COVID-19 Update: Amazon Hires in Michigan, Ambassador Program to Educate Businesses on COVID-19 Safety, 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.
chart 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.

Amazon to Stage Nationwide Virtual Career Day, 368 Jobs Available in Michigan
Amazon will host its nationwide virtual Career Day 2020 on Wednesday, Sept. 16, with 368 jobs available in Michigan and 245 in the city of Detroit.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the 33,000 corporate and tech jobs currently available at Amazon, with thousands of additional hourly positions across the company’s operations network to be announced soon.

All Amazon jobs come with competitive benefits – including a minimum wage of $15/hour, health insurance, up to 20 weeks of parental leave, and company-funded upskilling opportunities.

The Career Day event includes three hours of mainstage programming that will feature fireside chats, panel discussions, and interviews with leading career advice experts and Amazon executives. Starting today, participants will be able to register here for interactive code reviews and fulfillment center workshops, as well as one of the 20,000 individualized career coaching sessions with an Amazon recruiter.

Last year, 17,000 job seekers attended Amazon Career Day events in six U.S. cities – and more than 200,000 people applied for jobs in the week leading up to the event. Building on that success, Amazon is taking the event virtual and opening Amazon Career Day 2020 to everyone, regardless of their location.

“Each year, I’m fortunate enough to interview thousands of people, from all walks of life, looking to land their dream job,” says Varun Suri, a local Amazon recruiter in Detroit. “Knowing how to navigate our job market is tough in the best of circumstances. I volunteered for Career Day because I want to do everything I can to help folks through these difficult times through 1-to-1 career coaching.”

More than half of Detroit job seekers (53 percent) have been forced to do so because of COVID-19, according to a new Morning Consult survey on job-seeker insights commissioned by Amazon. A majority of those job seekers are trying to transition into fields such as healthcare and technology, sectors expected to continue to grow and hire. Research shows that 66 percent of seekers are looking for a job in a different industry than they currently work, while 35 percent feel their current job does not utilize their main skills or training.

The Morning Consult survey also found that 43 percent of Detroit job seekers are willing to quit their job to go to another company if that employer provided company-funded upskilling training. Of those looking for work, nearly one third (32 percent) see learning technical skills as the most important tool to help them land their next job.

State Government – Ambassador Program to Educate Businesses on COVID-19 Safety
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) are launching the Ambassador Program to assist Michigan businesses to reopen safely amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ambassador Program offers education and one-on-one guidance to help businesses understand regulations on workplace safety.

“Michigan businesses and workers need support during these challenging times,” says Sean Egan, director of COVID-19 Workplace at MIOSHA. “Education is essential with new guidance and directives regularly changing as we continue to battle with COVID-19. Ambassadors will work with businesses to correct any issues. We want to help employers understand and apply directives so they can comply, stay open and stay safe.”

MIOSHA has been working with Michigan employers to help comply with requirements of the governor’s Executive Orders, CDC guidance, and OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. This program enhances MIOSHA’s consultative services designed and focused on education. Guidance and resources are posted here.

Ambassadors will visit businesses statewide to offer education and support, with a focus on workplaces with a higher risk of community transmission. That includes bars, restaurants, retail stores, gas stations, convenience stores, bowling alleys and gyms. Ambassadors will not propose citations or issue penalties.

“Collaboration is key in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19,” says Bart Pickelman, director of MIOSHA. “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve heard from many employers and employees wanting to clarify regulations and determine how they apply to their specific workplace. This ambassador effort will bring that education and support directly to businesses across the state.”

State Government: Digital Signatures Permitted on Paper Treasury Forms
The Michigan Department of Treasury reminds taxpayers and tax professionals that the use of digital signatures is allowed on forms, even those forms that cannot be filed electronically.

The use of digital signatures assists in reducing in-person contact and lessens the risk to taxpayers and tax professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing both groups to work remotely and to file forms timely.

“Our main priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is to protect the health and safety of Michiganders, which includes taxpayers and tax professionals,” says Rachael Eubanks, the state’s treasurer. “Permitting our paper forms to be signed digitally lessens the risk of in-person contact. We continue to work with taxpayers and tax professionals with filing requirements during this uncertain time.”

The state of Michigan’s individual income tax return, corporate income tax return and sales, use and withholding tax return already use an electronic signature when filed electronically. Each year, more than 80 percent of Michigan’s individual income tax returns are filed electronically.

