Applications Open Nov. 2 for Training Grants Through $27M Going PRO Talent Fund

Training grants to Michigan businesses support employees in high-demand, skilled trades industries.

LANSING, Mich.—Michigan employers looking to take advantage of the Going PRO Talent Fund program will be able to apply for their share of the $27 million in training funds available to Michigan businesses beginning Monday, Nov. 2. The Going PRO Talent Fund helps individuals secure employment, industry-recognized credentials, and strong wages by providing training grants to Michigan businesses to support employees in high-demand, skilled trades industries.

“Michigan workers and businesses benefit greatly from the Talent Fund program,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, Director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training. “Over the years, this program has supported more than 94,000 workers with training, including new hires and current workers.”

Since the program’s launch in 2014, more than 3,000 Michigan businesses have received Talent Fund awards to assist in training, developing, and retaining current and newly hired employees. Training must fill a demonstrated talent need experienced by the employer and lead to a credential for a skill that is transferable and recognized by industry.

“The Talent Fund helps individuals develop the skills they need for in-demand jobs, while also ensuring employers have the talent they need to compete and grow,” Beckhorn said. “This program gives workers a direct pathway to higher-paying careers and financial stability for themselves and their families. It also addresses the skills gap that challenges the success of Michigan businesses and our state’s prosperity.”

LEO makes Going PRO Talent Fund awards to employers through Michigan Works! Agencies (MWAs). Participating employers play an integral role in defining their key training needs, then work with the local MWAs and other partners to develop an appropriate, realistic training plan.

“With the state facing an expected 545,000 openings for professional trade workers by the year 2026, proven programs such as the Going PRO Talent Fund are essential to helping Michigan businesses meet this growing demand for skilled workers,” said Greg Pitoniak, Chief Executive Officer of Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA).

Among other responsibilities, employers are expected to provide financial or in-kind contributions in support of the training project, as well as use Pure Michigan Talent Connect ( and MWAs to recruit for job openings.

Businesses interested in learning more or applying for funding should contact their local Michigan Works! Service Center. Contact information can be found at

The application period ends Monday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m., and selected applicants will be announced in early 2021.

To learn more about the Going PRO Talent Fund, visit

Oct. 30 | This Week in Government: Oakland County Candidate Funding Analysis; New MDHHS Rules for Gatherings

Each week, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Government Relations team, in partnership with Gongwer, will provide members with a collection of timely updates from both local and state governments. Stay in the know on the latest legislation, policy priorities, and more.

Plus, join the Detroit Regional Chamber Thursday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. for an insiders’ conversation on Michigan’s election outcomes with Gongwer’s Executive Editor and Publisher Zach Gorchow and the Chamber’s Vice President of Government Relations Brad Williams. Register today.

See below for this week’s headlines.

  1. Oakland Dem House Candidates Crushing GOP in Funds; HRCC to Rescue
  2. New COVID Order Requires Bars to Keep Patron Logs for Contact Tracing
  3. House GOP Spent $5.8M in 3Q, Dems $3.1M
  4. Shirkey, Chatfield Letter Requests Collaboration in Fighting COVID
  5. DHHS Roundtable Share Fears, Strategies Ahead of COVID Second Wave

Oakland Dem House Candidates Crushing GOP in Funds; HRCC to Rescue

Three Oakland County women working to flip GOP districts from red to blue raised huge money in the lead up to the general election, campaign finance reports due Friday showed.

Democrats Kelly Breen of Novi in the 38th House District, Julia Pulver of West Bloomfield in the 39th District, and Barb Anness of Rochester Hills in the 45th District each raised nearly $300,000.

Their Republican counterparts didn’t bring in nearly as much, campaign finance reports covering Aug. 25 until Oct. 18 revealed, though the flush House Republican Campaign Committee PAC gave considerable amounts. Far from the expected edge Republicans were expected to enjoy because of the HRCC, however, the huge sums raised by Democratic candidates have evened the playing field.

In the 38th District, Breen raised $306,381 and spent $183,741 in her effort to pick up the seat where she came close to unseating the GOP incumbent in 2018. The caucus also kicked in $229,445. She has $166,221 on hand heading into the election.

Republican Chase Turner of Northville raised $40,916 and spent $48,819. The HRCC has spent $316,051 in this district along with another $100,000 in a late contribution this week. Turner reported $19,459 on hand.

Pulver raised $299,402 and spent $281,273. The Democratic caucus provided $176,499 in in-kind contributions as well. She has $92,549 on hand.

Rep. Ryan Berman raised $118,735 for the period with the HRCC kicking in $502,391 in in-kind expenditures. The caucus also provided Berman with another $100,000 this week, a late contribution report showed. Berman spent $100,924 and has $185,556 on hand for the final days of the campaign.

Anness raised a significant $282,790 for the period and spent $266,265. She has $61,403 on hand heading into November. The Democratic caucus spent here, too, bringing in $151,401.

Republican Mark Tisdel of Rochester Hills reported raising $59,430 with the HRCC spending $333,729 on his behalf. Tisdel spent $72,051 and has $121,749 on hand.

