DBusiness Daily Update: Michigan Unemployment Rate Declines in April, WKAR Documentary Shines Light on Beyond Basics and Literacy Crisis, 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.
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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.

Michigan Unemployment Rate Declines in April

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreased slightly by 2/10th of a percentage point to 4.9 percent in April, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Employment in Michigan edged up by 6,000 and unemployment moved down by 8,000, resulting in the state workforce inching down by 2,000 over the month.

The national unemployment rate edged up by a 10th of a percentage point in April to 6.1 percent. Michigan’s April jobless rate was 1.2 percentage points below the U.S. rate. Over the year, the national rate fell by 8.7 percentage points, while Michigan’s rate dropped sharply by 18.7 percentage points. These jobless rate cuts over the past year reflected the recalls of workers to jobs since the peak of pandemic-related unemployment in April 2020.

“Michigan’s employment situation has improved markedly one year after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic-related layoffs in the state,” says Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “However, auto-related layoffs in Michigan occurred in April 2021 due to the national shortage of semiconductor chips and the resulting impact on auto production.”

Michigan employment levels were little changed in April, inching up by 0.1 percent. This change was comparable to the employment increase exhibited by the U.S. (+0.2 percent). Over the year, the state labor force rose by 2.5 percent, while the national workforce advanced by 2.9 percent since April 2020.

Michigan employment levels were 968,000, or 27.6 percent, above the year-ago, pandemic-related lows, about double the percent gain nationally (+13.4 percent). Total unemployment fell by 853,000, or 78.7 percent, over the year, a decrease substantially larger than the percentage U.S. decline (-57.5 percent). Michigan’s April 2021 workforce trends compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Despite a substantial employment recovery since the pandemic-related low of April 2020, Michigan total employment in April 2021 remained 273,000 below the February 2020 pre-pandemic level.

Total unemployment in the state during April 2021 was 46,000, or 24.9 percent, higher than pre-pandemic levels. The Michigan jobless rate of 4.9 percent during April 2021 was 1.2 percentage points above the February 2020 rate.

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate moved down by 2/10th of a percentage point in April to 4.3 percent. The regional employment level rose by 5,000 in April.

The Detroit MSA unemployment rate fell by 20.4 percentage points since last year’s peak in April 2020. Employment rebounded by 462,000, while unemployment dropped sharply by 394,000. The Detroit metro region workforce level rose by 68,000 since April 2020.

WKAR Documentary Shines Light on Literacy Crisis

The public television station of Michigan State University in East Lansing, WKAR, is presenting a virtual screening of its original documentary “Right to Read” tonight at 7 p.m. The event is free but registration and a WKAR OVEE account are required.

The film presents the stories of Michigan families attempting to secure the right to read for their children. Beyond Basics, and the stories of its graduates, as well as an interview with co-founder and CEO Pamela Good, are featured prominently in the documentary.

A Q&A session with a panel discussing the film, Michigan’s third-grade reading law, and its impact on children and families as well as and reading proficiency resources and support available to families will follow the screening.

“For more than 20 years, Beyond Basics has been committed to helping turn children in Detroit and across Michigan into readers, one child, one family, one school, one neighborhood at a time,” says Good. “We are grateful to WKAR for drawing more attention to this crisis so that we can start solving it for more children.”

“Right to Read” will air publicly on Thursday, June 3 at 9:30 p.m. on WKAR 23.1 in mid-Michigan.

Major Silicone Industry Trade Show Coming to TFC Center in 2022

Select Global Events in the United Kingdom has selected TCF Center in downtown Detroit to host Silicone Expo, June 21-23, 2022.

The trade show and conference, which will be free to attend, will feature more than 180 exhibitors, conferences, roundtable discussions, more than 65 speakers and some 3,500 buyers.

Exhibitors will be representing the entire manufacturing and extended supply chains of elastomers, resins, fluids, and gels.

“Silicones are amongst the world’s most important and adaptable materials that are used in a huge amount of industries,” says Nathan Reuby, CEO of Select Global Events. “All around us in everyday life is a silicone based product, yet, rather surprisingly this sector did not have its own dedicated meeting place. It does now and we are so excited to work with the industry and give it the platform it deserves.”

The TCF Center was chosen, according to Reuby, given its location in the manufacturing heartland of the U.S. Midwest, a key region, with domestic and international connections and access to end user sectors.

“The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, along with our hospitality community, is very pleased to welcome Silicone Expo and are proud to showcase how we host large, safe gatherings and consistently deliver outstanding event experiences,” says Claude Molinari, president and CEO of the DMCVB. “Many of our industry segments will have a keen interest in attending this show.”

For more information, visit here.

