FROM: Moddie Turay, Executive Vice President, Real Estate and Financial Services
The best way to prepare for the future is to properly plan for it. This is exactly what Detroit is doing when it comes to environmental progressive changes.
In November 2016, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation approved a grant of $700,000 for the Detroit Economic Growth Association that will be used for a contractor training program to help property owners construct green infrastructure to manage storm water runoff and qualify for a credit towards their Detroit Water & Sewage Department drainage fee.
“These programs and initiatives are extremely important for attracting millennials to our city because of the growing need for environmental progression,” said Detroit Training Center President Marcus Jones.
The first training program ran between January and April this year with a total of 40 graduates.
The participants received 50 hours of training in subjects like construction techniques, elements of green infrastructure, maintenance training and field experience. All were Detroit-based contractors, ranging from landscape to plumbing to construction. Having undergone the green infrastructure training on how to properly install improvements, they will have a chance to bid on projects as opportunities arise.
“Implementing these programs will allow the city to spend less money for more sustainable and safe properties for Detroit homeowners,” said Patrick Beal, CEO, Detroit Training Center.
Not only will these programs create an opportunity for Detroit’s green initiatives, it will help create new employment opportunities as well as support businesses. By working with other Detroit organizations, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation will be able to help move the entire city forward.
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
Suhel Kizi is always looking for ways to improve the shopping experience for customers at his Family Fair Food Center in Lafayette Park, so when he heard about the Green Grocer Façade Improvement Program from DEGC’s Olga Stella at a Chaldean Chamber of Commerce meeting, he was intrigued. Several years after their meeting, the Family Fair Food Center shines inside and out.
The DEGC Green Grocer Project Façade Improvement Program enables Detroit grocery store owners or tenants to enhance the visual appearance of their stores – and improve the grocery sector overall in the city of Detroit – by offering 50/50 matching grants. The Program also provides matching grants for building and parking lot improvements.
“Today we have windows where cement walls used to be. All of the exterior signage in new, including a tall sign at the corner of our new parking lot,” Kizi said.
The 27,000-sq-ft interior selling space of the full-service grocery store was completely renovated, including new freezers, lighting, aisle markers, signage and shelving.
Kizi also operates Harbortown Market on East Jefferson, Azteca Supermercado on Central, and Holly Foods in Holly. The Harbortown Market also received a grant from the façade program.
“It’s a great program that does a good job to help people improve the grocery stores in Detroit,” Kizi said.
Program Manager, Green Grocer Project