The three Oakland County seats are prime targets for the Democrats as they hope to take majority control of the chamber for the first time in more than a decade. They are all near the top of Gongwer News Service’s list of House districts likely to flip.

For Democrats, the momentum is real. Sources said at the beginning of October that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was up over President Donald Trump by nearly 30 points in Oakland County. Republican internal polling had that lead at 18 points, still a very concerning spread considering Trump only lost by 8 points in 2016.

In 2012 and 2016, Democratic presidential candidates had eight-point wins in the county.

Republicans, though, are not giving up in the county. They remain confident in their three Oakland candidates, particularly in the 45th where they think the environment is better. They don’t have much of a choice, however, because there are so few seats in play and if Democrats win all three, plus the seat in Portage in Kalamazoo County, the Republican majority is likely gone.

Campaign finance reports in other districts being tracked by Gongwer News Service are listed below in numerical order:

BOTH SIDES SPENDING BIG IN 19TH: Republican Martha Ptashnik of Livonia reported raising $97,588 with the HRCC providing $410,170 in in-kind contributions. Ptashnik’s committee spent $48,975 and she has $141,383 on hand.

Democratic Rep. Laurie Pohutsky of Livonia reported raising $161,294 with the caucus spending $231,911 in the seat. Pohutsky reported spending $154,920 and she has $81,633 on hand for the final days.

KOLESZAR IN GOOD SHAPE IN 20TH: Republican John Lacny of Plymouth reported raising $16,700 in his effort to unseat Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth). Lacny spent $30,532 and has $3,658 on hand. Koleszar raised $64,968 and spent $90,584 for the period. The Democratic caucus also kicked in $75,331. Koleszar has $40,084 on hand. As expected, there is no sign of a Republican push here.

CAMILLERI FIGHTING OFF LATE CHALLENGE IN 23RD: In the 23rd House District, Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) reported raising $63,639 with the Democratic caucus bringing in $13,687 in in-kind contributions. He reported spending $107,267 and has $19,141 on hand.

The Democratic caucus also has come in with a late contribution for Camilleri of almost $48,000.

A report for Republican John Poe was not available before publishing, though the HRCC this week provided him with $190,000 in a late contribution.

DEM CAUCUS SPENT NEARLY $200K FOR SHANNON IN 25TH: Rep. Nate Shannon (D-Sterling Heights) raised $89,756 this period and spent $42,793 as he seeks a second term. The caucus also kicked in $195,931. He has $90,523 for the final weeks. Republican Paul Smith, who has been disavowed by the Republicans, didn’t do much. He brought in $2,930 and spent $6,201. He has $39,173 on hand, though most of that was loaned from his own funds and given his low spending that suggests he will likely pay himself back, not invest the loan in campaigning, that the loan was just for show.

MINIMAL SPENDING IN 43RD WITH SCHROEDER V. BREADON: Republican Rep. Andrea Schroeder of Independence Township reported raising $39,860 with the caucus putting in $46,524. Schroeder reported spending $54,927 and has $38,443 on hand. Her Democratic opponent Nicole Breadon of Clarkston brought in $17,832 and spent $18,561. Breadon has $25,059 on hand.

GOP SEEMS TO BE SPENDING MORE IN 48TH: Democratic Rep. Sheryl Kennedy (D-Davison) reported raising $56,658 and spending $80,355 during the period. She has $16,319 on hand. Republican David Martin of Davison raised $15,123 and spent $43,219. The HRCC provided $189,237 in in-kind contributions here, too. Martin has $7,365 on hand.

MORSE, HALTOM SPENT $200K+ IN 61ST: In a surprise to absolutely no one, both sides spent big in the 61st House District. Democrat Christine Morse of Texas Township reported raising $257,614 and spending $244,530 for the cycle. The caucus put in another $362,725. She has $163,029 to finish up the campaign.

Republican Bronwyn Haltom brought in $128,916 and spent $195,539. The HRCC kicked in another $387,151. She has $119,850 on hand heading into November.

BIG MONEY FOR WITWER IN 71ST: In the 71st House District, Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township) raised $148,605 and spent $106,820. The Democratic caucus spent about $300,000 on the race. She has a solid $168,283 on hand for the final stretch. Her Republican opponent Gina Johnsen of Delta Township raised $49,832 and spent $37,754. The HRCC also kicked in $115,145. She has $38,885 on hand.

JOHNSON WITH SOLID CASH RESERVE IN 72ND: Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) raised $65,869 for the period with the caucus kicking in $140,653 in in-kind contributions in the 72nd House District. He reported spending $37,624 and has $84,962 on hand. Johnson also received a $35,000 late contribution from the HRCC. Democrat Lily Cheng-Schulting of Kentwood reported raising $30,860 and spending $24,590. She has $10,173 on hand.

SAXTON AHEAD OF POSTHUMUS IN CASH IN 73RD: In the 73rd House District, Republican Bryan Posthumus of Oakfield Township raised $35,000 and spent $20,325. He has $17,030 on hand for the final stretch. Democrat Bill Saxton of Grand Rapids reported raising $22,474 and spending $42,155. He has $48,937 on hand.

