DBusiness Daily Update: LIFT Launches No-cost Skilled Trades Training Program in Wayne County, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
241
LIFT has launched a free skilled trades training program geared toward low- to moderate-income Wayne County residents. // Courtesy of LIFT
LIFT has launched a free skilled trades training program geared toward low- to moderate-income Wayne County residents. // Courtesy of LIFT

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

LIFT Launches No-cost Skilled Trades Training Program for Wayne County Residents

LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense manufacturing innovation institute, has launched a free skilled trades training program, specifically geared toward low- to moderate-income Wayne County residents.

The program is funded through the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) Regional Talent Innovation Grant and support through Wayne County.

Through this program, LIFT will provide certification training for 80 Wayne County residents in robotics, welding, and CNC operations at its Detroit headquarters, located in Corktown. At least 51 percent of the students enrolled must qualify as low income and complete the program by mid-June 2023.

“Our LIFT Learning Lab in Detroit was designed to provide opportunities to prepare the advanced manufacturing workforce of tomorrow, but it was also established to provide opportunities for those who need it right away,” says Marianne Donoghue, senior director of talent programs at LIFT.

These CDBS CARES Act funded Regional Talent Innovation Grants provide funds to eligible economic development organizations or other nonprofits to administer training programs that target growth in specific occupations in high demand from regional employers. These training programs focus on low- to moderate-income individuals, particularly those living in geographically disadvantaged areas.

“Talent is the key to unlocking the success of our employers and we are proud to be working with LIFT through this Regional Talent Innovation Grant to provide Wayne County residents economic opportunity in critically in-demand fields,” says Kerry Ebersole Singh, chief talent solutions and engagement officer at MEDC. “We are committed to creating a culture of lifelong learning here in Michigan, while investing in programs and opportunities like these that will help our workforce prepare today for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Wayne County residents interested in participating in the program can contact LIFT at 313-309-9003, at communications@almmii.org, or by visiting at 1400 Rosa Parks Blvd. in Detroit.

Dickinson Wright Assists CATL in its Agreement with Ford Motor Co.

The Dickinson Wright law firm acted as counsel to Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (CATL) in its agreement with Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn to advance the production of electric vehicle batteries with a $3.5 billion EV battery plant in Marshall.

“We are pleased that we could assist CATL in negotiating a comprehensive agreement with Ford that will benefit both parties as they explore new business opportunities to promote EVs and contribute to global carbon neutrality goals,” says Mark Heusel, lead counsel and East Asia Practice Group chair for Dickinson Wright.

Heusel served as lead counsel to CATL. The team included William Rosin (member, Troy office), Andrea Arndt (member, Austin office), Deborah Germany (member, Detroit office), and Kevin DeHart (of counsel).

Dickinson Wright’s East Asia practice group consists of a team of lawyers and professionals who have advised companies of all sizes throughout the region on their investment in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

For more information, visit here.

Detroit Pistons to Host 18th Annual Black History Month Scholarship Event

The Detroit Pistons Foundation and former Pistons “Bad Boy” Rick Mahorn will host the 18th annual Black History Month Scholarship Event from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The event will feature seniors from various Detroit high schools participating in a slam poetry competition and a poster contest with $100,000 in scholarships as the prizes.

This year’s theme requires competitors to showcase how they are Different by Design, this season’s 2022-23 brand campaign theme, in front of a panel of judges comprised of Detroit community leaders and notable figures.

The grand prize winner will be named the Earl Lloyd Award recipient and will receive a $25,000 scholarship. The student that finishes in second place will receive a $20,000 scholarship in partnership with United Dairy Industry of Michigan and third place will receive a $10,000 scholarship in partnership with Priority Health.

In addition to Thursday’s slam poetry competition, the Black History Month Scholarship Event will also feature a poster contest where students will design a poster with the theme, How are you Different by Design? The first-place winner of the poster contest will receive a $20,000 scholarship, second place will be given a $15,000 scholarship in partnership with Stackwell, and third place will receive a $10,000 scholarship in partnership with Consumers Energy.

