Manufacturing Day brings students into factories for a look around


Students from Detroit Randolph Career and Technical H.S. at the Henry Ford College  M-TEC Center
Students from Detroit Randolph Career and Technical H.S. at the Henry Ford College M-TEC Center

Manufacturing companies throughout the U.S. have unfilled jobs for skilled workers, and Manufacturing Day aims to tell that story to students and parents by opening up factories for a one-day visit. In Wayne County there were an approximate 820 students that visited 13 locations. DEGC’s business development staff played a significant role in partnering with local organizations and companies to organize the participation for nearly 650 of the students.

By 2025, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will become available across the U.S., but 2 million may be left unfilled if the skilled labor shortage goes unchecked. Manufacturing Day helps build awareness of modern manufacturing, its rewarding careers and its role as an economic driver, among young people and the larger community.

Manufacturers in Metro Detroit, supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Council, hosted government officials, business and community leaders, and 30 schoolchildren for a Manufacturing Day kickoff event at the Michigan Science Center. Throughout the day local manufacturers and training facilities welcomed middle and high school students at their sites to see firsthand the safe, high-tech and innovative work environments awaiting those who pursue manufacturing careers.

Among the participating organizations were the Ford Dearborn Plant, Magna Seating, Detroit Diesel, Detroit Chassis, DEGC, Detroit Manufacturing Systems, Focus: HOPE, General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, Michigan Science Center, New Center Stamping, Shinola, Verndale Products, Plastic Omnium, Brose New Boston, Henry Ford M-Tec, Detroit Public Schools, SEMCA, Wayne RESA, and WIN – Workforce Intelligence Network.

Kenyetta Hairston Bridges
Business Development Manager


DEGC welcomes two new faces

Charla Sanders  (left) and Cydney Camp (right)
Charla Sanders (left) and Cydney Camp (right)

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation has announced that Charla Sanders has joined DEGC through the Wayne State University Detroit Revitalization Fellows program. She will serve as the Employment District Program Manager for Motor City Match, a program that matches businesses in the city with Detroit’s best available real estate and assistance with loans and grants. Sanders is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she earned a Master’s degree in social work and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Sanders’ professional experiences have been based on community improvement strategies, including her work administering multiple federally funded community improvement grants at one of 34 nationwide IHS Urban Indian Health Programs.

Sanders most recently held joint positions with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and DEGC, where she focused on Detroit-centric philanthropy and economic development projects.

DEGC has also added an intern to its staff for the current semester. Cydney Camp is a student at Michigan State University, enrolled in the Public Policy program at James Madison College. She is currently working on a Bachelor’s degree in social relations and policy and expects to graduate at the end of this year.

Camp has experience working for the business law firm Kilpatrick and Associates on bankruptcy issues and the MSU Department of Sustainability, holding research and data management-related duties.

Camp will assist DEGC Director of Strategy and Research Virginia Wilkinson in the development of market and demographic data for Detroit and the surrounding area. She will also assist with research on policy issues in the city and help with the planning and execution of the Detroit Familiarization tour this fall.

Tiffini Smith
Director of Corporate Communications

First round of Motor City Match winners to be announced Oct. 13


One of the Motor City Match available spaces -- on Lahser Road
One of the Motor City Match available spaces — The Old Redford Resource Center

After reviewing applications from more than 350 budding entrepreneurs and 150 building owners representing 1.7 million square feet of real estate, Motor City Match is ready to announce its first round of winners on Oct. 13.

The announcement will take place at the Old Redford Resource Center, a Motor City Match finalist property located in the historic Old Redford/Brightmoor Neighborhood.

Applicants came from a wide range of backgrounds. Women-owned businesses represented 55 percent of business applications, and more than two-thirds of applications were from minority-owned businesses. A wide range of business sectors, including restaurant, retail, entertainment, manufacturing, art, construction and hospitality were also represented.

