Statewide Business Organizations Share Statement on Budget Negotiations

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Business Leaders for Michigan, the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, the Lansing Regional Chamber, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Realtors Association, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and the Midland Business Alliance made the following statement regarding ongoing road funding negotiations:

“As budget negotiations continue, job providers are clear that fixing Michigan’s worst-in-the-nation transportation infrastructure is a top priority. As the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission and other reports illustrate, solving this problem will require a multi-year investment of billions of new dollars.  We acknowledge there are differences of opinion regarding how to secure $2 to $2.5 billion annually, but the need is not in question.

“Michigan’s economic competitiveness is harmed by our failing infrastructure and we expect our elected leaders to work cooperatively to dramatically improve roads and bridges across the state.  The window of opportunity that exists in this nonelection year must not be wasted, and we strongly believe meaningful progress needs to be achieved prior to recessing for the summer.”

News Coverage
Crain’s Detroit Business: Michigan Business Groups to Legislature: Fix Roads Funding Before You Go on Vacation

February 3: Chamber Hosts Kick Off of Mayor’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Program to Rally Employers to Connect Youth with Jobs

Chamber Hosts Kick Off of Mayor’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Program to Rally Employers to Connect Youth with Jobs

The Detroit Regional Chamber hosted a kick-off breakfast for Mayor Mike Duggan’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) program on Jan. 27. The program connects Detroit youths with summer jobs through participating businesses and creates sustainable career pathways. Speakers at the event included Tonya Allen, CEO of The Skillman Foundation; former Mayor Dave Bing; Mayor Duggan; and Ed Egnatios, program director for neighborhoods at The Skillman Foundation.

Duggan said the goal of the program is to unite existing job programs across the city and to better prepare students for professional careers and put them on a path toward success. In its first year, the Mayor challenged employers to hire 5,000 Detroit residents ages 14-24 between June and August.

The Chamber is co-chairing the program and has pledged to match 500 students with jobs. Eligible students are recruited through Detroit schools, community organizations and the initiative’s program partners, including The Skillman Foundation, JPMorgan Chase and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The program pairs candidates with employers based on interest and ability.

The GDYT program was first announced at last year’s Mackinac Policy Conference, and support for the program is a Conference To-Do List item. For more information, or to sign up as a participating business, email

Business Attraction, MICHauto Testify on Priorities at Commerce Committee Hearing in Lansing

Detroit Regional Chamber executives testified in front of the Michigan House Commerce Committee last week to provide newly sworn in members of the Legislature an overview of the Chamber’s economic development programs. The testimony comes as the Chamber’s advocacy team continues to partner with lawmakers in support of the bipartisan pro-growth policy needed to create the best possible economic climate in Michigan.

Maureen Krauss, vice president of economic development, highlighted the Chamber’s role as the voice for business attraction in the Detroit region, noting that Detroit is a more recognized brand internationally than Michigan. Glenn Stevens, vice president of MICHauto and strategic development, showcased Michigan’s continued role as the global epicenter of the auto industry and MICHauto’s role in preserving, protecting and growing the industry across the state. Brad Williams, vice president of government relations, also highlighted the emerging positive relationship between the city of Detroit and leaders in Lansing leading to the passage of the Grand Bargain last spring.

Cindy Pasky at Inside the CEO Mind: Business Growth Requires Strong Leaders, Innovation

Learning how to anticipate and adapt to changing customer needs is a key component for business success. That’s the message that Cindy Pasky, CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3) and former Detroit Regional Chamber Board chairwoman, conveyed to nearly 60 attendees at the Chamber’s Inside the CEO Mind series at the Detroit Athletic Club last week.

Pasky, whose company will celebrate its 25th anniversary in October, has grown S3 from a small start up to the 16th largest woman-owned staffing firm in the United States with 31 branches and more than 2,000 employees. A major factor in that success, Pasky said, is due to a customer-centered mentality across the organization and a diversified workforce that increasingly targets military veterans.

She said entrepreneurs have to be “intentional leaders” and show customers and staff that they care, have the courage to make tough decisions, create a sincere culture and engage customers in that culture.