Plastipak Holdings Contributes $1M to Support Forgotten Harvest Programs

 Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park announced that Plastipak Holdings Inc. in Plymouth Township has contributed $1 million to support Forgotten Harvest programs and its Solutions that Nourish Campaign.

Twenty percent or $200,000 of the charitable investment will directly support the organization’s Healthy Food Healthy Kids feeding programs, and the remaining $800,000 is a leadership gift to help with the organization’s Solutions that Nourish Campaign.

“We are very grateful for our partnership with Plastipak Holdings and for their leadership gift commitment to help our community and the belief in our vision of significantly reducing hunger and food insecurity while creating healthier and stronger neighborhoods,” says Kirk Mayes, CEO of Forgotten Harvest.

“In keeping with one of our core values in caring for others, Plastipak wanted to do something impactful to assist children and families who are hungry and in need of help,” says Bill Young, president and CEO of Plastipak Holdings, a global company headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan. “We know Forgotten Harvest will utilize this gift well to help children thrive, and it will create better health and quality of life outcomes so many families in metro Detroit.”

For more information, visit here.

Preservation Detroit Kicks Off 2021 Walking Tour Season

Preservation Detroit announced that its Detroit historical walking tours will return starting June 5.

Last year’s tours were cancelled because of COVID-19. Now, with more Michiganders getting vaccinated and restrictions being lifted, Detroit’s oldest preservation organization will once again be offering its two- to two-and-a-half-hour walking tours, which allow guests to explore Detroit’s vibrant history and experience the city from a new perspective, all the while helping benefit Preservation Detroit in its fight to preserve the city’s history and built environment.

The tours share our city’s architectural and cultural history through the passion of knowledgeable volunteer tour guides. Tour-takers will enjoy a new take on National Historic Landmarks like the Guardian and Penobscot buildings, and also visit corners of the city they didn’t know existed. Custom-curated private tours also are offered.

As the program resumes in 2021, tours will initially be given on Saturdays in four historic districts in Detroit:

The Cultural Center: Uncover the stories behind Detroit’s great cultural institutions, as well as the gorgeous homes of the Ferry Street neighborhood. A once-a-month tour also affords a look at public art in the district.

Downtown: Explore the plan for the city from the ground up. Historic high-rises, towering monuments, grand boulevards, parks, and plazas all are part of this tour.

Eastern Market: Experience the sights, sounds, and smells of America’s oldest and largest outdoor farmers’ market.

Midtown: Home to some of Detroit’s most dramatic changes in recent years, Midtown is full of distinctly Detroit stories.

Individual tours are $15 for Preservation Detroit members and $18 for non-members. A season pass for all of the tours is $50 for members and $60 for nonmembers. To book a tour, history-seekers must book in advance here.

“After a year of quarantining at home, Preservation Detroit is thrilled to be resuming our award-winning walking tour program – with the safety of our guests and guides being our highest priority,” says Devan Anderson, president of the organization’s board of directors.

The organization’s annual theater tour is one of the most-anticipated events in the city each fall, selling out each year. The tour provides backstage access to the Motor City’s movie palaces like the Fox and Fillmore theaters, Detroit Opera House, and more. Each fall, Preservation Detroit also leads walking tours through the city’s historic cemeteries, highlighting the legacies of many of the most influential Detroiters who called our city home. More details about these tours will be available later this year.

Detroit Native Launches Certified Line of Streetwear with Mission to Giveback

A new socially conscious clothing company called Certified, a premium sweatshirt brand founded by native Detroiter Chris George, launched Wednesday unveiling its mission to give back to the community.

The new concept goes beyond the popular one-for-one give-back model of some fashion brands. Instead, Certified will donate 100 meals to Feeding America for every product sold.

“What I love about this brand is that it combines two things that never go out of style, fashionable hoodies and giving back,” says George, CEO of Certified. “I really wanted this next business venture to help millions of people. It may seem like an ambitious goal, but I am excited to work towards it with the help of our growing Certified community.”

Certified brand’s products include two signature hoodies: one with the word “Certified” emblazoned across the chest and another with the word “Verified” in the same position on the sweatshirt.

Each quarter, Certified will introduce new styles that received positive input from customers via social media and other feedback channels. The first quarterly drop is estimated to take place in December 2021. A t-shirt line also is in the process of being designed with an estimated rollout this summer 2021.

Certified will donate meals to Feeding America monthly based on the number of sweatshirts sold in that respective month. The Certified community will be able to track the amount of meals donated on the company’s website.

Ines Attire Launches of Detroit-produced Women’s Apparel Brand

Ines Attire opened its virtual e-commerce doors with a small introductory women’s apparel capsule collection to a curated audience with fashion roots in Detroit and New York.

