COVID-19 Update: Wayne State Enrollment and Black Graduation Rates Rise, Michigan Jobless Rate Down in July, 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.
graph of the number of 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.

Wayne State University Enrollment and Black Graduation Rate Increasing
Overall undergraduate enrollment at Wayne State University in Detroit is up 2.3 percent from last year, Black undergraduate enrollment for first-time college students is up 58.7, and the graduation rate for Black students is up to 25 percent from 8 percent in 2011.

Despite uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this fall’s freshman class is trending toward being the largest in the school’s 152-year history, according to school officials. While Black representation in the freshman class is up 58.7 percent, overall Black enrollment is up 3.6 percent over last year.

“These numbers speak to the commitment we have made to making a Wayne State education accessible and affordable to all students, regardless of racial or socio-economic background,” says M. Roy Wilson, president of WSU. “We’re focused on increasing enrollment and the diversity of our student body, through targeted strategic efforts to recruit students of all backgrounds. And it’s working.”

Wayne State also exceeded its strategic plan goal of a six-year graduation rate of 50 percent one year early, and is anticipating it will hit 52 percent by September. The six-year graduation rate for Black students has tripled to 25 percent, from 8 percent in 2011.

“I’m especially gratified that these positive enrollment numbers are coming at a time when so much is up in the air because of the pandemic,” Wilson says. “I think our cautious but forward-looking approach to our return to campus has inspired confidence in our students, faculty, and staff. Moreover, students and parents continue to recognize the value of a Wayne State education and are determined to see it through to degree completion, even in these uncertain times.”

Michigan Jobless Rate Down in July, Pace of Job Expansion Moderates
Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in July was 8.7 percent, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. July payroll jobs in Michigan increased by 103,000, below the 266,000 jobs added in the month of June.

Most major industry sectors exhibited employment increases in July. Leisure and hospitality recorded the largest monthly industry job advance on both a numeric and percentage basis, up by 28,000, or 11.7 percent. Trade, transportation, and utility companies added 744 jobs for a 1.6 percent gain. Transportation and equipment companies related to manufacturing added 169 jobs for a 5 percent gain.

The U.S. jobless rate moved down by nine-tenths of a percentage point between June and July to 10.2 percent. Michigan’s July rate was 1.5 percentage points below the national rate.

“Michigan has now recovered about half of the coronavirus-related job cuts, that occurred in March and April 2020,” says Jason Palmer, director of the state’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Payroll employment has increased by about 540,000 over the three-month period of May through July 2020.”

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate receded in July to 9.2 percent. Total employment rose by 147,000, or 8.8 percent, over the month. The monthly unemployment decrease was very large in July and difficult to evaluate, according to officials. Over the last three months, unemployment has averaged 250,000 above the pre-pandemic February level.

The July Detroit MSA unemployment rate was 4.9 percentage points above the July 2019 level, but over the last three months, the rate has averaged 16.7 percent.

Nonfarm jobs increase for third consecutive month, but at lower pace

The monthly survey of employers showed that seasonally adjusted jobs rebounded in Michigan for the third straight month, up by 103,000, or 2.7 percent. This gain was below the job advance in June (+266,300).

For more detailed information, visit here.

InstaShield and United Way Distribute 190,000 Face Shields to Michigan Nonprofits
Chicago-based InstaShield and the United Way are distributing 190,000 face shields to help protect essential workers, volunteers, and partner organizations throughout Michigan.

The shields, part of InstaShield’s pledge to donate one shield for each one sold on its website until it sells 1 million, will be delivered to 10 United Way Michigan offices and hundreds of partner agencies throughout the state. The shields will offer protection to employees and volunteers working in food pantries and homeless shelters, as well as teachers, bus drivers, daycare workers, census workers, and a central PPE distribution hub in Detroit.

“The events of this year have created a level of need in our communities like we’ve never seen, making our work that much more important,” says Michelle Van Dyke, president and CEO of the Heart of West Michigan United Way. “We are grateful for partners like InstaShield and the dedication of our hard-working team members, partners and volunteers.”

