COVID-19 Update: ‘Back to Michigan’ Virtual Job Fairs Seek to Bring Talent Home, Bank of America Awards $5M to Economic Mobility and COVID-related Nonprofits, 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.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Nov. 12

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.

‘Back to Michigan’ Virtual Job Fairs Seeks to Bring Talent Home
“Back to Michigan,” a series of eight virtual job fairs for people interested in relocating back to Michigan, will be hosted by community partners throughout the state Nov. 17-24.

During each of the eight virtual events – which are free to attend – job seekers can talk one-on-one with recruiters from organizations with immediate talent needs, and community ambassadors will be on hand to answer questions for those who may be considering a move back to Michigan.

“Despite the unique challenges presented by COVID-19, we’re committed to delivering services and resources needed by our workers and businesses to make Michigan a leader in talent attraction and retention,” says Susan Corbin, acting director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “Providing this virtual job fair platform allows us to work directly with partner organizations – including the statewide Michigan Works! agencies and Back to Michigan – to support Michigan’s employers, career seekers, parents who want their adult children and grandchildren back in Michigan, and communities in a meaningful way.”

The Back to Michigan event series is a virtual version of events that typically happen on Thanksgiving weekend throughout Michigan. The tradition of Thanksgiving events for “boomerangs” – workers who have left the state and want to return home – started in 2012 with ReThink West Michigan, hosted by Hello West Michigan and The Right Place. The successful program, which has been recognized as a best practice by the International Economic Development Council, has spread to multiple regions in Michigan over the last nine years. The Northeast Lower Peninsula, Detroit, and Flint are joining the effort with first-time events this year.

These events are targeted to people living outside of Michigan, people who recently relocated, or those who are local and seeking employment. Companies are hiring in many fields, including IT, engineering, finance, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, art and design, professional services, government, hospitality, and more.

The Back to Michigan virtual job fair all take place between 3-7 p.m., are open-house style, and free, but advance registration is required here.

The schedule of job fairs is as follows:

  • 17 – Upper Peninsula
  • 18 – Northwest Lower Peninsula (Traverse City)
  • 19 – West Michigan (Grand Rapids)
  • 19 – Detroit/Flint
  • 23 – Lansing
  • 23 – Great Lakes Bay & Central Michigan
  • 24 – Northeast Lower Peninsula
  • 24 – Ann Arbor

Bank of America Awards $5M to Economic Mobility and COVID-related Nonprofits
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation celebrated its annual “Detroit Day of Giving” on Nov. 12 distributed an excess of $5 million in grants to local organizations that create pathways to employment, provide job training, support food access and distribution, advance home ownership, provide for shelter services, and strengthen small business.

As a health and safety precaution, this year’s Day of Giving took place virtually – connecting Bank of America employees with organizations and their leadership teams to listen and learn about how the nonprofit’s work delivers in the community and how the bank’s grants help to advance that mission.

“We are aware that the pandemic has challenged many in our community both in terms of their health and safety as well as economically,” says Matt Elliott, Michigan market president for Bank of America. “It has also financially impacted nonprofits which provide needed essential and economic services. We are dedicated to supporting pathways to economic stability and we are proud to support people and programs that are devoted to building strong communities and neighborhoods. This year we have intensified our contributions, both in volunteerism and donations, to organizations helping those impacted by not only the coronavirus pandemic, but the injustices of racial inequality.

“Over the past decade we have contributed more than $30 million to support initiatives that focus on job creation, employment opportunities, entrepreneurship as well as essential services that serve to create economic stability. Besides financial support, we have also dedicated our human resources with more than 200,000 volunteer hours logged by our teammates across the state.”

Organizations that received grants include: Abayomi CDC; Central Detroit Christian CDC; National Faith Homebuyers; Neighborhood Service Organization; Develop Detroit; Ruth Ellis Center; Global Detroit; Catholic Charities of SE MI; Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries; Gleaners; United Way for SE MI; Forgotten Harvest; Greening of Detroit; Lighthouse of Oakland County; HAVEN; Salvation Army; Chaldean American Ladies of Charity; SAY Detroit; Focus: HOPE; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Teach for America; Alternatives for Girls; YMCA; Jefferson East, Inc.; Southwest Detroit Business Association; Detroit Economic Growth Association; TechTown; Boys & Girls Clubs SE MI; Racquet Up; and Detroit PAL.