Detroit natives, co-founders and current NYC roommates Adrianna Bojrab and Adriana Berguer hail from the likes of Ralph Lauren, Barney’s, Intermix, DVF, and French-label Isabel Marant. Together they have teamed up to bring elevated handcrafted and versatile pieces that can live forever in your closet and can be worn repeatedly as one’s style evolves.

The duo, adamant about sustainable and American-made products source the highest quality fabrics from the garment district in New York, which are then produced in Detroit, a city close to their heart and home to the 1920s Art Deco building Inez that inspired their name.

Michigan Carrabba’s Italian Grills Hosting Hiring Event May 25 and 27

Carrabba’s Italian Grill is hosting a two-day, in-person hiring event for all hourly positions between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25 and on Thursday, May 27.

On-site interviews will be conducted at the following locations:

  • Canton Township (1900 N. Haggerty Rd.)
  • Novi (43455 West Oaks Dr.)
  • Sterling Heights (44695 Schoenherr Rd.)
  • Southgate (14805 Dix Toledo Rd.)
  • Troy (660 West Big Beaver Rd.)
  • Grandville (3441 Century Center St. SW)
  • Lansing (6540 West Saginaw Hwy.)
  • Portage (5690 S Westnedge Ave.)

For more information, visit here.

UnitedHealthcare Introduces Community-based Collaborative

 Minnesota-based UnitedHealthcare announced a community-based initiative, Community Catalyst, that convenes a broad range of community stakeholders to identify and address specific health care needs of members of the community and residents of publicly assisted housing who are often difficult to reach and serve.

The Detroit Housing Commission will be part of a second cohort of public housing authorities joining the initiative.

“The needs of communities are as diverse as the communities themselves, and in order to best impact health outcomes in communities, we are creating approaches that are rooted in data and also reflect the perspectives of the people that live and work in the community,” says Catherine Anderson, senior vice president of policy and strategy for UnitedHealthcare Community and State. “By working closely with CLPHA, FQHCs, and CBOs, UnitedHealthcare is well-positioned to bring the right partners together to align primary and behavioral health with social needs, creating initiatives that not only improve health outcomes but also provide for equitable care for all.”

Families Against Narcotics to Honor Denise Ilitch, Others at Fundraising Gala

Families Against Narcotics will honor to Denise Ilitch and other women at its Women Honoring Women Gala May 20 at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.

The fundraising event in celebration of women who have overcome diverse challenges, been affected by substance use disorder, or have made a difference in their community by fighting against addiction will take place between 5-9 p.m.

The gala will be hosted by Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

The event will feature a dinner overlooking Lake St. Clair, vendors displaying products and services geared toward women, and raffles.

“We are really excited about this event,” says Linda Davis, executive director of FAN. “When women get behind a cause, it creates a ripple effect that can change lives. FAN was born out of passion to change a broken system of care for people suffering from substance use disorder. It is my hope that this event will raise awareness and ignite this group of women to action.”

For more information, visit here.

Discover Your Spark Kicks Off Directory of Affordable Summer Youth Programs

Discover Your Spark, the free online directory of summer youth programs designed to connect busy parents and caregivers to quality afterschool and summer programs, says it has more than 100 affordable summer programs listed in its searchable online directory.

Discover Your Spark makes it easy to search for fun, engaging, and educational activities and programs for kids ages 4 to 18. New programs are added regularly and include indoor and outdoor in-person and virtual programming options from across Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Activities like sports, arts, science, math, and more are offered. Parents can search Discover Your Spark by specific criteria, such as grade, cost, zip code, and focus.

“Providers have worked hard to adjust to changing needs and are offering programming options that are in line with the interests of parents and kids,” says Sara Plachta Elliott, executive director for the Youth Development Resource Center, which manages Discover Your Spark. “There is more need for children and youth to reconnect and restore their mental health and social connections. Arts, sports, STEM, and other youth development activities give youth the outlets they need to learn and grow their skills for success.”

“It can be hard for parents to find safe and affordable activities for kids when school is out. That’s where Discover Your Spark comes in. It helps parents research options from a wide array of providers that offer opportunities for kids to explore new interests and develop new social-emotional skills, like confidence and teamwork.”

Discover Your Spark is supported by United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and The Skillman Foundation and is powered by the Youth Development Resource Center.

To explore the activities available, visit here.

Lung Association Hosts Outdoor Stair Climb at Comerica Park Sunday

The American Lung Association in Madison Heights is hosting its first outdoor Fight for Air Climb on Sunday at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit at 8 a.m.

Hundreds of individuals, families, firefighters, first responders, and corporate teams from throughout Michigan are expected to participate.

The Detroit Fight for Air Climb typically takes place in the stairwells of Ally Detroit Center and One Woodward but was reimagined as an outdoor climb challenge for the safety of participants, volunteers, and staff.

For more information, visit here.



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