DBusiness Daily Update: CarMax to Acquire Remaining Stake in Edmunds, Boston’s Prospero Health Expands into Michigan, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
graph of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

CarMax to Acquire Remaining Stake in Edmunds
Virginia-based used vehicle dealer CarMax Inc. today announced it has agreed to acquire Edmunds, a popular automotive research site with an office in Detroit.

CarMax Inc., the nation’s largest used car retailer, bought a minority stake in Edmunds in January 2020 for $50 million. Terms of the deal announced today were not disclosed.

With this acquisition, CarMax and Edmunds expect to accelerate their respective capabilities to deliver an enhanced digital experience to their customers by leveraging Edmunds’ content and technology, CarMax’s national scale and infrastructure, and the combined talent of both companies.

Following the closing of the transaction, Edmunds will continue to operate independently and will remain focused on delivering information to consumers and value to its dealer and OEM clients.

“We are excited to bring the iconic Edmunds brand, history of innovation, and exceptional technology and creative talent into the CarMax family,” says Bill Nash, president and CEO of CarMax. “Our partnership to date has proven to be an outstanding combination as we’ve developed innovative products and advanced our shared commitment to delivering the highest quality online experience. We look forward to supporting and investing in Edmunds’ continued growth and are excited about the many opportunities ahead for both CarMax and Edmunds.”

Following the 2020 investment, CarMax and Edmunds jointly developed a number of strategic initiatives, including an online instant offer for sellers of used autos.

“The instant offer products on Edmunds.com and CarMax.com have put CarMax in the position to become the largest online buyer of used autos from consumers,” says Nash.

“For over 50 years, Edmunds has been delivering value to automotive shoppers, making the entire car buying process easier,” says Avi Steinlauf, CEO of Edmunds. “We have found a great partner in CarMax, with whom we look forward to continuing to grow and support our shoppers, as well as our dealer and OEM partners, while providing continuous innovations to the market. I am excited about the next chapter in Edmunds’ evolution.”

Boston’s Prospero Health Expands into Michigan
Prospero Health, headquartered in Boston, announced today it is expanding into Michigan and four other states to support a growing population of people living with serious health conditions.

Prospero, which provides home-based medical care to more than 10,000 people facing serious illness in 26 states, is expanding its physician-led care teams, as well as virtual delivery capabilities, to the Detroit and Kalamazoo markets.

The company’s model offers medical care in the home with enhanced video consultation capabilities and 24/7 telemedicine support.

“We have seen an overwhelmingly positive response from patients, families, and local health care providers as we have introduced our model of compassionate, holistic care to communities across the country,” says Doug Wenners, co-founder and CEO of Prospero. “Our nationwide expansion allows us to support more patients and caregivers as they navigate severe chronic health issues and challenges associated with adverse social determinants of health. Many of the people we serve live alone and rely on our care teams for medical and emotional support. Our goal is to help them live their best quality lives.”

Working closely with patients’ existing primary care physicians and specialists, Prospero’s multi-disciplinary teams of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, and social workers ensure patients receive the care they need, where they need it.

Prospero also is expanding into Maryland, Nevada, Vermont, and West Virginia.

State Makes $16M Available to Train Those Impacted by Pandemic
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity released a competitive Request for Proposals to fund customized training programs through the Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program (MiLEAP) for job seekers across the state who have been economically impacted by COVID-19.

More than $16 million is available to fund grant awards to groups who will work as regional consortia to support individuals who are dislocated, underemployed, or serving as essential workers living in distressed rural and urban communities or are economically disadvantaged.

Request for Proposals submissions are due by May 7. Awardees will be notified by May 28. A pre-submission informational webinar will take place April 7 to provide an overview of the process for potential applicants. Pre-registration is required to attend the informational webinar. To register, visit here.

The MiLEAP funds will allow recipients to help Michigan job seekers transition from education and training to employment by delivering short- and mid-term customized training solutions.

LEO anticipates funding a minimum of eight awardees with a maximum of $2 million each for a three-year program. Grant recipients will perform work from July 2021 through June 2023.

“Along with Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect, MiLEAP is an innovative approach to providing education and training opportunities to support Michiganders,” says Susan Corbin, acting director of LEO. “By offering training that is customized to the individual, MiLEAP will enable participants to take the next step on their pathway to financial security.”

Regional Consortia – each led by partnerships between the state’s Perkins Institutions of Higher Education and Michigan Works! Agencies – will lead program implementation activities. Other consortia partners may include employers, business and industry associations, labor, non-Perkins institutions of higher education, nonprofits, and other groups associated with workforce development. MiLEAP Regional Consortia will address regional workforce needs and advance existing employees through re- and upskilling.

“We recognized there were many challenges in developing a program that could offer customized solutions statewide – but that’s exactly what is needed, and that’s exactly what we created,” says Stephanie Beckhorn director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training. “By bringing together Michigan’s workforce and postsecondary education systems, MiLEAP allows partners throughout the state to effectively serve job seekers looking to earn credentials, gain skills to employment, return to work, and advance in a career pathway.”