Bank of America also celebrated its Neighborhood Builders program, which recognizes its partners and acknowledges its student leaders.

Detroit Future City and SER Metro-Detroit are Detroit’s 2020 Neighborhood Builders. The two nonprofits will receive $200,000 each in unrestricted funds to increase their impact in the community through program expansion coupled with leadership training for their executive and rising leader.

Detroit Future City, an independent think tank and policy advocate focuses on Detroit’s future and the implementation of strategy recommendations. SER Metro-Detroit provides skills training and employment placement.

Priority Health Extending $0 Cost Share Virtual Care and Telehealth Services into 2021
Grand Rapids-based Priority Health, Michigan’s second-largest health care plan, announced that it will continue to offer $0 cost share virtual care and telehealth services, including medical, behavioral health, and substance use telemedicine, for nearly all fully funded HSA and non-HSA plans ahead of deductible, into 2021.

This will now be a standard benefit for most fully funded employer-sponsored ACA plans. Self-insured groups will determine their own benefit coverage for their employees and dependents.

“COVID-19 has caused a dramatic shift in the way our members are seeking care. We’ve taken notice that more and more consumers are comfortable with, and actually prefer, the convenience of telehealth services,” says Rick V. Morrone, senior vice president of employer solutions at Priority Health. “We’re pleased to extend this offering and our team continues to innovate in order to make it easy and affordable for our members to get the care they need.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Priority Health has encouraged members to use virtual visits to mitigate further spread of the illness. While some members have begun to return to in-person visits at health care facilities, Priority Health has heard from many members that have used virtual visits for the first time during the pandemic and have appreciated the simplicity and convenience it provides. By offering $0 cost share virtual visits, Priority Health seeks to not only ensure that high-risk members have affordable access to care, but also help enable the transformation to more virtual health care services.

In addition to offering $0 cost share virtual care and telehealth services, Priority Health has supported employer groups and members during the pandemic in the following ways:

  • Allowed employers to continue to offer health benefits to employee who are temporarily laid off or who have reduced hours below full-time status.
  • Waived member cost share for medically necessary testing and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Offered no-cost added benefits to members like prescription drug home delivery and the myStrength behavioral health online tool​.

Priority Health has also recently announced the following telehealth offerings:

  • Starting Jan. 1, 2021, Priority Health is extending $0 virtual visits for primary care, specialists, and behavioral health, for all Priority Health Medicare Advantage members.
  • Launched new MyPriority Telehealth PCP plans in the individual market that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. The organization is the first insurer in Michigan to offer this type of virtual-first product.
  • Expanded care management and health coaching interactions to include a virtual option. In addition to telephonic, email, and onsite options, care managers and health coaches can now also engage with members over virtual video visits.

To access virtual care, members can download the Priority Health app, available on the App Store or Google Play, and log in to their member account. They also can access their online member account on a desktop, laptop, or other mobile device. Members can also check with their physician for virtual visit options.

For more information, visit here.

Valentine Distilling to Open Outdoor Friluftsliv Lounge this Winter
Valentine Distilling in Ferndale is launching the outdoor Friluftsliv Lounge at the company’s cocktail lounge property at 161 Vester St.

Friluftsliv is a Norwegian term, loosely translated to mean “outdoor life.” The lounge will open as the season turns colder and consist of an outdoor tent, with hot cocktails and drinks served. An outdoor ice bar and ice shot glasses for vodka service also are planned. As the experience created within the Friluftsliv Lounge is weather dependent, customers can find updates here and on Valentine’s social media channels, Facebook, and Instagram, to learn when the lounge is open.

“My goal in everything Valentine Distilling Co. does is to show our patrons the quality and care we put into our business,” says Rifino Valentine, founder and president of Valentine Distilling. “Right now, safety is top of mind, while providing our customers the Valentine experience.”

Valentine Cocktail Lounge will continue to have socially distanced indoor seating available with limited capacity. It has installed hepa filters that exchange the air twice every minute and is enforcing health department guidelines requiring masks when not seated.

Stefanini Group to Host Webinars on Retail Delivery, Marketing Trends Nov. 19-20
Stefanini, a Southfield digital solutions company, will host two virtual roundtables, Nov. 19 and 20, on how the retail delivery model is transforming and how to perfect a marketing strategy.

