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.
Phase Two of Motown Museum Expansion Begins
Detroit’s Motown Museum has begun phase two of its multimillion-dollar expansion project, sharing updated renderings of the community-centered outdoor plaza designed to be the centerpiece of the second phase.
The outdoor plaza will serve as a multipurpose community gathering place and welcome destination for museum visitors, meant to “inspire joy and creative collaboration” with regular performances by local talent and opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs.
Construction begins this month and is projected to be complete by summer 2022.
“The plaza is such an important part of our expansion project,” says Robin Terry, chairwoman and CEO of the Motown Museum. “The last year has proven just how important these outdoor spaces are to thriving communities, and we are thrilled to create something that has been much needed in our city.
“The new Motown Museum plaza will be a place where residents and tourists from around the globe can come to bask in Motown music, be entertained by pop-up performances and connect with other Motown fans on the very grounds where the Motown Sound was born and music history was made.”
The plaza was inspired by a time when young Motown acts like Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, and so others, would hang out in front of Motown’s headquarters on W. Grand Boulevard.
It is designed to start visitors’ memorable experience at the museum from the moment they set foot on it. They will arrive at a lit granite paver expanse, surrounded by flowers and other plantings, park benches, and a pop-up performance stage surrounded by a sound system playing Motown hits. The plaza was designed by Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson & Associates.
As part of phase two construction, indoor tours of Hitsville U.S.A. are temporarily paused until summer 2022 while exterior restoration of the historic building takes place. A community open house event to celebrate the completion of phase two construction on the plaza is planned for Summer 2022.
The final touches on phase one of the expansion, Hitsville NEXT, are being completed. Hitsville NEXT includes three original Motown-era homes that have been transformed into the museum’s new education and creative hub; a place where a mix of signature programs, camps, workshops, master classes, and community events will take place to develop future singer songwriters, music makers, artists, and entrepreneurs.
Motown Museum also announced that it has raised $32 million of the now $55 million needed to complete the project. The Motown Museum Board of Directors determined the need to increase the overall campaign goal in response to escalating construction labor and material costs created by the pandemic.
The $32 million milestone is up from the $25 million announced during the phase one groundbreaking event conducted in September 2019 during the museum’s Motown 60 Weekend in honor of the legendary label’s anniversary.
“Momentum and enthusiasm for the project has never been higher,” Terry says. “We continue to be full of gratitude for our generous partners who have joined us on this passionate mission to make the bold vision of an expanded museum a reality.”
The Motown Museum expansion will grow the museum to a nearly 50,000-square-foot entertainment and education tourist destination featuring interactive exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, an expanded retail experience, and meeting spaces designed by renowned architects and exhibit designers.
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Gov. Whitmer Bypasses Legislature to Reinstate Prevailing Wage in Michigan
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week announced she was reinstating Prevailing Wage Requirements for all state contracts. Many, including the National Federation of Independent Business in Michigan, objected to the move and question its legality.
The Prevailing Wage law of 1966 was repealed by Initiative Petition in 2018.
“While we appreciate that the governor got used to unilaterally making decisions over the past two years, we are disappointed that she would once again be so blatant in her abuse of power and actually believe that it is in her constitutional purview to reinstate a law that had been repealed by the legislature through an initiative petition,” says Amanda Fisher, assistant state director for the National Federation of Independent Business in Michigan.
NFIB members continue to support prevailing wage repeal because it drives up construction costs for taxpayers and discourages small business from bidding on government construction projects. Prevailing wage is nothing more than a protectionist regulation for and by construction labor unions.
Fisher explains that prevailing wage projects are prohibitive for most small businesses, which do not have the resources to track all of the red tape that comes with this kind of project.
“While the governor claims she is helping families, the truth is, she will hurt small businesses and countless families still trying to recover from her inconsistent and draconian restrictions on business for the past year and a half,” Fisher says.
“I’m also curious that if this action is indeed legal and constitutional, why bills were introduced this session that would reinstate that law.”
Medicare and Medicaid Services Give Blue Care Network HMO Five Stars
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan announced on Friday that its Blue Cross Network HMO has received the highest possible rating, 5 Stars, from for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
The BCBSM PPO was recognized as a 4.5-Star plan in CMS’ 2022 Star Ratings.
CMS publishes the Medicare Part C Star Ratings each year to measure the quality of health services received by beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. The Medicare Star Rating is designed as a way to help consumers select a Medicare Advantage plan as well as evaluate how well plans that contract with Medicare perform.
“Ensuring our senior members receive the quality health care and services they need is essential to delivering the exceptional Medicare Advantage plans members expect from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan,” says Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of BCBSM. “These high ratings from CMS are a testament to the work we put in every day to maintain the highest quality networks and access to care, in addition to taking care of our members’ complete health needs.”
Medicare assigns a star rating from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, for Medicare Advantage plans. The Star Ratings also reflect the experiences of beneficiaries and assist beneficiaries in finding the best plan for them.
Medicare considers five categories when assigning a Star Rating to a Medicare Advantage plan, which include: How the plan emphasizes staying healthy, including benefits like screenings, tests, and vaccines; how the plan manages chronic conditions; how responsive the plan is, as well as the quality of care people with the plan receive; member complaint reports, which include problems in getting services, decision appeals; and how many members leave the plan each year.
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New Program Offers Michigan Workers Aged 45+ Way to Reinvent Career Path
JVS Human Services in Southfield is starting a new Recharge! virtual career development program for mature workers wanting to reinvent their working lives and find a fresh professional path.
The program will provide tools for participants to reconnect with their skills and interests, refresh their professional image and personal brand, restore belief in themselves during life transition, and review the local job market.
Recharge! will be conducted from 10 a.m.-noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Oct. 26 until Nov. 18.
Sherrie James, career counselor at JVS Human Services, says mature workers continue to look for new ways to make themselves attractive to employers, with many now preferring to work remotely because of safety concerns regarding COVID-19. Many also are enthusiastic about trying new careers.
“There are challenges, but we are here to help navigate any obstacles and help our participants explore new options,” says James. “Sometimes people need to do some real soul-searching, for example if they have been unemployed for some time and they don’t have the necessary abilities for a position. However, we can point participants in the right direction for getting skills, such as computer training, that could make their dreams a reality.”
The program requires registration and $40 material fees, although financial hardship will not be a barrier to taking part. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 248-233-4472.