Additionally, grant funds will support the creation of MiLEAP navigators who will provide job seekers direct assistance in assessing and overcoming barriers, identifying resources and provide guidance and support. MiLEAP participants will receive individualized competency-based assessments and learning plans that include skills assessments, remote learning opportunities, high school and industry credential attainment and contextual learning opportunities.

Funding for MiLEAP was provided through a Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

MSU Develops Virtual Training for Emergency Responders
The Learning and Assessment Center at Michigan State University in East Lansing has created a one-stop-shop for prehospital emergency responder training using virtual professional development programs.

The training provides opportunities for first responders to obtain and maintain certifications on multiple skills and receive specialized training.

“What makes this program unique is the delivery of multiple cases or stations that the learners rotate through virtually,” says Mary Kay Smith, director of the LAC in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at MSU. “This format allows us to improve accessibility of professional development for prehospital personnel.”

Centralized training saves time and gets first responders back on the job faster. Currently, they often have to travel across the state to access difficult-to-find courses. It can take paramedics and EMTs multiple days to complete all of the required training.

The training module topics range from the expected such as a heart attack to the unexpected such as an accidental pediatric overdose. Another part of the training is to help responders notice signs of abuse or human trafficking that a patient might not disclose. There also are specialized training modules for infant and child issues or treating a woman who is pregnant.

“One of the cases is a ‘house of horrors’ where responders are immersed in a home environment. They have to identify safety issues while trying to care for the patients,” Smith says. “We also incorporate multiple topic areas necessary for maintenance of their state licensure, some of which are difficult for them to find.”

The training is open to any licensed paramedic or EMT. This includes new, veteran, and everyone in between. The virtual training is currently offered through Zoom and in person using virtual reality training options available at the LAC.

“The goal is to help responders learn new skills to be able to provide a better standard of care and improve patient outcomes throughout the state,” Smith says.

Guernsey Farms and Rainbow Connection are Granting Wishes
The Rainbow Connection in Rochester and Guernsey Farms Dairy in Northville are kicking-off a new initiative aimed at supporting TRC’s mission of granting the wishes of Michigan children with life-threating medical conditions.

Guernsey has committed a portion of every purchase of their merchandise will go directly to granting wishes through The Rainbow Connection. The line includes apparel, accessories, and ice cream toppers. Merchandise can be purchased on the Guernsey Farms website: Guernseyfarmsdairy.com or at its store in Novi.

“The Rainbow Connection is honored to partner with Guernsey Farms,” says George Miller, executive director of TRC. “This is an outstanding opportunity for us to spread our mission across the state and provide wishes to Michigan children in need. We feel privileged to be working alongside such an amazing Michigan company.”

Joe Kinville, quality assurance technician at Guernsey Farms, says, “Watching a child and their family, who are going through something that no one should ever have to go through, eat an ice cream cone or drink a chocolate milk and seeing the smile it brings to their face is why we do what we do. It is only natural that we would partner with a Michigan charity whose focus in on providing joy and hope to families in need.”

Figure Skating Championships Coming to Kalamazoo in 2022
U.S. Figure Skating has selected Kalamazoo as the site for the 2022 Midwestern and Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships, Jan. 26-30, 2022 at Wings Event Center.

Hosted by the Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association, the event will showcase teams from throughout the Midwest, Plains states, Gulf Coast, and Pacific Coast.

“Our club is excited to again be the host to an incredible synchronized skating competition for the Midwest and Pacific Coast,” says Amy Wood, event co-chair for GKSA. “We can’t wait to welcome skaters, coaches, officials, and families back to the rink and back to Kalamazoo. GKSA is committed to hosting a safe and successful competition for our local and skating communities.”

U.S. Figure Skating conducts three sectional championships for synchronized skating each year – the Eastern, Midwestern, and Pacific Coast (the Midwestern and Pacific Coast are run as two events at one location). These competitions are the final qualifiers for the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. In recent years, the sectional championships have hosted approximately 175 teams and 4,000 athletes, coaches, team managers, and fans.

“As the host facility, we look forward to providing the athletes and their fan’s a world class experience in our venue,” says Rob Underwood, general manager of Wings Event Center. “We have several new features in place like concourse hand sanitizer stations and contact free, in-seat, food and beverage delivery service that will offer our guests a peace of mind.”

GKSA and Wings Event Center hosted the Midwestern and Pacific Coast Synchronized Sectional Championships in 2013, as well as the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in 2016, and again in 2019.

Synchronized skating consists of teams of eight to 20 skaters, flowing as one unit at high speeds over the ice. Spectators will be able to watch skaters in eight competitive divisions ranging from juvenile (13 and younger) to masters (35+) in the nation’s premier synchronized skating event.

For more information, including how to become a part of the local organizing committee, visit here.

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