PITCHFORD RAISED $140K IN 79TH: Democrat Chokwe Pitchford of Benton Harbor in a long-shot bid for the 79th House District reported raising serious money. For the period, he brought in nearly $140,000 and spent $101,426. He has $68,264 on hand for the final days.

Rep. Pauline Wendzel (R-Watervliet), who holds the seat, reported raising $35,225. The caucus also spent $80,258 in the seat and along with Ms. Wendzel’s $99,584. She has $11,205 on hand, though she also received $40,000 in a late contribution from the HRCC.

GOP SPENDING HUGE ON BESON IN 96TH: Rep. Brian Elder (D-Bay City) reported raising $83,636, with $14,000 coming from his own political action committee. The Democratic caucus kicked in $87,669 and Elder spent $73,123. He has $74,126 on hand.

Republicans spent big here. Candidate Timothy Beson “raised” $80,185 – nearly all of those funds coming from House Republican leadership PACs with as little as $6,000 from individual donors – and spent $66,230. The HRCC spent another $300,000. Beson has $30,680 on hand, though he also received a late contribution from the HRCC for $60,000.

GLENN COMING IN WITH THE BIG BUCKS IN 98TH: Rep. Annette Glenn (R-Midland) raised big money and spent big money this period. She brought in $150,436 and spent $260,304. The HRCC put in $244,518. She has a solid $94,755 on hand for the final days.’

Democrat Sarah Schulz of Midland raised $106,911 for the period and spent $140,585. She has $67,315 on hand going into the election.

HRCC SPENDING NEARLY $500K IN 104TH: Republican John Roth of Traverse City raised $176,000 with the HRCC putting in a whopping $486,806 into the race. Roth’s committee spent $147,911 and has $100,311 on hand.

Democrat Dan O’Neil showed yet again he can raise large sums by bringing in $242,584 during the period. He spent $323,688 while the Democratic caucus provided about $215,000 in in-kind contributions. O’Neil has $132,072 to close out the campaign.

NOT MUCH HAPPENING IN 110TH: Janet Metsa of Houghton reported raising $49,240 in her bid to unseat to Rep. Greg Markkanen (R-Hancock). She spent $48,820 and has $12,333 on hand. Markkanen brought in $16,750 and spent $11,539. He has $45,428 on hand.

New COVID Order Requires Bars to Keep Patron Logs for Contact Tracing

Bars and restaurants would be required to collect names and contact information from patrons for coronavirus contact tracing under an amended emergency order issued today by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

New restrictions for those establishments will also prohibit more than six people sitting at a single table in an effort to cut down on people from more than two households co-mingling in the same indoor space, which the order says has been a primary source of new infections.

The order also reduces the maximum 500-person indoor gathering limit to just 50 people in settings like weddings, parties, and banquets which occur in nonresidential settings without fixed seating.

In a call with reporters prior to the order’s release, DHHS Director Robert Gordon said that the measures were targeted to address outbreaks in all portions of the state, which have been rapidly rising. He also said the order brings the entire state into Phase 4, which was not the case for the Traverse City region, which was previously at Phase 5. Those regions saw a lower than average number of infections during the Michigan pandemic’s first major wave in the spring, but were home to new outbreaks along with others across the state.

However, the phase designations were created when Governor Gretchen Whitmer was able to issue emergency orders determining what was allowed based on each region.

Enforcement of the new order will consider violations punishable by a civil fine up to $1,000 and may also be treated as a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months or a fine of not more than $200.

Gordon and DHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun both said today that Michigan presently has 172 cases per million people and that the positivity rate has increased from around 2% to 5% – indicators that have been increasing over the last four weeks.

Virus-related hospitalizations have doubled over the last three weeks and the state now has a death rate that has increased over the last five consecutive weeks.

The state also has 34 new outbreaks of the virus related to gatherings like the ones curtailed by the new order, with three to 10 cases from friend and family gatherings, weddings, and bridal showers; nine to 22 cases from funerals; and six to 19 cases from outings, social clubs, and bowling parties.

An additional 18 outbreaks with up to 52 associated cases are linked to church services, which are exempt from the order, Gordon said.

When asked why the state wasn’t considering a new stay at home order considering cases appear to be mimicking the volume seen in the spring, Gordon again said that targeted measures could address the outbreaks and that the department simply knows more about the virus than it did in March.

Gordon and Khaldun stressed the wearing of masks or facial coverings in indoor spaces, adding that they were the key to continuing daily activities in public without the risk of greater community spread like they are seeing now.

Gordon also said he could not produce a clear timeline of when things might turn around, saying it depends on the level of compliance with mask wearing, social distancing measures, and adherence to DHHS emergency orders.

House GOP Spent $5.8M in 3Q, Dems $3.1M

The House Republican Campaign Committee reported spending $5.79 million in the third quarter of the year ahead of November’s election while the Michigan House Democratic Fund spent $3.11 million, campaign finance reports due Monday showed.

The caucuses were nearly even in funds raised between July and October with the Republicans reported $2.4 million raised and the Democrats $2.3 million.

With days to go before the election, the Democrats have $751,745 left on hand and the Republicans have $1.2 million in their respective caucus PACs.

A Super PAC spending for Democratic candidates in key House races – Prosperity Michigan Action Fund – reported raising $585,000 and has $218,292 on hand going into next week’s election.