The first of two webinars titled “Times, They Are A-Changin! How the Retail Delivery Model is Transforming” will take place Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to noon. It will be led by Al Urbanski, real estate editor of Chain Store Age. Registration for the retail webinar can be found here.

“Being a part of the digital technology industry, we understand the importance of transformation and innovation,” says Spencer Gracias, CEO North America/APAC at Stefanini. “As models change and technology adapts, it’s necessary to look at current trends and think critically about how we can stay ahead of digital transformation. At Stefanini, we pride ourselves upon serving as an educational resource for the industry and look forward to sharing our knowledge during our upcoming virtual roundtables.”

On Friday, Nov. 20 from 11 a.m. to noon, Stefanini will host a webinar titled: “Does Technology Really Kill Creativity?” It will be moderated by Alex Kantrowitz, a writer with bylines in Harvard Business Review, Forbes and Buzzfeed. Registration for the marketing webinar can be found here.

TCF Center Is the First Convention Center to Receive U.S. Green Building Council Honor
TCF Center in Detroit (formerly Cobo Center) is among 10 companies, projects, and individuals receiving a 2020 U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership Award. TCF Center is the first convention center to receive the Leadership Award.

USGBC presented the award Nov. 12 during the closing event of the Greenbuild Virtual International Conference and Expo. The Leadership Awards recognize exceptional work advancing sustainable, healthy, resilient, and equitable buildings, cities, and communities.

“We realize that the TCF Center is an economic engine for the Detroit community,” says Claude Molinari, general manager of ASM Global/TCF Center. “We take this responsibility seriously and do everything we can to include the local and event communities in our efforts to hit as many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as we can each year, reducing our carbon footprint and enriching the lives of residents and visitors.”

The 2.4-million-square-foot TCF Center has been growing its green initiatives for a decade, according to officials. By organizing its green event program and sustainable operation protocols the venue continually adapts to the global advancements in facility and event sustainability.

TCF Center achieved LEED Gold certification in October 2019 under LEED v4.1 O+M. It is one of only a few convention centers in the world to certify under that rating system. TCF is a high-performing green building with a team is dedicated to ongoing performance measurement through Arc, says Molinari. It invests in educating employees, vendors, customers, partners, and visitors on its efforts and the importance of sustainable practices.

Sachse Construction and Junior Achievement to Host Virtual Job Shadow Event
Detroit-based Sachse Construction is hosting its fifth annual Sachse Construction Academy virtually Nov. 18 from 10-11:30 a.m. in partnership with Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan. The event is designed to provide metro Detroit high-school students an opportunity to learn about various careers in the construction field.

The event will enable students to experience “a day in the life” of skilled trades workers and ask questions. There is no charge to attend.

“Our goal is to expose students to these opportunities and our hope is that they will elect to pursue a lifelong career in the skilled trades,” says Todd Sachse, founder and CEO of Sachse Construction. “A skilled trade is one of the most transferable skills you can possibly have. It provides for an incredible living wage and the opportunities are endless. We’re very passionate about exposing our youth to these career opportunities and so are our trade partners.”

In previous years, students participated in hands-on training and demonstrations with more than 50 subcontractors and skilled tradespeople from across Michigan. While the pandemic is moving the event online this year, organizers are confident it will be just as impactful.

“Junior Achievement is proud of the partnership with Sachse Construction and its participation in this incredible event. There are great careers in the construction industry,” says Jason D. Lee, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southeast Michigan. “The Sachse Construction Academy is an awesome opportunity to inspire and prepare local high school students.”

For a complete list of 2020 Sachse Construction Academy participants and a schedule of events, and to participate, visit here.

Muskegon’s AvaSure Expands Leadership Team, Announces New Telehealth Services
AvaSure, a Muskegon-based provider of advanced patient safety monitoring systems, has announced a new leadership structure and a line of business and consulting services intended to significantly improve safety and quality in inpatient hospital environments.

To better align AvaSure’s leadership team with its product portfolio and new services, the company announced the promotion of three longtime AvaSure team members.

Brad Playford remains in the CEO role, but with a greater emphasis on corporate strategy and vision.

Kyle Pett was named president and chief operating officer, and among other duties, will oversee the company’s new effort to offer contracted remote patient monitoring services to hospitals nationwide. The program will offer hospitals a safe and effective alternative to training their own staff or providing costly in-room patient monitoring.

