recognized as a social justice champion through Dartmouth College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award. To learn more about Ideal Group, or Venegas’ one-of-a-kind success story, visit

Business, Government Leaders to Tackle Workforce Issues at Forbes’ ‘Reinventing America’ Summit in Detroit

On May 4-5, Forbes will convene a first-of-its-kind event, with top leaders from business, education and government tackling the critical issues facing America’s workforce at The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit.Reinventing America: The Workforce Summit” will focus on key issues on attracting and retaining top talent in order for businesses to remain competitive in the global marketplace.

Announced speakers include businessman and investor Warren Buffett, Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corp., Steve Case, co-founder of AOL Inc., former Chamber Board Chair Cindy Pasky, CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions, and Gov. Rick Snyder. Attendance at the Summit is by invitation only and costs $295. For a special Chamber member rate, enter the promotional code DRC2015. Click here for more information and to request an invitation.