The Democrats reported receiving most of their money in the caucus PAC from the Michigan Democratic Party, which contributed $437,075, according to the report. It also received 849 total contributions.

Other top contributions for the Democrats came from SEIU Michigan State Council ($41,975), Paul and Wendy Greeney of Traverse City ($41,975 each) and Douglas Song, CEO of Duo Security ($41,975). Several other caucus members or candidates contributed either the full amount allowed or a bit less.

The HRCC, which reported 451 individual contributions, saw the maximum contribution – $41,975 – from several members of the DeVos family, Stephen Ehmann of Profile Films and J.C. Huizenga.

A statement from GOP leadership said the HRCC has broken a record in every quarter of the current cycle and increased the caucus’s lead over the Democrats each time.

“HRCC is going to leave nothing on the field in final days of this campaign,” said HRCC Co-Chair Rep. Jason Wentworth (R-Clare). “Our team has worked incredibly hard to put our candidates in the best possible position to win, and they are continuing to work hard every day to maintain a Republican majority. That dedication and these results are going to help us cross the finish line with another strong majority on election night.”

Top House Democrats said in their own statement the money raised in the third quarter of 2020 is the most the caucus has ever raised and double what was raised last cycle. Additionally, Dem leaders pointed to individual candidate numbers, which were above their GOP counterparts in several key districts

“This is the most important election of our lifetime, and these numbers show that people are hungry for real leadership in Michigan,” said Dem Campaign Chair Rep. Donna Lasinski, of Scio Township. “In 2018, we elected Democrats up and down the ticket, and we’re ready to do it again. As we’ve said before, this election is about moving Michigan forward. The people are with us, the momentum is on our side, and we’re ready to deliver real results for our state and country.”

Shirkey, Chatfield Letter Requests Collaboration in Fighting COVID

Republican legislative leadership in a Tuesday letter requested a meeting with Democratic leadership, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and medical experts to discuss the impact of the coronavirus in the state in light of the recent spike in infections and deaths.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) said in the letter a collaborative effort would benefit all residents of the state.

Shirkey and Chatfield in Tuesday’s letter said the request for a meeting was in response to an Oct. 22 letter from the Michigan Health and Hospital Association regarding COVID-19 caseloads and hospitalizations across the state.

As of Wednesday, there was no information on when the proposed meeting may take place.

“We believe a collaborative effort amongst our legislative colleagues, the executive branch, and medical professionals to discuss emerging data will benefit all Michiganders,” the Republican leaders wrote. “For the past eight months, we have had an open invitation to anyone willing to meet with us and work on this important issue, and nothing about that has changed. It is well past time we all stop arguing from afar and in the press and start working together in person for the people who are counting on us. Time is of the essence and we welcome a commitment from our partners, or their designee, to meet at their earliest convenience.”

For COVID-19 cases, the seven-day average of newly confirmed cases surpassed 2,000 recently and has tripled in the past five weeks.

The request is after months of partisan fighting between Republican leadership and Whitmer over the Governor’s use of executive powers to issue orders in response to the pandemic.

Republicans filed suit against the governor and the Supreme Court ruled the 1945 law from which Whitmer was operating under a state of emergency to issue nearly 200 executive orders was unconstitutional.

Since then, the Department of Health and Human Services has moved to issue several emergency orders to keep a narrowly targeted number of items from the nullified executive orders in place.

Whitmer addressed the letter from Republican leadership during a press briefing Wednesday.

“We have had so many opportunities to brief the Legislature. We will of course take every opportunity to do that and have an ongoing conversation with the Legislature,” Whitmer said. “This letter might lead you to conclude that those opportunities have not been made available to them when they have throughout COVID-19. I’ve conducted Quadrant calls throughout. Sometimes the leaders join us, sometimes they don’t, but we have made opportunity to share that information and we will continue to do that.”

The Legislature since the Supreme Court ruling has also approved two sets of COVID-19 related legislation in response to the pandemic, a start in having some level of bipartisan cooperation.

MHA Communications Director John Karasinski in a statement said the group looks forward to a meeting with leadership.

“We are awaiting further details on a possible meeting time,” Karasinski said. “The MHA welcomes the opportunity to meet with Michigan’s elected leaders in a collaborative format to discuss the concerning trend of increasing hospitalization, and how we can use public health measures to stop the spread of this deadly disease.”

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) addressed the letter from Republican leadership Wednesday in a brief statement.

“We’re glad to see Republican leadership finally recognize that there’s (a) deadly pandemic going on out there,” Ananich said. “We’ve been working with the governor for eight months on this and they’re welcome to join us. Of course I’ll participate once the meeting is scheduled.”

A spokesperson for Minority Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) said she is always available for a serious conversation to combat the pandemic. However, Greig also said Chatfield wasn’t taking the pandemic seriously and pointed to a photo of him at a rally for President Donald Trump on Tuesday without a mask.

Chatfield Spokesperson Gideon D’Assandro declined comment on the charge that the speaker wasn’t taking the pandemic seriously.