InstaShield, which retails for $2.99, is durable, reusable, recyclable, doesn’t irritate the skin, and helps prevent face-touching, according to the manufacturer. InstaShield also can be paired with a face mask, providing extra protection in environments where social distancing is not possible.

Beaumont Seeking Cancer Patients with COVID-19 for Study
Researchers at Beaumont hospitals in Dearborn, Farmington Hills, Royal Oak, and Troy have begun enrolling patients in a new National Cancer Institute study aimed at finding out how COVID-19 impacts cancer patients.

The NCI COVID-19 in Cancer Patients Study, or NCCAPS, is a natural history study of COVID-19 in people with cancer. As part of the study, researchers nationwide will collect blood samples, medical information, and medical images from people with cancer who also have COVID-19. Participants will be followed for up to two years to help doctors and researchers understand how cancer affects COVID-19 and COVID-19 affects cancer.

“We’re learning people with cancer may be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because their cancer, or its treatment, has left them more vulnerable to complications,” says Dr. Dana Zakalik, professor of medicine and oncology, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine; and director of the Nancy and James Grosfeld Cancer Genetics Center, Beaumont Health. “This national study will help scientists answer key questions about COVID-19’s impact on cancer patients, as well as cancer’s impact on the course of COVID-19. The findings have the potential to influence the treatment of cancer patients with COVID-19 in the future.”

To learn more about the study criteria, call the Cancer Clinical Trials Office at the Beaumont Research Institute at 248-551-7695. For more information on the study in general, visit here.

Cranbrook’s Women Rock Science Fundraiser Goes Virtual
The Cranbrook Institute of Science​ in Bloomfield Hills will host its third annual ​Women Rock Science​ fundraiser and gala, virtually, on Friday, Oct. 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Women Rock Science is a women-led fundraising event that celebrates women in STEAM, and is designed to ignite curiosity in children in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Proceeds from the event will help bring more STEAM programming, delivered by Cranbrook Institute of Science, to PreK-12 students in underserved communities throughout metro Detroit, including Detroit, Pontiac, and Flint.

Organizer’s for this year’s event hope to raise $200,000 for the institute’s ongoing Service to Others initiatives, both in-person and remotely.

“Increasing access to STEAM education, and inspiring exploration in children, is a critical mission that Women Rock Science supports,” says Michael D. Stafford, director of the Cranbrook Institute of Science. “This virtual gala allows us to support PreK-12 education in this unpredictable global environment, while recognizing significant women in STEAM. The Institute enhances the learning experience of nearly 34,000 students through outreach programs each year, and amid this pandemic, we are even more dedicated to ensuring students are actively learning.”

General admission tickets can be purchased for $100 or $250 until Sept. 30. Sponsorship packages are still available and range in price from $1,000 to $25,000. To purchase tickets and for more information about Women Rock Science please visit here.

WSU Emergency Medicine Physicians Stage Golf Outing for Detroit’s First Responders
The fifth annual Edward S. Thomas Memorial Golf Outing, scheduled for Aug. 24 at Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield, is dedicated this year to the first responders and front-line workers who have put their lives on the line in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outing, hosted by Medical Center Emergency Services and the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine, will provide golf, lunch, cocktails and a strolling dinner for the Detroit Fire Department, emergency medical services, nurses, and physicians from Detroit hospitals in recognition of their unwavering service during this difficult time.

The event also benefits the Edward S. Thomas Section of Community and Public Health in the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

For more information, contact Cari Williamson at 734-308-5500 or

Multiple Myeloma Panel Discussion to Replace Wine and Dine in the D
The Cure Multiple Myeloma Corp. is hosting a 90-minute panel discussion via Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 29 at 5:30 p.m. in place of its annual Wine and Dine in the D fundraiser due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Virtual Multiple Myeloma Doctor Panel Discussion will include several multiple myeloma experts together on one screen. It is designed to provide patients, caregivers, and all interested parties an opportunity to learn about the new treatment options. This is especially important now, during the COVID-19 pandemic when many patients are isolated and not able to interact with doctors and other patients.

Participation is free to myeloma patients and their caregivers.

Previous attendees of the Wine and Dine in the D event are encouraged to participate by becoming a sponsor or making a donation.

For more information, contact Michele MacWilliams at 248-625-0070 or

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