COVID-19 Update: Accenture Launches Program to Support Black Entrepreneurs, Auburn Hills Medical Equipment Maker Hiring with $1K Bonus, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
graph of daily coronavirus cases in Michigan
Courtesy of Bridge

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Accenture Launches Program to Support Black Entrepreneurs
Accenture, which has offices in Detroit, Livonia, Troy, and Ann Arbor, has launched the Black Founders Development Program, a new initiative that will invest in and support Black technology startup founders and entrepreneurs.

Led by Accenture Ventures, the program will seek to help Black business owners and leaders advance and grow their technology businesses through greater, more direct access to venture capital, corporate mentorship, and strategic connections with Accenture business partners and clients.

As part of the new program, Accenture Ventures is establishing the Black Founders Development Fund. The fund will make strategic investments in early stage, Black-founded and run software startups and other market development initiatives, applying Accenture’s technology, innovation, and investment expertise, and network of technology ecosystem partners. The fund will have an initial focus on North America, with plans to expand globally at a later date.

“Our Black Founders Development Program will help drive economic inclusion and create new advancement opportunities for Black business owners and leaders by bringing to bear the full power of our global technology business and extensive relationships with clients, partners, and the venture capital community,” says Kathryn Ross, global open innovation lead and the Black Founders Development Program lead for Accenture Ventures. “Leadership, resources, technology, and investment knowledge are all areas where Accenture can deliver significant support to Black entrepreneurs, helping them to accelerate innovation and further grow their businesses.”

To help guide its future investment strategy, Accenture Ventures has established a Black Founders Development Advisory Council made up of diverse, established business leaders and partners to help guide and mentor Black founders and CEOs.

Auburn Hills Medical Equipment Manufacturer Hiring, Offers $1K Bonus
Auburn Hills-based medical equipment manufacturer Jabil has announced plans to fill more than 200 positions by the end of the year as part of its work nationwide in producing COVID-19 testing kits. New hires at the entry level will receive a $1,000 staggered bonus.

The positions offer comprehensive benefits including health care, 401k matching, employee referral bonuses, employee stock purchase plan, tuition reimbursement, and paid time off. Jabil also provides bonus potential to all employees, awarded quarterly based on site performance.

“At this challenging time, our Jabil team is proud to be able to offer these opportunities in Auburn Hills,” says John Kraus, senior director of operations for Jabil. “We are committed to ensuring our employees have a safe place to work, even as we combat the pandemic. We manufacture our own PPE for our employees, have social distancing measures in place and maintain clean environments in our facilities.”

The work performed at Jabil in Auburn Hills is heavily focused on the manufacturing of medical devices, including surgical generators and sterilization devices, in addition to the COVID-19 test kits and other non-healthcare products.

Interested individuals should visit here and search by location Auburn Hills, MI.

MRLA Offers Resources for Hospitality Industry
The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, in conjunction with ServSafe, is offering the state’s hospitality industry free resources this month as part of this year’s National Food Safety Month. This year’s theme is Managing Risk: 30 Years of Food Safety.

Each year, a new theme is featured during NFSM with free training activities and posters for the restaurant and foodservice industry to help reinforce proper food safety practices and procedures. New training tools and resources are available here each week, including activity sheets, posters, and infographics.

“National Food Safety Month is a great way to educate our industry even further and improve current food safety and health procedures across the board,” says Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the MRLA. “We are committed to helping the entire hospitality industry by providing essential resources and information to ensure the health and safety of all.”

This year’s NFSM ties directly into the MRLA ServSafe Dining Commitment in which restaurants across the state are encouraged to pledge their commitment here. Only restaurants that have achieved ServSafe credentials are able to pledge the MRLA ServSafe Dining Commitment. ServSafe is the highest standard of food safety certification for the foodservice industry.

Community Foundation Awards for Grants for Organizations Serving Immigrants and Refugees
Detroit’s Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has awarded grants totaling more than $200,000 to 23 local organizations supporting the needs of immigrants and refugees amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and recent social injustices.

The rapid response grants are made through the Southeast Michigan Immigrant and Refugee Funder Collaborative, a group of philanthropic partners that seeks to address a needs gap of the immigrant and refugee population in the region. The grants, which range from $5,000 to $10,000, are designed to support a variety of groups and their needs, such as:

  • 1 Michigan for the Global Majority, to support COVID-19 response efforts focused on undocumented community members in metro Detroit.
  • Chaldean Community Foundation, for support to provide human services and case management to immigrants and refugees.
  • Michigan Advocacy Program, for its Farmworker Legal Services branch to establish training for medical professionals and outreach workers who provide COVID-19 support services to migrant and immigrant farmworkers.