Separately Wednesday, Michigan Education Association President Paula Herbart in a statement called on state lawmakers and leaders to support the wearing of masks and other measures such as practicing safe distancing to control spread of the virus (editor’s note: this story changed to correct the spelling of Herbart’s last name).

“Michigan lawmakers need to step up and do what’s necessary to keep our children healthy and our educators safe amid the greatest public health threat in a century,” Herbart said. “Our hard-working, dedicated educators in public schools and higher education institutions across the state are putting their lives on the line daily to serve our students, families, and communities, and we must do everything in our power to ensure their safety during the ongoing pandemic.”

DHHS Roundtable Share Fears, Strategies Ahead of COVID Second Wave

Fears about noncompliance with coronavirus mitigation strategies, the dismantling of gains made to address racial disparities and safety on college campuses – and even in hospitals – were among those shared by a panel convened by the Department of Health and Human Services to discuss issues around an inevitable second wave of the novel virus.

The panelists, who appeared via webinar on Monday with DHHS Director Robert Gordon and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun playing host, also discussed various strategies their departments, employers and students have taken to address community spread in the face of the continuing pandemic.

Panelists included Dr. Thomas Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Emily Martin, associate professor of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan; Angelique Joynes, health officer for Allegan County Health Department; Dr. John Deledda, chairman of Emergency Medicine and chief medical officer for Henry Ford Hospital and Henry Ford Medical Group; M. Roy Wilson, president of Wayne State University; and Dr. Norman Beauchamp, executive vice president for Health Sciences at Michigan State University.

At the top of the conversation, Martin said that U-M has recently noted a marked increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases, both in magnitude and speed, unlike what they witnessed in the spring.

“What we see now is a bit of a new phenomenon, is that we’re seeing increases across the state in all different regions,” Martin said. “So, this consistent pattern of rise is being seen everywhere and some areas are more effective than others, but we are seeing a rise everywhere. It’s highly concerning because of overall levels of spread but also because of the challenges that come in managing increased spread across so many areas at once. It’s going to be a big, big challenge.”

Another concern is that that the state’s much-increased testing capacity does not explain the rapid rise in cases, either, Martin added.

Many of these illnesses, Martin said, have much to do with large superspreading events seen not only on college campuses but elsewhere. The quick rise in cases coupled with relaxed efforts to social distance or use low-tech, low-cost mitigation strategies like mask wearing will make it increasingly difficult to slow the spread of the virus in what appears to be coming second wave.

Friedman said similar – that Michigan is nowhere near the end of the pandemic – even as he praised the state for its response and noted that states or regions that have fully embraced the advice of public health experts have had fewer impacts in terms of disease prevalence, associated deaths, and economic strain.

Going forward, Friedman said the focus for decision-makers should be to continue to reduce spread by taking the handles off of what he called “COVID-19 pumps,” or large social events or other outbreak drivers, and protect people with ongoing mitigation factors. That includes mask wearing and social distancing but also testing – in a more timely fashion but not necessarily in a higher capacity – and changing social stereotypes about isolation and quarantine.

“Quarantine should be a VIP experience. It should be, ‘we care about, you stay at home, we’re going to bring you your food, if you need it. We’re going to do your laundry, if you need it. We’re going to make sure you get paid, we’re going to pay you if you can’t get paid,'” Friedman said. “If we make isolation, quarantine, things that people actually want to get into rather than out of, we’re more likely to succeed.”

With that in mind, Friedman said that countries and states that have reduced their infection curves to drastically few new cases have been slower to reach previous high viral peaks, but those that have had a steady number of cases simmering below the surface are seeing stronger resurgences of COVID-19 and may continue to do so until the curve can be crushed once again.

He also said that the lack of federal leadership on the issue from The White House on down has only “blunted” more precise tools to stop the spread of COVID-19. If things continue to get out of control, Friedman added, more blunt measures like large scale economic shutdowns may be inevitable.

“You may be able to keep a virtuous cycle rather than a vicious cycle, I see a lot of this around the country and around the world,” he said. “If you’ve got few enough cases that you can get on top of them rapidly, stop them from exploding, then you can do a better and better job managing those cases. The moment it gets out of control, you’re in trouble.”

Answering a question from Gordon, Martin said aside from gatherings at colleges or other large events like weddings, bars and restaurants appear to be intersections for exposure because of an accumulation of risk factors in one setting, which is not to say eateries and watering holes are inherent factories for COVID-19.

Being at a bar or a restaurant requires you to take off your mask for at least a period of time to eat or drink while indoors, all while still being close to other people in an environment that may not be well ventilated, eventually putting patrons at a higher risk of encountering someone who could be shedding COVID-19, Friedman said.

He added that through the collection of real-time data and possibly market-driven risk rating system – much like one implemented in Los Angeles, California – bars could be reopened more expeditiously and safely.

On college campuses and their effect on community spread, Wilson said it really depends on the dynamic of the community. Universities in small towns can influence case rates in the greater community, and many of those small towns expressed deep concerns about bringing students back on the campuses for that very reason.

However, in the case of WSU, Wilson said the community rates affected the university, as the campus practically shares open borders with Detroit. The city struggled mightily in the beginning of the pandemic to control cases, which overwhelmed Detroit hospitals in April and May, but have since been able to reduce its infection rates considerably.