Some forms used by taxpayers and tax professionals typically are printed, signed, and mailed to the state Treasury Department. These forms are downloaded from Treasury’s website or obtained by tax professionals.

The Michigan Department of Treasury does not specify which digital signature product or method tax professionals must use. There are several commercial products available.

For more information, visit here.

Bingham Farms Agency Now Represents Social Media Influencers
Production Plus-The Talent Shop, a talent agency based in Bingham Farms, has launched a new division focusing exclusively on “influencer” marketing, and are looking to add new influencers to its client base.

Influencer marketing is a $10 billion industry and has become the fastest-growing marketing channel offering 6.5 times higher return-on-investment than traditional marketing campaigns. With 81 percent of purchasing decisions being influenced by friends on social media, influencers now are playing an increasing vital role in marketing, according to the company.

“Influencer marketing is the new, faster word-of-mouth,” says Hedy Popson, president of Production Plus-The Talent Shop. “We’re leveraging our experience in matching brands and talent as we enter this newer market. We have an impressive database of incredibly talented people and can help companies maximize authenticity and enthusiasm for their brand.”

Production Plus-The Talent Shop says it take a “deep dive” into understanding their client’s digital marketing and social branding. Once a comprehensive strategy is developed, it works collaboratively to find the right influencers who can execute each brand’s vision.

For more information, visit here.

Northville Firm Adds Six Michigan Communities to Client Roster
Northville based community planning firm McKenna has added six Michigan communities to its roster of clients.

The six communities are Armada Township in northern Macomb County, Athens Township in Calhoun County (which includes Battle Creek), Chelsea (west of Ann Arbor), Grandville (southwest of Grand Rapids), Saginaw, and St. John’s (north of Lansing).

“It’s humbling to think about the impact our work has had, and hopefully will continue to have, in so many diverse communities and neighborhoods across our great state,” says John Jackson, president of McKenna. “It’s our privilege to partner with outstanding people and places around Michigan to help make their hometowns home.”

For more information, visit here.

New Day Foundation to Host No-Show Glow Fundraiser
Rochester Hills-based cancer nonprofit New Day Foundation for Families is hosting its first Home Shines No-Show Glow virtual gala on Thursday, Sept. 17, from 7-8 p.m.

The event will be emceed by New Day Co-founder Kell Spehn and JoAnne Purtan of 104.3 WOMC-FM. It can be viewed free here.

Guests also may prepare the signature event cocktail with Evrod Cassimy, Local 4 News Today, who will also perform an original song. The drink recipe will be available in advance to all registered participants, to make and sip their drinks from the comfort of home.

Other guest appearances include Lacey Chabert of “Mean Girls,” former U-M quarterback Devin Gardner, former NBA and MSU basketball player Paul Davis; Mickey York of Fox Sports Detroit; with musical entertainment by artist Dean Madonia, a New Day recipient fighting cancer.

Pre-registration online allows participants to bid in the online silent auction which opened Sept. 2 and continues until the event. Guests registered before the event begins also can enter to win a $1,000 Somerset Collection shopping spree. Donations and sponsorships for the virtual gala are available under the “Buy Tickets” tab.

Blue Cross and Belle Isle Conservancy Partner to Offer Free Aquarium Visits for Seniors
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Belle Isle Conservancy are offering senior citizens an opportunity to visit the Belle Isle Aquarium free and socially distanced on Thursdays Sept. 10, 17, and 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Interested seniors must register for a timeslot here or by calling 313-331-7760.

Seniors with Dementia Can Celebrate the Jewish Holidays with Special Zoom Service
JVS Human Services in Southfield and Jewish Senior Life is offering an opportunity for metro Detroit senior citizens living with dementia an opportunity to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur this year with a 45-minute service on Zoom especially designed for them.

Families that sign up for the program by Sept. 14 will get a free special gift bag for the holidays including an apple and honey, honey cake, round challah, grape juice, and prayer book, that will be delivered to their homes by volunteers.

To register for the program, being led by Cantor Pamela Schiffer, visit here or call 248-592-5031.

“The need for connection is greater than ever for families caring for their loved ones,” says Debra Yamstein, a spokesperson for the program. “We knew that a regular synagogue service on Zoom would likely be too long and not engage our community in the same way that we could: with a shorter and special service full of familiar melodies and briefer periods of talking.”