COVID-19 Update: United Wholesale Mortgage Hiring 500 in October, Kettering University to Honor GM’s Barra and Others, 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 Oct. 17

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.

United Wholesale Mortgage Hiring 500 in October
United Wholesale Mortgage in Pontiac says it is planning to fill 500 roles by the end of October. In the past 90 days alone, the mortgage giant has hired 2,000 people.

No mortgage experience is necessary for those looking to join UWM, which offers an extensive, paid training program to all new team members.

Those interested in applying can visit here.

Kettering University to Honor GM’s Mary Barra and Other Alumni Oct. 22
For the first time ever, Kettering University in Flint will honor its high-level donors and distinguished alumni during a virtual event, An Evening of Distinction & Determination, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22.

The event, hosted by Kettering alumnae Carla Bailo (‘83, Mechanical Engineering) and Kayla McDonell (‘12, Mechanical Engineering) and include special guest University President Dr. Robert K. McMahan, will be a hybrid of a live virtual event from the Building 22 in Detroit and recorded interviews with the awardees in an effort to keep everyone safe by maintaining safe distancing and limiting the number of in-person attendees.

“The 2020 alumni awardees are truly remarkable individuals,” says Susan Davies, vice president of University Advancement and External Relations at Kettering. “Their career accomplishments and dedication to their communities remind each of us what it’s like to be Kettering-built. We also appreciate the opportunity to celebrate all of those who demonstrate their belief in a Kettering education through their philanthropic support. It will be an inspiring evening as the Kettering Community from around the world comes together virtually on Oct. 22.”

Those being honored include: The following alumni will be recognized:

  • Mary Barra (1985), chairman and CEO of General Motors Co., Distinguished Alumni Award.
  • Latondra Newton (1991), senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Walt Disney Co., Extraordinary Leadership Award.
  • Andrew Currier (1993), co-founder and CEO or PCK Intellectual Property, Entrepreneurial Achievement Award.
  • Marie Johnson (1990), adjunct professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department of the University of Minnesota, Engineering Achievement Award.
  • Clark Bailo (1981), owner of CDM Seeds LLC, Alumni Service Award.
  • Gervé Tillman (2010) bachelor’s, (2013) master’s, deputy program manager for the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System in the Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Special Operations Forces Directorate at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, Young Alumni Award.

SCORE of Southeast Michigan Launches New Small Business Initiatives
SCORE of Southeast Michigan, formerly SCORE Detroit, has launched multiple initiatives to better support the small business community and to provide additional resources and expertise to entrepreneurs.

Through a partnership with StartupNation, SCORE of Southeast Michigan says it intends to regularly publish content through an “Ask the Expert” series on WJR Radio that allows members of the local small business community to call in with questions or concerns regarding their business. StartupNation also will promote the SCORE suite of services, including the SCORE mentoring services to its community of aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small business owners.

In September, the SCORE team launched a podcast dedicated to sharing resources and conversations about the local small business community. The team has hosted guests from the Small Business Administration, Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses, and highlights success stories and best practices from mentors paired with mentees.

“Our team of dedicated volunteer mentors and subject matter experts work hard to provide support and useful information for small business owners in the southeast Michigan region,” says Donna Hover-Ojeda, chair of the SCORE of Southeast Michigan chapter. “Throughout the past year we strategically added additional diverse mentors and programming to support the changing demands of a disrupted small business community amid the pandemic, and the results have been tremendous.”

For its efforts, the local SCORE chapter was recognized as the Michigan Chapter of the Year by the SCORE regional vice president. In July, the Small Business Administration of Michigan recognized the chapter as the Top SCORE Chapter. There are eight other SCORE chapters in Michigan.

Community members interested in becoming a small business mentor or receiving free business advice may contact SCORE of Southeast Michigan at (800) 634-0425 or email

MDHHS Improves Medicaid Enrollees’ Access to Flu Vaccine
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled several new strategies to increase access to the influenza vaccine during flu season. The changes make it easier for Medicaid beneficiaries to get flu vaccines.