The same can be said for racial disparities which saw Black communities disproportionately affected by the virus in the spring, disparities that have since been alleviated after the state put a greater emphasis toward addressing them.

Wilson said he’s worried those gains could be dismantled by a strong second wave of the virus.

“I fear that neither Detroit nor Wayne State … can sustain its low case rates without something else and that something else is a more of a national strategy,” Wilson said. “I also fear that that’s going to be the case, once the vaccine is available, that people won’t take it, and African Americans disproportionately won’t take it. And there’s some anecdotal evidence right now that they’re more reluctant to take a vaccine if it were to come out right now.”


MDHHS Virtual Roundtable Reveals Troubling Trends, Challenges as Michigan Faces Latest Wave of COVID-19

ASE presents HR Comply – a 2-day virtual event covering employment law in the COVID era, AA, EEO, and Diversity

Media Contact: Heather Nezich, Communications Manager, ASE, 248.223.8040,

Livonia, Mich. —October 28, 2020 — ASE is excited to bring our Employment Law Conference and AA/EEO & Diversity Conference together into one great legal compliance event. This two-day conference, December 2-3, 2020, will bring the best employment and labor law attorneys together with EEOC and OFCCP officials and AA/EEO/Diversity experts.

The conference was announced by ASE President & CEO Mary E. Corrado. “This year has had a significant impact on employers. With issues ranging from the pandemic to diversity and inclusion, employers are experiencing new challenges, requirements, and employee expectations,” stated Corrado. “The HR Comply Conference covers many of the hot button issues facing employers not only today but in the coming year. As we get to a new normal, we need more guidance to a path to get there safely and compliantly.”

Day 1 features the employment law track. Attorney-led breakouts will review everyday laws and regulations, including many of the new regulations around COVID-19 that impact the employer-employee relationship. The morning plenary will include both a federal and state legislative update led by Ann-Marie Vercrusysse Welch, Member, Clark Hill PLC and Michael Burns, Executive Vice President, ASE, respectively. Sessions will be led by leading law firms including Clark Hill PLC; Barnes & Thornburg; Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Lowey, LLP; Nemeth Law PC; Kerr Russell; Butzel Long; Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PLLC; Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC; and Fisher Phillips.

Day 2 features the AA/EEO and Diversity track. Enforcement activity under the Trump Administration, even in the
pandemic, has continued at a high pace. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has close
to $36 million in settlements in FY 2020 and is expanding focused reviews to include promotions, accommodations, and D&I. The EEOC has been very active the past few years and return to work is a growing concern with the agency. Wage and Hour is seeing more voluntary reporting of wage violations. H-1Bs are becoming more challenging, and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) is aggressively conducting I-9 audits. Attendees will walk away well prepared for 2021 compliance efforts.

The day-2 morning plenary will be an EEOC update presented by Martin Ebel, Director of the Office of Field Programs Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The afternoon plenary, OFCCP 2020 in Review, will be presented by Tina Williams, Director of Policy and Program Development, U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Day 2 breakout sessions include sessions led by Clark Hill PLC; Office of Federal Contract Compliance; Jackson Lewis; OFCCP; Seyfarth Shaw; Berkshire & Associates; Fox, Wang & Morgan; and Silberman Law PC.

For a complete agenda and registration information, please visit

About ASE
ASE is Michigan’s trusted HR partner. ASE is a non-profit, membership organization – everything we do is based on the needs of our members and to help their organizations THRIVE. ASE strengthens organization’s HR departments by offering member benefits and discounted services that span the entire employee lifecycle including recruitment, development, and retention while minimizing compliance risk. We provide our members guidance through new legislation and workplace issues such as those currently occurring with the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about ASE at

Walsh Hosts Virtual Admission Events and Program Info Sessions

TROY, Mich., Oct. 28, 2020 — Walsh will host virtual Waiver Wednesdays and program information sessions in November and December for prospective transfer, undergraduate and graduate students.

During virtual Waiver Wednesdays, academic and admissions advisors are available via Zoom or by phone appointment from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each Wednesday from Nov. 4 through Dec. 30, 2020. The $35 application fee will be waived. Program information sessions include live Q&A with faculty and staff.

“Walsh’s virtual events are engaging and convenient so students can get the information they need, ask questions and continue with their day,” said Patti Swanson, Vice President, Chief Marketing and Enrollment Officer. “We strive to make advancing your education as stress-free as possible and encourage students to take full advantage of these virtual meeting opportunities,”

Upcoming virtual information sessions include:

FastTrack – How to earn two degrees in five years
Thursday, Nov. 5 at 5:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 12 p.m.

Master of Science in Information Technology
Thursday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m.

Master of Science in Management
Thursday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m.

Transfer Program
Friday, Nov. 13 at 12 p.m.

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
Monday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m.

Master of Science in Marketing
Thursday, Nov. 19 at 12 p.m.

Master of Science in Data Analytics
Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m.