Of this inaugural class of entrepreneurs, 10 Match Your Cash winners will share $500,000 in grant funding; seven Make a Plan winners will be provided with expert support to guide the design and build out of their space; 30 Make a Match business winners will receive match-making assistance to help connect them with the Detroit’s best available real estate; and 50 Get Ready winners will get help creating a business plan to get their idea off the ground.

Motor City Match is designed to help businesses throughout the startup process – from idea to open. Owners are encouraged to continually reapply as they fine tune their business concept and prepare for launch. For example, once a Get Ready winner finishes their building plan and are prepared to start looking for a space, they should update their application and resubmit it for a chance to receive support under the Make a Match award.

Business applications will reopen again on Dec. 1 and are due by Jan. 1, 2016. For more information about eligibility criteria and the application process, please visit

Michael Forsyth
Motor City Match Program Director

DDA Looks for Developers for Paradise Valley

Paradise Theatre Photo
The Paradise Theatre


The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is now accepting proposals to restore and honor the rich cultural, economic and historical heritage of the former Paradise Valley within the area formerly known as Harmonie Park, now called the Paradise Valley Cultural and Entertainment District (PVCED). Proposals are due November 11, 2015.

The DDA acquired five buildings and two parking lots within PVCED and invested millions in infrastructure upgrades and building amenities to make the district attractive and desirable to both businesses and residents. The DDA is now seeking proposals to acquire and develop one or several of the structures and parking lots.

The parcels are zoned for mixed use and there are no plans to rezone. The properties will be sold “as-is, where-is.”  Local participation is greatly encouraged.

Interested parties may download the complete PVCED RFP here or pick up copies from the reception desk at Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, 500 Griswold, Suite 2200, Detroit MI 48226 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. excluding holidays.

Waymon Guillebeaux
Executive Vice President, Project Management/Contract Services

D2D Buyer Ready Business: SAGA MKTG – Marcus Burrell, Sr. Partner

Marcus 2_540w
Marcus Burrell and Eric Thomas, Principals, SAGA MKTG

SAGA MKTG is a full service marketing agency based in downtown Detroit that specializes in brand development, digital strategy and outreach campaigns. Marcus Burrell, senior partner, began the SAGA vision seven years ago with fellow senior partner Eric Thomas.

What inspired you to found SAGA MKTG?
We were really inspired to help local businesses tell their stories. Our clientele is varied from small- to medium-sized businesses that traditionally spread information by word of mouth. SAGA helps them get to the next level and grow. We especially value the storytelling process for nonprofits – some of our clients include Cornerstone Schools, Black United Fund of Michigan, Greater Detroit Area Health Council, St Frances Cabrini Clinic, Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, UAW-Ford and the Opportunity Finance Network Conference.

Why did you select Detroit as your headquarters?
We chose Detroit as our headquarters because the city offers opportunities that no other city can offer. Detroit brings a unique spin on the work that we do and impacts people in a very unique way.

How do you want your company to impact Detroit in the long term?
Our agency at its core is a storytelling agency and everyone likes a good comeback story. We’d like to impact Detroit in a positive way and show that there is opportunity here; and if you seize it your business will do well. Detroiters can truly make it here.

What is the SAGA MKTG culture all about?
We have a very fun environment. For example, every Friday is steak Friday – we all get together and broil steaks and make great food. We also own a co-working space, In The Black Suites, so we have the opportunity to work among other entrepreneurs, which harvests a lot of creativity. We have a lot of pride in offering an environment that is conducive for individuals and businesses that are starting out.

What companies have you collaborated with in Detroit as customers or suppliers?
We’re called on to collaborate with a lot of other Detroit firms, like DMC Strategies and Butterfly Effect Detroit. A lot of our contractors and photographers also are locally based.

When you can connect with other Detroit businesses, what benefits does that bring?
Working with other Detroit businesses allows for synergy; you can work together for a common purpose and benefit the city.

Brian Watkins
D2D Program Manager