Lisbeth Votruba was named chief clinical innovation officer. She will lead the company’s new clinical consulting arm, which will allow hospitals to work with her and her team to better integrate a patient safety monitoring platform that improves patient outcomes and protects hospital staff.

Toby Eadelman was named chief technology officer. One of his key initiatives involves ORNA, AvaSure’s Online Reporting of Nursing Analytics. The goal is to better leverage predictive analytics and big data to help hospitals measurably improve patient and staff safety.

“We are fortunate to have a leadership team committed to continuous improvement and challenging the status quo,” says Playford, founder of AvaSure. “Now is the time to realign our organization’s structure to better match our growth and opportunities. I am confident that AvaSure is again at an inflection point in furthering our business capabilities that continue to be built upon keeping people safe.”

AvaSure is best known for its TeleSitter Solution, which is a patient monitoring system designed with interactive 360-degree high-quality cameras and high-fidelity two-way audio provided by hard-wired or mobile wireless devices that travels from room to room, expanding the reach and capabilities of clinical staff. Hospitals and other clinical care environments utilize AvaSure’s solutions, in conjunction with other safety measures, to mitigate the spread of viruses like COVID-19, prevent patient harm, protect staff from violent patients and visitors, and enhance nursing resources.

“It’s a very simple idea – but one with incredibly consequential implications for patients and hospital staff,” Playford says. “If you put a camera in every hospital room, and have a trained staff member on the other end watching the live feed, you will save lives. You will decrease patient injuries, prevent violent acts, reduce the spread of infectious diseases, improve patient outcomes, and make the hospital environment safer. And I believe AvaSure’s new leadership team will help us get there.”

HFHS and DMC Update Visitor Restrictions
With the rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the region, Henry Ford Hospital System and the Detroit Medical Center have updated their visitor policies.

For adult inpatients at DMC Harper University Hospital, DMC Heart Hospital DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital, DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, and DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital, one support person will be allowed to visit per day. They must be 18 or older.

Visiting hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 days per week.

As patients and visitors enter the hospital, they will be asked screening questions, have their temperature taken, are required to wear a face mask, will be asked to sanitize their hands, and must observe social distancing.

Visitors for patients in procedural care, the Emergency Department, clinics, and those undergoing outpatient procedures, will wait in a designated COVID Safe area. As is the case with inpatients, only one support person is allowed to visit. Visitors are not allowed for those hospitalized patients who test positive for COVID-19 or those who have symptoms.

Exceptions to the new policy will be handled on an individual basis under the guidance of the direct care team. The visitation policy at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan and the DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan has not changed.

Visitor policies at Henry Ford Health System facilities differ by facility. Each hospital has developed new policies based on the conditions in its service area, and the restrictions can be adjusted as conditions change. In areas where COVID-19 transmission is not as active, the hospital may maintain our most recent visitation policy, which is limited to one adult visitor per patient.

In areas where COVID-19 transmission and COVID-19 hospitalizations are high, such as at Henry Ford Macomb and Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson, the restrictions are much more stringent. These policies can be found here.

Regardless of restrictions, Henry Ford Health System will still allow visitors who are:

  • Acting as power of attorney or have court-appointed guardianship.
  • Assisting patients with physical or mental disabilities.
  • Providing transportation patients who undergoing surgery or emergency care.
  • Providing religious or spiritual services.

Anyone who is allowed to visit will need to:

  • Undergo COVID-19 screening before entry.
  • Wear a mask at all times.
  • Refrain from eating, drinking, or sharing a patient’s restroom while visiting.

Henry Ford will continue to connect hospitalized patients digitally using iPads and other devices with their friends and family who cannot visit. Friends and family may also send well messages directly to patients, which the patient may view in their room on a dedicated channel on Henry Ford’s television system. This can be done here.

All patients and visitors entering a Henry Ford facility for an outpatient appointment or service will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature check. Everyone must wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines. Patients may have one person with them who is needed to transport them into and around the facility, who is needed as part of establishing an ongoing treatment plan or in making clinical care decisions, or who meet one of the exception criteria for inpatient visitors. Pediatric patients may be accompanied by two parents/caregivers and spouses/partners may attend prenatal visits. Drivers for patients must remain in designated waiting areas and leave the facility as soon as possible.