“As the needs of immigrants and refugees in our region continue to evolve during the pandemic, we are here to serve as a source of support,” says Mariam C. Noland, president of the Community Foundation. “We are proud to work alongside these groups and help them continue their vital work with populations that are often overlooked and underserved.”

In addition to contributions from the Community Foundation, the Collaborative’s work is also made possible by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, The Kresge Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.

A complete list of organizations receiving grants is available here.

The Shyft Group in Novi to Expand Florida Manufacturing Footprint
The Shyft Group, a Novi-based specialty vehicle manufacturer, has announced plans to open a new 35,000-square-foot facility in Jupiter, Fla.,

The plant will be used for Strobes-R-Us specialty vehicle fleet upfit and retail sales, while providing the company’s Utilimaster brand with additional regional manufacturing and assembly capacity. Production at the new facility is expected to begin this fall.

Once complete, the flexible manufacturing facility will bring The Shyft Group’s Florida-based regional manufacturing and distribution footprint to more than 50,000 square feet, immediately expanding the brand’s upfit capacity and retail sales capabilities.

“Strobes-R-Us has been a leading supplier of upfit and lighting solutions for federal, state, and local government agencies for decades from its flagship Pompano Beach facility,” said Daryl Adams, president and CEO of The Shyft Group. “Business wins have led to the recent need for expanded capacity in both the Strobes-R-Us and Utilimaster businesses. We are encouraged to see demand continue on an upward trajectory in both the last mile delivery and specialty service fleet arenas. Accordingly, we look forward to welcoming new employees to The Shyft Group family, in short order.”

The expansion is expected to immediately create 40 new skilled trades positions. For more information, visit here.

Northville’s Tuscan Café Announces Plans to Move and Expand
Tuscan Café, a 25-year-old neighborhood coffee house and eatery in Northville, is planning to move in the coming weeks to a larger location in the center of the historic downtown district at 141 E. Main St.

Tuscan Café will redevelop the 5,000-square-foot space that was most recently the home for My Little Paris Café and the Next Chapter Bookstore. The space also served as a set for the film “Scream4.”

“We’re very thankful that our customers have stood by us during these challenging times,” says Will Hundley, second generation owner of Tuscan Café. “We’ve been a proud member of this community for 25 years now and our new location, in the center of downtown, will help us continue serving our patrons…”

Hundley notes that he expects the move and expansion will create up to a dozen new jobs on his team, including a first-ever executive chef position.

Other expected changes include renovating the new space to feel like an authentic Italian-café; reconfiguring the entire two-level indoor seating capacity, along with an outdoor front sidewalk and back patio area; expanding carry-out options; and continuing its original menu items, including fresh local specialties from Zingerman’s Bakery, Guernsey’s Dairy, and Tuscan’s own locally roasted coffee.

Tuscan will continue daily operations out of its current Center St. location until the move is complete, which is expected during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Enbridge to Resume Operation of East Segment of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac
Enbridge will restart the east segment of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac after receiving authorization from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and approval from the Michigan Circuit Court.

“The decision to allow the restart of the east segment of Line 5 is very positive for the many residents and businesses in Michigan and the Great Lakes region who depend on the energy Line 5 delivers,” says Vern Yu, executive vice president and president of liquids pipelines at Enbridge. “Enbridge will continue to focus on the safe operation of the dual Line 5 pipelines at the Straits of Mackinac, ensuring the Great Lakes are protected while also reliably delivering the energy and feedstock that helps to fuel Michigan’s and the region’s economy.”

Enbridge says it has kept the state of Michigan fully advised of the status of the west and east segment investigations and will continue to do so.

Following a review of the data from an in-line inspection of the east segment in the area around the damaged screw anchor, PHMSA indicated in a Sept. 4 letter to Enbridge that, “The review by PHMSA and its independent third-party expert did not identify any integrity issues. As no integrity issues have been identified in the area around the displaced anchor, PHMSA has no objection to Enbridge restarting the east leg of Line 5.”

The west segment returned to operation in July.

Ann Arbor’s A2 Tech Trek and Mobility Row Go Virtual Sept. 25
The sixth annual A2 Tech Trek and third annual Mobility Row, starting Sept. 25 at 1 p.m., will be virtual events in 2020 and feature the region’s leading technology companies.

The free events invite the public to explore technology companies and organizations throughout Ann Arbor.

Tech Trek and Mobility Row are part of the a2Tech360 series of events organized by Ann Arbor SPARK with support from the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) and a2Tech360 sponsor KLA Corp.

“While nothing can replace the first-hand experience of past Tech Treks, this year’s virtual program provides many unexpected benefits,” says Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. “We are particularly excited to offer a specific job seeker trek, where attendees can meet with HR professionals and recruiters at companies looking to hire right now.

“Tech Trek 2020 also offers the ability for attendees to easily curate their trek based on interests and industry, and for the first time, attendees can virtually visit the location of companies that are outside of the downtown corridor.”

