COVID-19 Update: Detroit’s LIFT Gets $1M in CARES Act Funds, Southfield Agency Offers Assistance for Older Workers, 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
Courtesy of Bridge, as of July 7

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.

LIFT Receives $1M in CARES Act Funds to Re-train Civilian Manufacturing Workers
LIFT, the Detroit-based, Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute, has received $1 million in CARES Act funding to expand its Operation Next program to reskill/upskill civilian workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The award, which comes from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will enable LIFT to provide training to 250 workers in CNC machine operations, industrial technology maintenance, welding and robotics in Detroit and Pittsburgh.

“We have seen this pandemic drastically impact our nation’s manufacturing base, particularly small and medium-sized manufacturers, and it is up to institutes like ours, along with our partners in the public and private sectors, to help get these businesses and their workers back on track as the nation emerges from shutdowns,” says Nigel Francis, CEO and executive director of LIFT. “Operation Next is one of our most successful and impactful programs, and we are proud to expand it to industry.”

LIFT will engage with small and medium manufacturers through the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan and Catalyst Connection, a Pennsylvania manufacturing extension partnership.

This award provides support to individuals and employers as the post-pandemic economy emerges and the need for new technologies and processes grows, putting workers with ill-fitting or underdeveloped skills at risk of being left behind.

Initially launched in 2018 as a pilot program at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, Operation Next is a manufacturing-focused training and credentialing initiative for separating military personnel.

Southfield Agency Expands Program for Mature Workers
One of the largest human services agencies in metro Detroit is expanding its career development program for mature workers.

Southfield-based JVS Human Services is extending its Recharge! Program to Michigan workers aged 45 and above due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally it was targeted to workers 50 and over.

The four-week program is for workers who are unemployed, underemployed, or who want or need to change their careers.

“This session will be done on Zoom for the first time, but we are confident that our participants will get the kick-start that they need to reinvent their careers,” explains Sherrie James, career counselor for JVS Human Services. “COVID-19 has obviously had such a devastating effect on many employees, but we are here with practical help for those in mid-life who need to look at their working options in a new way.”

The program requires registration, a $40 materials fee, and runs twice a week from 10 a.m. to noon. It will provide tools for participants to:

  • Reconnect with their skills and interests.
  • Refresh their professional image and personal brand.
  • Restore belief in themselves during life transition.
  • Review the local job market

To register for Recharge! email or call 248-233-4472 by July 17.

MOT Summer Program to Feature Guest Artists from “Hamilton”
The summer theater program of Detroit’s Michigan Opera Theatre will feature guest artists from the acclaimed Broadway show “Hamilton” in its line-up.

The teen program, “Operetta Remix,” will include special guests Jonathan Christopher and Nikisha Williams, who perform in the ensemble of the touring production of “Hamilton.” Christopher also understudies the roles of Aaron Burr and George Washington and Williams understudies Eliza, Angelica and Peggy. “Operetta Remix” and its and its younger counterpart “Create & Perform,” will be conducted virtually through the Zoom digital platform to meet social distancing guidelines.

“Michigan Opera Theatre has prided itself on connecting students with renowned industry talent, and we are thrilled to bring these incredible artists from one of Broadway’s most successful shows among our guest artists this summer,” says Andrea Scobie, director of education for MOT. “Through Zoom, we are excited to continue our commitment to arts education while keeping our students, staff and artists safe during this time of social distancing.”

“Operetta Remix” will take place Aug. 3-7 and provide vocal coaching, acting instruction, and dance workshops for students ages 13-18. Under the direction of professional opera singer and instructor Mary Martin, students will explore works from operetta and musical theater. Guest artists will offer roundtables on career and educational opportunities. In addition to Christopher and Williams, guest artists will also include soprano Cecilia Violetta Lopez, named one of opera’s 25 Rising Stars, by Opera News, as well as Suzanne Mallare Acton, MOT’s assistant music director. It costs $150.

“Create & Perform” will take place Aug. 10-14. Tailored for students ages 8-12, participants will write and compose short monologues, dialogues, and songs that reflect on the events of 2020 as they have experienced them. This program gives participants a platform through which to tell their own stories and to create a sense of community and solidarity through shared experiences and allows them to create a digital time capsule which will capture the events of this unprecedented time. It costs $125.

For registration and additional information, visit here.

Firehouse Subs Shop in Sterling Heights Gets New Owners
The Firehouse Subs shop at 36693 Van Dyke Ave. in Sterling Heights has new owners.

One-time Firehouse shop general manager Jennifer Scott, along with Gregory Kosch, William Garrett, and Aaron Smith re-opened their store last week. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. It currently is offering takeout and limited-capacity dine-in seating, following state and local regulations.

“For years, I helped run the restaurant and now I am excited and so proud to officially be the new co-owner,” says Scott. “When I found business partners to invest with, the opportunity to become the restaurant’s new franchisee was something I couldn’t pass up. It has been such a rewarding journey to grow with this brand the way I have, in the community I love.”

Beyond Basics Seeks Funds for UP College Experience
Southfield-based literacy nonprofit Beyond Basics is seeking donations for its U.P. College Experience program for Detroit Public Schools high school student athletes.

The program, which costs $350 plus $50 in spending money, is a weekend at Michigan Technological University in Houghton that acclimates students to college life. While on the Michigan Tech campus, students will engage in STEM and culturally enriching activities. For many of the students, it will be their first exposure to life outside of Detroit.

To contribute to the program, visit here or call 248-250-9304.

Allied Media Conference Slated for July 23-26 Online
Detroit-based Allied Media Projects is hosting the 21st Allied Media Conference, which will explore media as a method for liberation and social justice, July 23-26 via event platforms Socio and Zoom.

This year’s programming features more than 75 interactive sessions, along with plenary sessions, virtual community dinners, an opening and closing ceremony, and virtual parties.

Organizers say the 2020 edition will be “a space for engaging with the ideas and practices the world needs most right now: media for liberation, collective care, abolition, Black and Indigenous futurism, and more.”

To see the full schedule of events and to register, visit here.

Event pricing is on a sliding scale from $0 to $600. Interactive content via Zoom will be password protected to registered attendees. Livestreamed content via multiple platforms will be open to non-registered attendees.

Berkley Resale Shop Celebrates Anniversary with Major Sale
Council Re/Sale in Berkley, operated by the Southfield-based Michigan chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women, is reopening after a pandemic shutdown with a sale to celebrate its 86th anniversary.

The store, which is opening with stringent safety measures, is offering a 50 percent-off sale as well as a $1 rack every week.

“Our wonderful donors really cleaned out their closets during the lockdown, setting aside fabulous items of clothing for us,” says Amy Cutler, president of the organization. “We started accepting donations mid-June, all of which have been quarantined, and they have been coming in by the carload.

“As we open our doors to customers, we want to assure them that we are following the most stringent of guidelines from the CDC, National Institute of Health, and Oakland County,” she continues. “They can shop for gorgeous bargains knowing they are safe.”