Food industry job training & development program launches in Eastern Market District

DETROIT, April 1, 2019…Four of Detroit’s foundational food businesses are joining forces to launch Food Industry Jobs, a training and development pilot program that will prepare workers for stable jobs and career paths in the food and agriculture trade. This sector provides the highest number of entry-level, living-wage jobs and makes up more than 20% of Michigan’s workforce.

With over 300 years of combined experience in food resourcing, processing, packing, distribution and retail, Eastern Market Corporation, along with partners Wolverine Packing Co, E.W. Grobbel, and Germack, are working with Greenhorn Training Solutions on a comprehensive program that will prepare participants to succeed in the food and agriculture industry.

“Food processing and distribution provides a great portal for Detroiters who have limited skill sets to enter the workforce. There are many growth opportunities for dedicated workers to continuously build their skills and talent,” said Dan Carmody, president, Eastern Market Corporation.

The program’s first cohort will take 25 people through 72 hours of rigorous classroom instruction over two-and-a-half weeks, beginning May 1. Participants will learn industry basics and career skills including time management, conflict resolution, financial literacy and teamwork. Participants also will complete certification training and testing in ServSafe Food Handling.

There is no cost to the participant, but they must first apply for the program online at beginning April 1. Qualified applicants will be enrolled at an April 24 project launch, where they will meet the Food Industry Jobs partner businesses.

Participants who complete the course will attend a graduation event May 17, with interviews occurring the week after. These jobs will help to fill the food and agriculture career pipeline.

“Growing and developing people both personally and professionally is the heart of what we do every day,” said Jason Grobbel, CEO of E.W. Grobbel. “Trained, dedicated, hard-working people have tremendous opportunity within the food industry. Food industry jobs are vital to Michigan’s economic diversity and stability.”

The Food Industry Jobs partners aim to train a total of 120 people in four cohorts over the next year.

“We’ll evaluate after the first cohort, but we are applying for grants and looking to connect with additional partners to help fund the program on a continuous basis,” Carmody said.

In addition to the four partners, Michigan State University and Detroit Edison Public School Academy are consulting on curriculum design and instruction, to ensure a training experience that is suitable for all educational backgrounds. For more information or to apply to Food Industry Jobs, go to

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

JVS Seeks Employers for May 10 Job Fair in Southfield

Employers: fill your job openings by meeting and prescreening job candidates at the fourth annual JVS Job Connection from 9 a.m.- noon, May 10, at the Southfield Pavilion in Southfield. A few recruitment booths for companies are still available.

Open to the general public and veterans at no charge, the job fair is expected to attract hundreds of job seekers.

Job Connection will feature more than 40 companies including FedEx, DTE Energy, City of Southfield, Robert Half and more. Companies interested in participating may contact Angela Bevak at or (248) 233-4482 and visit

JVS, a career resource for job seekers and employers, sponsors the event in partnership with Oakland County Michigan Works!, the City of Southfield and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

MICHauto Student Forum Offers Glimpse of Exciting, In-Demand Careers

By Daniel A. Washington 

Helping to debunk common myths about the auto and mobility industry, MICHauto, in partnership with Ford Motor Co., Oakland University and Planet M, hosted its “Opportunity Auto.Mobility” student career forum on Feb. 16 that included a keynote and networking reception for more than 70 students. The event aims to better engage prospective talent with auto industry experts and employers.

“Auto manufacturers are looking for people who will bring a fresh perspective to the table,” said Jessica Robinson, director of city solutions (Ford Smart Mobility) for Ford, during her keynote address.

Robinson shared her journey leading up to her current role at Ford that included stops at Zipcar, one of the first ride-sharing companies in Detroit, and startup accelerator Techstars.

Robinson reiterated that in today’s industry, anyone with an interest can find a niche for their skills to thrive.

“Starting my career with Zipcar helped me understand the number of opportunities the auto industry can provide,” said Robinson.  “Who would have ever thought an anthropology major would work in the auto and mobility space?”

In addition, a panel of former Oakland students who currently work in the automotive industry discussed the possibilities of international travel, positive work culture and upward career mobility that their jobs offer.

“The autonomous tech space is exploding right now and is offering a number of opportunities to those in a number of fields to work and thrive in a creative and innovative way,” said Robinson.