“The way you grow your business is to know your numbers, costs and customers intimately,” Pasky said.

Inside the CEO Mind will continue on Feb. 10 featuring Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas. Hear the inside story that compelled the university to open its Detroit Center. For more information or to register for the event, click here.

‘Yes’ Vote for Road Funding Top Priority in Chamber Appearance on WJR’s Paul W. Smith Show from Lansing

Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber, appeared on WJR 760’s Paul W. Smith Show last week in Lansing to discuss the Chamber’s advocacy efforts on transportation funding as part of its top 10 policy priorities for 2015.

Williams said fixing Michigan’s roads is a crucial economic and safety issue and spreading awareness and advocating for a “yes” vote will dominate the advocacy team’s agenda leading up to the May 5 ballot initiative. The Chamber will also continue to support policies that allow for the completion of the M-1 Rail, the development and implementation of the Regional Transit Authority’s strategy, the New International Trade Crossing and other high-impact transportation projects.

As Detroit continues to rebuild, Williams said supporting legislation that assists the city in managing its emergence from bankruptcy also remains a top priority, as well as education reform and accessibility. Click here to listen to the interview.

January 20: Chamber Supports May Ballot Initiative to Fix Michigan’s Roads

Chamber Supports May Ballot Initiative to Fix Michigan’s Roads

The Detroit Regional Chamber is supporting the May 5 ballot initiative designed to fund transportation infrastructure and fix Michigan’s roads. The current condition of the roads hurts economic investment and impedes the region and state’s resurgence.

Creating a solution for Michigan’s roads has been a top priority for the Chamber, which last fall supported a proposal by the Senate that more closely tied the cost of fixing the roads to the users of the roads – and prevented the uncertainty and cost of a ballot initiative.

The Chamber is advocating for a “yes” vote on the initiative, which would generate an estimated $1.3 billion annually for roads and bridges, along with additional funding for schools, local governments and public transit. To read the Chamber’s statement announcing its support, click here.

Get Your Mackinac Policy Conference Questions Answered, Feb. 12

The Detroit Regional Chamber will host a special Mackinac edition of its Membership Maximizer program from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12 at the Chamber for anyone planning to attend the Mackinac Policy Conference for the first time or attended a past Conference and may have questions.

This special edition of Membership Maximizer is designed to help prospective attendees get the most out of their Conference experience. It will also provide participants with the resources and knowledge to make the 2015 Conference successful. To register for this event, click here.

Böllhoff USA Partners with MICHauto to Donate SMART Board to Carver STEM Academy

MICHauto, an economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, recently presented a brand new SMART board to an eighth grade Algebra class at Carver STEM Academy in Detroit. The SMART board was donated by Böllhoff USA, a MICHauto partner company whose North American headquarters is based in Troy.

The donation underscores MICHauto’s talent pillar, which aims to cultivate the talent pipeline for the automotive industry by partnering with schools and organizations across the state. Carver STEM Academy also was the winning recipient of MICHauto’s photo contest in 2014 during the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Jet Toy Challenge. It was then that, after speaking with the school’s principal, MICHauto saw a need to update Carver’s technology in order to prepare students for 21st century careers.

The SMART board was installed on Dec. 11. A mentoring program to educate Carver students about opportunities in the automotive industry is also in the works.

Last Chance: Enter #MichiganIsAuto Contest to Win $500 Gift Card

With the 2015 North American International Auto Show in full swing, MICHauto and the Detroit Regional Chamber are hosting a social media contest as a platform to reinforce why Michigan is the epicenter of the auto industry. MICHauto will award a $500 VISA gift card to a lucky participant who posts the best, most creative reason why #MichiganIsAuto.

To enter the contest, simply post your submission on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #MichiganIsAuto this week. A winner will be selected on Friday, Jan. 23.

Congratulations to last week’s contest winner, Kristin Shaw, whose creative Twitter post (pictured) captured why Michigan is the global epicenter of the automotive industry. To learn more about MICHauto and the #MichiganIsAuto campaign, click here.