Participating schools include:

  • Southeastern High School
  • Cass Technical High School
  • Detroit Loyola High School
  • University Prep High School
  • Jalen Rose Leadership Academy
  • Hope of Detroit Academy
  • Northwestern High School
  • Detroit King High School
  • Marygrove High School

Judges include:

  • Rick Mahorn, Pistons legend
  • Earl Cureton, Pistons legend
  • Windy Coles, Consumers Energy
  • Shannon Wilson, Priority Health
  • Aaron Scott, United Dairy Industry of Michigan
  • Kyra Grant, Stackwell
  • Ingrid Kelley, FOX 2 News
  • Kory Woods, MLive
  • Eric Woodyard, ESPN

Detroit’s Pensole Lewis College Announces Winners of Icons of Afroculture Design Challenge

Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design (PLC) in Detroit, in partnership with Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter, announced the winners of the Icons of Afrofuture Design Challenge.

Carter selected the designs of the following young designers:

  • Cresseide Jacques
  • D’on Lauren Edwards
  • Keanu Williams a.k.a. King Nu
  • Irueosa Osadayi Ohanmu

“Afrofuturism is innovative and creative; it’s being artistic, visionary, and inspired,” Carter says. “It’s realizing the power of your voice. It’s knowing you can influence change in someone’s life by helping them see their potential.”

Carter will wear the winning designs at the upcoming:

  • NAACP Fashion Show at Event Deck at L.A. Live on Feb. 23; red carpet 12:30 p.m. (PST); reception 1 p.m. (PST); Fashion Show 2 p.m. (PST).
  • NAACP Awards Dinner at Event Deck at L.A. Live on Feb. 24; red carpet 4 p.m. (PST) Awards program 6 p.m. (PST).
  • 54th NAACP Image Awards, televised live 5 p.m. (PST) on BET on Feb. 25, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
  • 25th Costume Designers Guild Awards (CDGA), on Feb. 27 at Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles; red carpet 5:30 p.m. (PST); ceremony 8:30 p.m. (PST).

“Our vision is to identify, develop and support talented, aspiring Black designers to build a community and legacy,” says D’Wayne Edwards, founder and president of PLC. “Working with a creative legend like Ruth Carter, we are able to provide opportunities that elevate these aspiring creatives to realize their dreams of becoming the future of fashion and costume design.”

West Michigan Storage Products Supplier Speedrack Becomes 100% Employee-owned

Speedrack Products Group a storage system supplier in Walker, west of Grand Rapids, has become a 100 percent employee-owned company through the creation of a new ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan).

“Through the generosity of Ron and Dawn Ducharme we’re excited to become a 100 percent employee-owned business,” says Eric Quist, president of Speedrack. “Our company has delivered revolutionary products and services at the forefront of the storage products industry for nearly 70 years. Our new ESOP will sustain our company culture and lasting partnerships with customers and distributors for many years to come. Furthermore, becoming an employee-owned company ensures that Speedrack will remain an independent, Michigan-based company.”

Speedrack is one of the leading suppliers of pallet racking and storage systems, maximizing its customers’ use of space and improving warehouse logistics. Speedrack began manufacturing storage racks in Skokie, Ill. in 1954. In 1989, Ron Ducharme purchased the company out of bankruptcy from a private equity firm and relocated the company to Sparta, Mich.

Since then, Ducharme increased manufacturing through reinvestment, including the expansion of the Quincy, Mich. plant and the construction of a new facility in Walker, which also houses the corporate headquarters.

“Sharing ownership with employees is a natural extension of how we do business, which has enabled us to become a strong, cutting-edge company,” Quist says. “Our ESOP is the best investment we can make in each other and in the company going forward.”

Through Speedrack’s ESOP plan, employees will earn shares in the business while working for the company. The ESOP benefit is funded entirely by company contributions and requires no out-of-pocket investment by employees.