The panel was moderated by MICHauto’s Rob Luce and included panelists: Mike Dudek, manager of commodity purchasing for Faurecia North America Inc.; Samantha Roberts, communications co-op for Yazaki North America Inc.; Elise Smith, manager of human resources and business partner for American Axle & Manufacturing Inc.; and Cassandra Traynor, manager of human resources for Brose North America Inc.

Following the presentations, students discussed employment opportunities with 16 auto-related companies at the networking reception. Companies in attendance represented a number of counties across the region showcasing the diversity and vibrancy of the industry.

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

Keynote speakers for Oct. 19-21 Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium focus on economic revival in Flint; registration is underway

W. David Tarver, founder and president of The Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative (UEI) and chief organizer of the third annual Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium, to be held in Flint from Oct. 19 to 21, announced keynote speakers for the event. They are Andrew R. Highsmith, Ph.D., author of Demolition Means Progress, and Jeffery Robinson, Ph.D., an urban economic development expert from Rutgers University.

Registration for the event is underway at

Dr. Robinson is an award-winning business school professor, international speaker, and entrepreneur. Since 2008, he has been a leading faculty member at Rutgers University Business School where he is academic director and senior fellow at the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development. The Center is a unique interdisciplinary venue for innovative thinking and research on entrepreneurial activity and economic development in urban environments.

Dr. Robinson’s research explores how business practices and entrepreneurship can be used to impact societal issues. He is particularly concerned about community and economic development issues for urban metropolitan areas in the United States and abroad. In 2007, he was selected as the recipient of the Aspen Institute’s Social Impact Faculty Pioneer Award for his research, service and teaching activities at the intersection of business and society. In 2011, his course, Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, was recognized as a model of Innovative Entrepreneurship Education by the U.S. Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Highsmith is the author of Demolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan, and the Fate of the American Metropolis, one of the most comprehensive works yet written on the history of inequality and metropolitan development in modern America. The book was published in July 2015 by the University of Chicago Press and won the 2016 American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Book Award. Demolition Means Progress uses the case of Flint to explain how the perennial quest for urban renewal contributed to mass suburbanization, racial and economic division, deindustrialization, and political fragmentation. Dr. Highsmith is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. A former Flint resident, he received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan in 2009. His doctoral dissertation won the 2009 John Reps Prize for Best Dissertation in American Planning History from the Society for American City and Regional Planning History and the Urban History Association’s Best Dissertation Award for 2009-10. He is a specialist in modern American history, urban history and public policy.

UEI founder David Tarver will present the keynote address at the Flint Community Program and Reception, which will take place on Wed. Oct. 19 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Mott Community College Event Center. A Flint native, Tarver holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan and also lectures in U-M’s Center for Entrepreneurship. In 1983, at age 30, he launched Telecom Analysis Systems, Inc., a telecommunications instrumentation business, and sold it in 1995 for $30 million. Working as group president for the company’s buyer, Tarver then spearheaded development of a telecommunications group with a market value of more than $2 billion. He left that business in 1999 to devote more time to family and community service, ultimately returning to Southeast Michigan in 2007. He is the author of “Proving Ground: A Memoir,” chronicling his childhood in Flint, his educational pursuits and his entrepreneurial journey.

The Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium convenes entrepreneurs and thought leaders in business, academia, community organizations and government to facilitate innovative business solutions that bring economic opportunity and quality of life improvements to urban communities. Major sponsors for #UES2016 include University of Michigan-Flint School of Management, Mott Community College, U-M Center for Entrepreneurship, U-M Innovate Blue, Skypoint Ventures, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The complete list of sponsors can be found at

New to this year’s symposium are the “Give Us What You Got” community pitch sessions that elicit business ideas, community improvement suggestions, and gripes from everyday Flint residents. This year’s event will also showcase the finals of two business model competitions – the Urban Infrastructure Challenge and the Urban Jobs Challenge. Winners will be selected and prizes awarded during the event.