To increase access to vaccines and promote an increase in overall immunization rates among Medicaid beneficiaries, effective immediately, MDHHS is expanding access to influenza vaccines at pharmacies statewide for adults and children ages 3 and older. Medicaid coverage of influenza vaccines also is expanding to additional locations – such as COVID-19 testing sites, including drive-thru testing locations and mobile vans.

Additionally, Medicaid-enrolled health care providers will receive increased reimbursement to cover costs associated with administering vaccines from October through December.

“Now more than ever it’s critically important to make it as easy as possible for residents to get their flu shots,” says Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical officer. “With flu season coinciding with the possibility of a surge of COVID-19 cases, I encourage everyone to get the influenza vaccine as soon as they can.”

For more information, visit here.

LTU Professor Gets Grant to Train Small Construction Firms on COVID Safety
Lawrence Technological University in Southfield is offering free COVID-19 safety training to construction firms with fewer than 100 employees under a $24,980 grant from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The training will be offered on the east side of the state by Ahmed Al-Bayati, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering at LTU. Construction firms interested in the free training should contact Al-Bayati at Safety consultant Bruce Ladewski of Kalamazoo will provide training on the west side of the state.

The grant will fund two-hour COVID-19 safety training sessions that can be in-person or online, as well as an online seminar that multiple firms may attend.

“Normally, smaller construction firms have limited resources, and limited funds and budget, to create and implement an effective safety program,” Al-Bayati says. “This free training will enable them to improve their overall safety performance.”

Michigan Opera Theatre Offers Free Screenings of Sold-Out “Twilight: Gods”
Michigan Opera Theatre has added free live screenings of the sold out “Twilight: Gods,” Oct. 20 and 21, at the Detroit Opera House at 6:20 p.m.

“Twilight: Gods” is new MOT Gary L. Wasserman Artistic Director Yuval Sharon’s “Götterdämmerung” adaptation. Patrons will watch from the Detroit Opera House as a single camera follows a group of cars through the experience, just as it would be seen inside the facility’s parking center.

Conceived and directed by Sharon, “Twilight: Gods” is a site-specific adaptation of Richard Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung”— “The Twilight of the Gods”— staged in the Detroit Opera House Parking Center. Inspired as much by the utilitarianism of the parking facility as the safety precautions of the coronavirus era, “Twilight: Gods” transforms Wagner’s six-hour masterpiece into an hour-long series of scenes with live singers and members of the MOT orchestra performed in intervals throughout the parking center.

Inside the Detroit Opera House, mask-wearing will be required at all times, temperature checks will be required upon entry, and all government-mandated social distancing measures will be observed. Tickets are free but limited, in order to ensure proper social distancing within the theatre. They are available online here or, for parties larger than four people, by calling the box office at 313-237-7464.

“The unprecedented demand for tickets to this unique opera presentation in the Detroit Opera House Parking Center serves as an early indication of the public’s response to the new and engaging creativity that Yuval Sharon brings to MOT and our community,” says Wayne S. Brown, president and CEO of MOT.

Domino’s Ready to Raise ‘Dough’ for Kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Domino’s Pizza Inc. in Ann Arbor today begins its annual St. Jude Thanks and Giving fundraising campaign to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The campaign, which will run for 11 weeks through Jan. 3, 2021, is the 17th annual Thanks and Giving campaign at Domino’s.

To help the kids of St. Jude, customers can add a donation to their orders – on the phone, in stores, or online. In addition to adding a whole dollar donation, customers can choose to round up their order total to donate the change to St. Jude.

“Franchise and corporate team members in stores across the country are looking forward to dedicating the rest of the year to raising funds for the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” says Ritch Allison, CEO of Domino’s. “We are thrilled to join forces with our customers to support this incredible organization in the fight against childhood cancer.”

In September, Domino’s announced its commitment to raise $100 million in 10 years for St. Jude. In honor of the historic pledge, St. Jude will name its newest housing facility The Domino’s Village, which will be a home away from home for patient families, offering a respite with living, dining, and play spaces for patient family residents to enjoy.

Public History Project Illuminates Past Pandemics
According to Wayne State University history professor Marsha Richmond, the key to moving forward from the COVID-19 pandemic may just lie in the past.