For more information visit
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Walsh is an all-business, private, independent, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral business and technology degrees, as well as certificate programs. Founded in 1922, Walsh is one of Southeast Michigan’s largest graduate business schools, offering classes in several locations and online. Our internationally and nationally-ranked programs integrate theory and application to prepare graduates for successful careers. Walsh degree programs include accounting, finance, information technology, human resources, management, marketing, taxation and other fields. For more information, please visit

Walsh is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (

Rick Haglund: What’s at Stake for Michigan’s Auto Industry with the next Presidency, Congress

October 25, 2020

Crain’s Detroit Business

By: Rick Haglund

Michigan’s automakers and the hundreds of parts suppliers who support them have a lot riding on the outcome of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Decisions by the next president and Congress on trade, the environment, energy and public health will have a huge impact on an industry making a historic transformation to electric vehicles.

And while automakers have bounced back from the coronavirus pandemic more quickly than predicted, some say the industry — particularly small suppliers — and consumers will need continued financial aid into 2021 to head off another collapse.

That could be especially critical if what appears to be a second round of COVID-19 ravages the country this winter and shuts down the economy again.


Click Here to View the Full Article. 

Comcast Announces First 12 WiFi-Connected “Lift Zones” in Detroit Neighborhoods

October 26, 2020 

Lift Zones provide safe spaces to help students and families access the Internet for school and digital skills building

Comcast announced today plans to establish its first 12 WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” in Detroit by year end.

The COVID-19 crisis has put many low-income students at risk of being left behind and has accelerated the need for comprehensive digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support them. Lift Zones are designed to help those students who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to connect to distance learning at home.

Comcast will provide robust WiFi hotspots in safe spaces designed to help students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework. Many of these sites also serve adults and can connect them to online adult education, job searches, healthcare information and public assistance. This initiative provides free hotspot connectivity inside the community centers and access to hundreds of hours of digital skills content to help families and site coordinators navigate online learning.

The first 12 Lift Zones include:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan: Lloyd H. Diehl Club: 4242 Collingwood Street
Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan: Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus: 16500 Tireman Street
Detroit Blight Busters: 17340 Lahser Road
Detroit Boxing Gym: 6445 East Vernor Highway
Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation: 1211 Trumbull Street
Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries – Men’s Shelter: 3606 Third Street
Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries – Women’s Shelter: 12900 West Chicago Street
Franklin Wright Settlements: 7375 Woodward Avenue
Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development, Inc.: 7150 Vernor Highway
City Covenant Church (Mission: City): 20405 Schoolcraft
Matrix Human Services: Social Mobility Center: 13560 East McNichols Road
Say Detroit Play Center:19320 Van Dyke Avenue

“Our vision is to ensure that every Detroiter is fully digitally included, improving the quality of life for all residents,” said Joshua Edmonds, director of digital inclusion, City of Detroit and the Connect 313 digital inclusion strategy. “Connect 313 and Comcast share a passion for bridging the digital divide, and our partnership will ensure these Lift Zone locations will reach as many Detroiters who need them as possible.”

Last month, Comcast announced a multiyear program to launch more than 1,000 WiFi-connected Lift Zones in community centers nationwide. This effort is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to help connect low-income families to the Internet and provide resources to help them fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy.

“Solving a problem as vast and complex as the digital divide requires collaboration with schools, elected officials, nonprofit community partners and other private-sector companies,” said Tim Collins, senior vice president of Comcast’s Heartland Region. “Since 2011 when Comcast launched its Internet Essentials program, we’ve been fortunate to partner with other local organizations who share our passion for digital equity, like Connect 313.”

In nearly 10 years, Internet Essentials has become the nation’s largest and most successful low-income Internet adoption program and has connected millions of people to the Internet. It offers households low-cost, broadband Internet service for $9.95/month, the option to purchase a heavily subsidized computer and multiple options for free digital literacy training. Earlier this year, Comcast committed to providing 60 days of free Internet Essentials service for qualifying low-income families through the end of 2020. Additionally, the company increased speeds for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers at no additional cost.

About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest video, high-speed Internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed Internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit for more information.

Butzel Long attorney Debra Geroux named a Co-Chair of the firm’s Healthcare Industry Group

DETROIT, Mich. – Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Debra Geroux has been named one of three co-chairs for the firm’s Healthcare Industry Group. She joins Robert H. Schwartz and Mark Lezotte in this leadership role.

Geroux’s healthcare practice focuses on health care regulatory compliance and reporting, including data privacy and breach response, as well as healthcare-related civil, criminal, and administrative litigation.

She holds the Certified in Healthcare Privacy Compliance (CHPC) and Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC) designations from the Compliance and Certification Board. Her representative clients include individual practitioners and group practices, community mental health authorities, FQHC’s, home health agencies, pharmacies and pharmaceutical manufactures, ambulatory surgery centers, hospitals, and DMEPOS providers.

“Deb is an innovator and thought leader who has evolved and adapted her practice to meet ongoing changes in healthcare,” said Robert H. Schwartz, Butzel Long Healthcare Industry Group co-chair. “She sought out and achieved important healthcare certifications that sets her and our firm apart as an industry leader.”

Geroux also serves on the firm’s Cybersecurity and Privacy Specialty Team, Government & Internal Investigations Team and Litigation and Dispute Resolution.

She is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Law, (J.D., cum laude, 1995), where she was a member and managing editor of the Law Review. She received her Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University in 1988.