Tech Trek began as a way to connect the public with Ann Arbor’s vibrant tech community and highlight the region’s quality of life which is a huge draw for both companies and talent. In 2019, nearly 4,000 individuals registered for the event.

Attendees will access the virtual experience via an interactive map where each company location features a behind-the-scenes video produced for Tech Trek and Mobility Row. Filters will allow attendees to search for specific companies or list by industry. The map functionality also will include a quick filter for companies participating in the virtual Mobility Row. Each video will create engagement that reflects their unique culture and demonstrates their product or service.

Many of the participating companies are hiring and attendees who register as job seekers will receive instructions for how to participate in the specially curated Job Seeker Trek. During the Job Seeker Trek, job seekers can log into open sessions and speak with company representatives about employment opportunities, company culture, and more.

Registration is required. To do so, visit here.

DIA Hires National Firm to Lead Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Initiative
The Detroit Institute of Arts has hired The Kaleidoscope Group, a Chicago-based diversity and inclusion consultancy to lead its Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) project, funded by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences awarded to the museum in 2019.

The project is a key part of a museum-wide initiative that began in 2015 and includes increased diversification of the board of directors, acquisitions of art by Black artists, and paid internships to expand access to the museum industry.

“Through the efforts of our Reflecting Our Community initiative, the DIA recognized the need for this internal work and was fortunate to receive full funding from the IMLS late last year,” says Salvador Salort-Pons, director of the DIA. “As our nation’s attention has been drawn to inequity and systemic racism over the past several months, it is critical that we move forward with the internal work that needs to be conducted. The next step for real growth and change is to apply and permeate this internal learning throughout our governance, programming, exhibitions, and overall visitor experience.”

The Kaleidoscope engagement will begin with an organizational needs assessment and inclusion survey to identify where the DIA is today and to develop a plan with specific metrics to guide the museum moving forward. The DIA will also hire a full-time director to lead this work on an ongoing basis.

The three-year project begins this month, and in the first year will include the development of an IDEA mission, vision and road map, an organizational needs assessment, and an action plan for years two and three. The assessment will include a review of policies, procedures and practices, an inclusion survey for staff, executive alignment, focus groups and interviews with employees, and a data review, with a summary report and recommendations to be delivered in November.

EMU Aviation Program Signs Partnership Agreement with Crosswinds Aviation
The Eastern Michigan University Aviation Program in Ypsilanti has signed a five-year partnership agreement with Crosswinds Aviation, a flight training school dedicated to impacting the lives of youth beginning careers in aviation.

“We are thrilled to partner with Crosswinds Aviation and know that this strategic partnership will ultimately ensure that Eastern Michigan University aviation students can graduate with the highest standard aviation education and training,” says Jerard Delaney, aviation program coordinator. “Crosswinds’ resources, access to the latest avionics technology, and its commitment to encouraging middle and high school students to careers in aviation is a natural fit with Eastern’s commitment to shaping the next generation of leaders – in aviation and otherwise.”

The new partnership will add a variety of benefits to the EMU Aviation Program. With three locations (at the Livingston County Spencer J Hardy, Flint Bishop, and Oakland County International airports), Crosswinds Aviation will offer easier access for commuter students in Livingston, Genesee, and Oakland counties. With plans to add a Willow Run location in the near future, EMU Aviation students soon will have four convenient locations for training instead of one.

Crosswinds Aviation will also provide students the opportunity to flight train in a wider variety of aircraft, including the Diamond DA20/DA40 and Cessna 172. The hands-on training in multiple aircraft will ensure EMU Aviation students are well-versed in different aircraft upon graduation and entering the field.

Local Businesses Encouraged to Support SAY Detroit’s Popcorn Pledge
Local businesses, large and small, are encouraged to take the SAY Detroit Popcorn Pledge, as a way to reward their employees and clients with Brown Bag Popcorn, while helping to promote social justice in the Detroit community.

All of the profits from the sale of Brown Bag Popcorn benefit those in our community who most need our help during these challenging times.

From now through Oct. 15, businesses are encouraged to visit here place an order for delivery anytime between now and Dec. 15. Companies that take the pledge and purchase at least $1,000 worth of popcorn tins will be recognized and celebrated in a variety of ways that demonstrate our gratitude for their support.

“Brown Bag Popcorn and our sister store, The Detroit Water Ice Factory, were both started in Detroit as a way to raise money to support SAY Detroit, which serves everyone from working moms, the homeless, senior citizens, veterans, and young adults,” says Mitch Albom, founder of SAY Detroit. “We also operate a free clinic that provides no-questions-asked medical care. The Popcorn Pledge is a way for local businesses to support social justice in our community by supporting the work of SAY Detroit.”

For more information, visit here.