COVID-19 Update: The Platform Offers New Mural for Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction, Michigan Businesses Still Working on Employee Salary Decisions, 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 August 26

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.

The Platform Begins Work on New Mural by Detroit Artist in Milwaukee Junction
Work has begun on a new mural on The Platform’s nearly completed Chroma development in Milwaukee Junction, located in the Greater New Center area.

The Detroit-based real estate developer says “The Girl with the D Earring” by Detroit artist Sydney G. James will adorn the western wall of the Chroma building, located at 2937 E. Grand Blvd. The art is a modern Detroit take on Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring.”

The mural portrays a Detroit woman wearing a quilted garment featuring signage and logos of historic North End/Paradise Valley businesses. The Old English “D” dangling from her ear is a symbol of all the city and its people. James’ work – following murals in Eastern Market and other locations around Detroit – is slated to be completed by mid-September.

“The spirit, aura and soul of Detroit is multifaceted,” says James. “From the wide range of music, visual arts, fashion, automotive innovation to everything in between, Detroit has been a city of culture creation. Culture and innovation creates figurative and literal ‘chroma’ – the purity and intensity of color. Though this piece is North End specific, it captures the personality of Detroit, the city.”

James’ art will replace another mural that has been on the building since 2009. The Platform had planned to save that mural, but the extensive repairs necessary to save the long-vacant building caused that piece to be irreparably damaged.

The Girl with the D Earring
Rendering courtesy of The Platform

Michigan Businesses Still Working on Employee Salaries for 2021
Eight percent of Michigan’s employers have determined their salary adjustment programs for 2021 and more than half (53 percent) have yet to actively discuss salary adjustment options and likely will not make a determination until the end of the fiscal year, according to the 2020/2021 Salary Budget Survey by the American Society of Employers in Livonia.

Fifty-seven percent of the 171 Michigan employers participating in this year’s survey have determined and/or executed their 2020 salary adjustment programs. The 8 percent of Michigan employers who have determined their salary adjustment programs for 2021 say they will average 3 percent merit increases for employees.

Of those employers who have determined what their 2020 programs will look like, 54 percent have actually implemented salary adjustments, while 36 percent have decided to freeze wages.

Excluding those organizations that have opted to freeze wages, the average increase is similar to past years and ranges from 2.8 percent to 3.3 percent with a median of 3 percent. Projections for 2021 also are showing signs of normalcy with standard merit increases ranging from 2.8 percent to 3.2 percent with a median of 3 percent, according to the survey results.

“The pandemic has had a tremendous economic impact on organizations,” says Mary E. Corrado, president and CEO of ASE. “In these difficult times, employers are making difficult decisions around rewards. This is made more complex given the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.”

Additional findings in the survey:

Most employers do not anticipate making a decision regarding their 2021 salary adjustments for the next several months.

  • By the end of fiscal year (32 percent)
  • Within the next 3 months (23 percent)
  • Within the next 6 months (17 percent)
  • After the start of fiscal year (9 percent)
  • Within the next month (5 percent)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have:

  • Reduced staff hours (37 percent)
  • Enacted temporary layoffs affecting less than 50 percent of staff (34 percent)
  • Pay reductions, base pay (29 percent)
  • Enacted temporary layoffs affecting more than 50 percent of staff (24 percent)
  • Pay reductions, bonus/incentives (8 percent)

The average reduction in base pay was 18 percent and that reduction was in effect on average for 17 weeks.

Most employers (86 percent) did not rescind any salary adjustments or variable compensation payouts that were previously provided this fiscal year. Only 10 percent of employers rescinded salary adjustments, and 6 percent of employers rescinded variable compensation payout.

Background information on the 2020/2021 Salary Budget Survey: A total of 171 companies, 78 percent of them located in metro Detroit, responded to the survey, which was distributed to human resource professionals in late June 2020. Just over 44% of the respondents are classified as automotive suppliers.  77% of the organizations that responded have 1-500 employees. A variety of industries are represented, with Manufacturing organizations representing 56% of the survey sample.

To obtain a copy of ASE’s 2020/2021 Salary Budget Survey, contact the ASE Survey Team at This survey is available free of charge to ASE members, and for $525 to non-members.

ECA Introduces New Support Service for Hybrid and Distance Learning
ECA Educational Services in Commerce Township has expanded its services during the COVID-19 pandemic to include additional subject area educational kits, school essentials packs, and printed student packets that can be shipped to district offices, schools or directly to students’ homes.

“This a challenging and uncertain time for school districts, students, and parents,” says Dennis Harlan, founder and CEO of ECA. “Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, students still deserve access to hands-on and engaging learning activities. We’re here to make it easier to get the necessary materials into the hands of students, whether they’re learning in the classroom or at home.”

ECA’s kit management and distribution services are designed to allow districts, schools, and teachers to focus on providing instruction to their students, while ECA handles the prep, storage, shipment, and replenishment of the kits and printed packets. The ECA system alleviates the burden of kit-based instruction, delivering ready-to-teach kits and packets that save teachers time and out-of-pocket expenses.

In addition to their existing science kit and live materials refurbishment services, ECA now is offering management and distribution of distance learning kits, school essentials packs, and printed student packets.

For more information, visit here.

Davenport University to Offer Series of Short Professional Development Courses
Davenport University in Grand Rapids is launching a series of virtual short courses designed to help professionals improve their business skills to meet the needs of a changing workplace.

Offered through the school’s Institute for Professional Excellence, the virtual short courses span several topics related to business management, leadership, communications, and cultural intelligence/inclusion.

“Our mission is to be a resource for business professionals as our economy rebuilds,” says Daniel Rundhaug, executive director of Davenport University’s IPEx. “COVID-19 has thrust us into an all-new business environment and many individuals are exploring new paths. Short, virtual courses are an economical and flexible way to build toward a new career.”

Each course is 90 minutes long, and costs $35. Students can bundle three courses together for $75, for a $30 savings.

For more information and a complete list of the courses available, visit here, call 800-686-1600 or email

Detroit Choice Awards Honor and Celebrate City
The Detroit Choice Awards, a fundraiser benefiting Detroit organizations celebrating individuals who directly impact and serve their community, will take place on Sept. 19 from 8-10 p.m. via pay per view at

This year’s event will be hosted by comedian Bill Hill from BET’s “Comedy View” and Fox 2 Detroit’s Josh Landon.

Honorees include Bedrock founder Dan Gilbert, Thomas “The Motor City Hitman” Hearns, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, and many more.

The evening will include performances by the Detroit Youth Choir, a “Respect” tribute honoring Aretha Franklin, D.J. Battle, and the official Jit Cypher.

Among the benefitting organizations are Helping Hands for Detroit, M.I.C.H.A.E.L., Detroit PAL, and Dave’s Choice Community Development.

Our Town Art Show and Sale at The Community House in Birmingham Going Virtual
The 35th Annual Our Town Art Show at The Community House in Birmingham, scheduled for Sept. 10-30, will be a virtual event in 2020.

Art enthusiasts will be able to view the show and purchase artwork by visiting here when the show opens on Sept. 10.

The show is presented with the support of the DeRoy Testamentary Foundation and the Bank of Ann Arbor – Birmingham. It will include more than 300 works of art including paintings, pastels, sculptures, photography, fiber works, jewelry, and mixed media, all created by Michigan artists. Sixty-five percent of the proceeds from the art sales will go directly to the region artists.

Facebook Comments