Details on Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium 2016
 When: #UES2016 begins on Wednesday Oct. 19 with an evening Community Program and Reception. Thursday is the Conference Program, which will consist of speakers and panel discussions, and will be followed by a “Business Matrix” networking reception at the Flint Farmers Market. Friday’s “Accelerate U” Seminars Program will include compelling presentations on topics of great interest to actual and aspiring entrepreneurs.
 Where: The Wednesday Community Program will take place at the Mott Community College Event Center. The Thursday Conference Program will be held at the U-M Northbank Center in downtown Flint, followed by the “Business Matrix” reception at the Flint Farmers Market. The Friday “Accelerate U” Seminars Program will take place at the Mott Community College Regional Technology Center. See the UEI web site for details.
 Cost: The Wednesday night community reception is free, but pre-registration required. Registration cost for the Thursday programs, including the Conference and Business Matrix Reception, is $25.00. Registration for the Friday Seminars Program is $25.00.
 Registration: advance registration is required; purchase tickets online at
 Event questions: for general questions about the event, please email

About the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative
The Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative, founded by W. David Tarver, a technology entrepreneur, Michigan native and author of “Proving Ground: A Memoir,” is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation offering programming and resources that encourage, facilitate and enable the development of for-profit businesses that explicitly and intentionally address the needs of urban communities.

Will Brexit Impact Michigan Business? Detroit Panel Says ‘Not So Fast’

For the first time since the United Kingdom voted to exit the European Union this past summer, experts with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s economic research department tackled key questions from the Southeast Michigan business community on the impact of Brexit in the United States during a panel discussion hosted by the Detroit Association for Business Economics’ (DABE) in September. Senior Vice President David Marshall and Vice President Hesna Gena cautioned from an economist’s standpoint, businesses should not be quick to panic. Read highlights from the discussion.

Brexit Broken Down:

  • In order to exit the Union, the United Kingdom needs to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. It will take two years to agree on the terms of the split. However, the United Kingdom won’t invoke Article 50 until 2017 when an outline of the agreement is in place.
  • Once invoked, the clock starts ticking and can’t be stopped unless unanimously voted on. This process could take at least eight to nine years.
  • What happens in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world depends on a final trade agreement, which has various options ranging from little change (least economically harmful) to many changes (most economically harmful).
  • Until a decision is reached on a trade agreement, there won’t be much impact on the economy in the short-term.
  • Much of the impact is likely to happen in the long-term – 10 to 15 years from now.
  • The biggest impact will happen between the United Kingdom and the European Union, due to their closely tied regions and economies.
  • For the United States, the direct impact of Brexit will be low. This is due to the United States’ relatively closed economy with very little trading with the European Union. Thus, the direct trade linkages are not big enough to have an impact on the United States.
  • Changes to the potential trade agreement will determine how it impacts the rest of the world. Thus, the bigger the change, the bigger the impact.

American Society of Employers’ (ASE) Quarterly Economic & Employment Survey results for fourth quarter 2015 reflect continuing optimism for Michigan business in 2016

The American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, has released its 2015 Quarterly Economic & Employment Survey – Fourth Quarter results. The news is good for Michigan, with the majority of respondents seeing the state’s business climate remaining stable or improving in the next six months, with hiring following a similar trend.

Highlights of ASE 2015 Quarterly Economic & Employment Survey – Fourth Quarter:
• The percentage of Michigan employers who believe their business outlook will improve over the next six months remains in the mid-thirties, while more than half (54%) of employers see their six-month outlook as remaining stable.
• Along with this positive business outlook, 88% of Michigan employers are expecting to increase their hiring levels or keep them consistent over the next six months. Only 4% expect to freeze hiring and 8% are planning to decrease hiring.
• 2015 shows a 17% increase in violation of workplace policies as the reason for involuntary terminations from the previous year.
• Across the state of Michigan, the average annual hires increased from almost 14% in 2014 to over 20% in 2015.
• Absenteeism as a reason for involuntary separations decreased 16% from 3rd quarter 2015.
• Personal reasons and retirement as reasons for voluntary separation have both increased since 2013 by about 10%.

The survey results were announced by ASE President and CEO, Mary E. Corrado.

“Our survey findings reflect a continuing positive business climate in Michigan for the first six months of 2016 and that’s great news to report during the first quarter,” Corrado said. ““The data on hiring and terminations suggest that both employees and employers have stepped up their respective commitments to maximizing productivity and overall workforce excellence.”