Since April 2020, Richmond has been recruiting faculty and students from across the university to help us all learn from epidemics and pandemics throughout history. Named the Pandemic Perspectives project, it serves as a virtual classroom that views both the current crisis and past pandemics through a historical and sociological lens.

Comprised of video lectures, virtual presentations, and podcasts, the project illustrates how the world dealt with pestilence and communicable illnesses in the past. With nearly a dozen modules, the project covers everything from smallpox and the Bubonic Plague to HIV/AIDS.

“The aim is to be able to learn from the course of past pandemics and epidemics in human history,” says Richmond. “This may shed light on and provide new insights — or a broader perspective — about our current experience.”

To experience the Pandemic Perspectives project, visit here.

ACC Presents ‘Winter Warm-Up’ Event in Detroit
Troy-based nonprofit ACC is presenting its Winter Warm-Up event on Oct. 21 at 10 a.m. at the ACC Youth Center Gymnasium (62 W. Seven Mile Rd.) in Detroit.

On a first-come, first-serve basis and while supplies last, community members in need will receive new winter coats, hats, gloves, and socks. There is a maximum of two coats per family. ACC will distribute a total of 500 items.

Masks are required for entry and social distancing will be observed. Hand sanitizer stations will be in place throughout the facility.

“Through the generosity of our wonderful sponsors, we are pleased to offer these essential winter supplies to our neighbors in need,” says Haifa Fakhouri, president and CEO of ACC. “This has been a very challenging year, and with the winter cold fast approaching, we are grateful for our sponsors’ support as we continue to serve the increased needs of the community during the pandemic.”

Sponsors of ACC’s Winter Warm Up event include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Henry Ford Health System, Kroger, Quicken Loans, Dr. Luay Haddad, Dr. Haifa Fakhouri, Health Alliance Plan, DTE Energy, Helix Diagnostics, Meijer, Ciena Healthcare, Odie Fakhouri, Rami Fakhouri, Bob Ghannam, Delta Dental and The Qazi Foundation, and in-kind sponsors D&B Grocers, Faygo, Frito-Lay, Im-perial Fresh and Pepsi.

Hungry Howie’s Honors National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
National Pizza Month coincides with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October and Hungry Howie’s in Madison Heights is offering a deal that honors both.

Hungry Howie’s is celebrating its 11th year of the “Love, Hope & Pizza” campaign, which is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc. Since the campaign launched in 2009, Hungry Howie’s has raised more than $3 million to support survivors and those currently battling breast cancer by donating a portion of sales from its Flavored Crust pizzas to NBCF.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought additional challenges and hardship to those affected by the disease. Hungry Howie’s will contribute to NBCF’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to help provide breast cancer patients with the services and care they need. To help support the cause, Hungry Howie’s is offering a medium one-topping pizza for $1 with an online purchase of a large one-topping pizza at regular menu price using the code “LHPBOGO.”

Additionally, for the remainder of 2020, customers are invited to help the cause when they order online or via Hungry Howie’s mobile app, with the option to round-up their total to the nearest dollar at check-out.

MSU Researchers Develop Software Tool to Assess Children’s Phonological Awareness
Researchers from Michigan State University in East Lansing have developed a new software tool to assess children’s phonological awareness — or, how they process the sound structure of words.

The ATLAS, or Access to Literacy Assessment System, program — the first test of its kind for children with speech and/or language impairment — can help parents, early childhood teachers, and paraeducators more accurately measure phonological progress for children with a range of skill levels.

Research conducted by the MSU ATLAS team, published in the journal Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, demonstrated that the software was effective when tested with over 1,100 children between the ages of 3 and 7 — both with and without speech and language impairments.

“Phonological awareness is one of the strongest predictors of literacy skill development later in life,” says Lori Skibbe, professor of human development and family studies at MSU and study lead author. “It can include rhyming, recognizing how sounds go together to make words and understanding how words can be broken apart into sounds.”

Skibbe explained that the software, available free of charge, is adaptive, which means that test items are unique for each child. Children can take the test without speaking, and the test is shorter than many others in the field. ATLAS also is helpful for many children with disabilities, including those with speech and/or language impairment.

ATLAS was made possible by a $1.4 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences.

To view the full study, visit here.