Background information on the ASE 2015 Quarterly Economic & Employment Survey – Fourth Quarter
• 116 organizations from across Michigan participated.
• Organizations with one to 500 Michigan employees made up more than 80% of the survey sample, while organizations with 501 to 1,000 Michigan employees represented nearly 8% of the sample. The remaining 11.9% of the sample come from organizations with over 1,000 Michigan employees.
• A variety of industries are represented, with manufacturing organizations representing nearly 60% of the survey sample. The remaining 40% is represented by trades and services organizations.

To obtain a copy of ASE’s 2015 Quarterly Economic & Employment Survey – Fourth Quarter, contact ASE’s Compensation and Benefits Surveys department at or 248.353.4500. This survey is available free of charge to ASE members, and is $525 for non-members.

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization
The American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit trade association providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers. Since 1902, member organizations have relied on ASE to be their single, cost-effective source for information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people.

Learn more about ASE at

Southeast Michigan job demand in Q4 2013 double that of Q4 2012

The Workforce Intelligence Network of Southeast Michigan (WIN) today released its job market trends report for the 4th quarter of 2013. In the nine county region including Genessee/Shiawasee; Monroe; Livingston; Macomb; Oakland; St. Clair; Washtenaw; and Wayne, demand for jobs based on online postings doubled from 53,306 in Q4 2012 to 112,940 in Q4 2013 – an overall growth of 111.9% year to year.

Fourth quarter (Q4) 2013 job demand was below third quarter (Q3) 2013 levels; however, third quarter numbers were part of a six-month period of record high job demand levels that continued at a more modest rate in Q4 2013. The full report can be viewed at

Said WIN Executive Director Lisa Katz: “We are looking forward to this demand for workers to continue and affect positive changes in hiring and growth in the labor force.”

For Q4 2013, WIN also found the top occupational clusters to be:

• Retail and Hospitality (28,591 postings, 198 percent growth over Q4 2012)
• Information Technology (12,498 postings, 46 percent growth over Q4 2012)
• Healthcare (12,427 postings, 109 percent growth over Q4 2012)
• Engineers and designers (7,014 postings, 37 percent growth over Q4 2012)
• Skilled trades and technicians (2,726 postings, 32 percent growth over Q4 2012)

And the top in-demand jobs:

• Retail Salespersons (4,181 postings)
• Software Developers (3,982 postings)
• Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing (3,483 postings)
• Registered Nurses (3,445 postings)
• Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers (2,479 postings)

Recognized as Leading Private Company Job Creator by Inc. Magazine, BlueWater Technologies opens downtown Detroit Office


The certified women-owned business, headquartered in Southfield, Michigan
opens its seventh location in North America and fourth location in Michigan

SOUTHFIELD, MI – BlueWater Technologies Inc. (, an industry leading provider of custom audio visual integration and event technology, was recently recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s leading private company job creators. BlueWater Technologies was a recipient of Inc. Magazine’s 2nd annual “Hire Power Award.”

Recognizing “heroes of the U.S. economy” who have generated the most jobs in an 18 month period, Inc. Magazine ranked BlueWater Technologies as #9 in the State of Michigan for private job creation as part of its Hire Power Awards. This is the second time in 2013 that BlueWater Technologies has been recognized by Inc. Magazine, which previously named the company #67 in the Metro Detroit Area as part of its U.S. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies.

“We understand the vital role of small and mid-sized businesses in Michigan’s economic resurgence, and especially Detroit’s. Opening a downtown Detroit office is a natural outgrowth of our expertise in historic building installations and audiovisual integrations. We are excited to bring our corporate audiovisual and event solutions to the growing list of companies committing to the “D,” said Tom Battaglia, BlueWater Technologies’ President.

The Detroit office of BlueWater Technologies is located at Campus Martius in the First National Building, 660 Woodward Avenue, Detroit 48226. Contact Mr. Gary Lusk at 800-344-6575 ext 572 for more information about the latest business collaboration, meeting space, and corporate event technology.

BlueWater Technologies is a national provider of Meeting & Event Technology, Audio Visual Integration, Digital Activations, and Custom Displays & Fixtures. We are an industry leader in the design, engineering and implementation of custom technology-based solutions. Our solutions have been exceeding client expectations for nearly 30 years. We are a certified woman-owned business headquartered in Southfield, Michigan with additional locations in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Mesick, MI; Indianapolis, IN; Orlando, FL and Washington D.C.

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2M in 2010 to over 6M today. For more information, visit

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Mary Bujold at 800-344-6575 ext 572 or email at