Geroux is a member of the State Bar of Michigan (including the Health Law Section), the American Bar Association (including the Health Law and Litigation Sections), the Federal Bar Association, the Oakland County Bar Association, and the Health Care Compliance Association. She also assisted with numerous pro bono projects for Community Legal Services (n/k/a Michigan Community Resources), which resulted in the publication of various white papers.

She also is actively involved within her community, both professionally and personally. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for Honor Community Health, an FQHC serving Oakland County, Michigan, and as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Historical Society for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Geroux also has served as an Adjunct Professor of Healthcare & Insurance Law in the Paralegal Program at Baker College of Auburn Hills. She also maintains an active role within a number of community organizations, including the CW3 Jaguars FC, where she recently serves as a team manager. She also was active on the Michigan State University College of Law Alumni Association Board, where she served in numerous leadership roles, including serving as its President.

About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in Michigan and the United States. It was founded in Detroit in 1854 and has provided trusted client service for more than 160 years. Butzel’s full-service law offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as an alliance office in Beijing. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting or follow Butzel Long on Twitter:

Former Michigan Court of Appeals Chief Judge Henry Saad joins Plunkett Cooney

Plunkett Cooney, one of the oldest and largest law firms in the Midwest, has taken its appellate law practice to a new level with the addition of retired Judge and former Chief Judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals, Henry W. Saad, as an of counsel attorney.

“We are extremely excited that Judge Saad has decided to join our already outstanding, nationally recognized appellate team,” said Plunkett Cooney President & CEO Thomas P. Vincent. “Judge Saad will share with our clients the expertise he has acquired from 40 years in practice, including 23 years as a member of Michigan Court of Appeals.”

Saad works closely with clients and colleagues in Plunkett Cooney’s Appellate Law Practice Group to review and prepare complex and often high-profile appellate matters, including multi-district litigation and class actions. His expertise is particularly valuable with respect to issue spotting during the litigation process, creating trial and post-trial strategy and formulating persuasive appellate arguments.

In high stakes appellate litigation, Saad and the appellate team at Plunkett Cooney know that conducting mock oral argument is the best method for presenting a persuasive case and for anticipating tough questioning by appellate court judges. Plunkett Cooney’s appellate team is prepared to conduct mock oral argument in person and virtually in order to best position complex cases for success.

“I have always loved appellate practice and held Plunkett Cooney and its impressive appellate lawyers in the highest regard,” said Saad, who authored more than 75 published majority appellate decisions. “In my experience, Plunkett Cooney appellate lawyers are the best at their profession. I’m thrilled to be working with them and look forward to helping the firm’s clients achieve successful appellate outcomes.”

Saad, who was appointed to the Michigan Court of appeals by Gov. John Enger in 1994, retired from the bench in 2017, re-entering private practice with Young & Associates. Prior to becoming a judge, he

worked for 20 years at the law firm of Dickson Wright. Saad also has the distinction of having been nominated by President George H.W. Bush to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and by President George W. Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

In addition to his public service, Saad has been involved for many years with several charitable and community organizations, including Detroit Public Television, Michigan Heart Association, McLaren Macomb Hospital and Brother Rice High School, where he served as Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Saad graduated with honors from Wayne State University Business School in 1971 and from Wayne State University Law School, magna cum laude, in 1974. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Special Order of the Coif, the Salute to Justice John O’Brien Award and the Civic and Humanitarian Award presented by the Arab-American and Chaldean Council.

Plunkett Cooney is one of only a few Midwest law firms with a dedicated team of appellate attorneys. The members of the Appellate Law Practice Group are responsible for over 1,500 cases decided by state and federal appellate courts, including all Michigan appellate courts, the Ohio Supreme Court, the Indiana appellate courts, the California Court of Appeals, and numerous federal circuit courts of appeal. Plunkett Cooney appellate attorneys are routinely retained to handle cutting edge appeals involving issues of first impression or to seek reversal of large adverse judgments. They have also prepared numerous amicus curiae briefs on behalf of firm clients for filing in state and federal courts.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of business and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm employs approximately 150 attorneys in seven Michigan cities, Chicago, Illinois, Indianapolis, Indiana and Columbus, Ohio. Plunkett Cooney has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms. The firm was also selected by Crain’s Detroit Business as its inaugural Law Firm of the Year.

For more information about Judge Henry Saad joining Plunkett Cooney’s Appellate Law Practice Group, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development, John Cornwell, at (248) 901-4008;


Sharon Newlon to Receive Flex Success Award from the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance

DETROIT, Mich. – Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Sharon Newlon (Member and Environmental, Energy & Sustainability Practice Group Co-Chair, Detroit) will be honored alongside Sara von Bernthal, Senior Counsel, Real Estate, Office of the General Counsel, FCA USA LLC with the 2020 Flex Success® Award from the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance.

The Flex Success® Award recognizes Partners at Diversity & Flexibility Alliance member law firms who have achieved success while working a reduced hours schedule as well as a client who has been integral to making workplace flexibility so successful. The Awards will be presented on November 5, 2020 during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference, Moments of Impact: Transforming Organizational Culture. Registration is available here.

Sharon Newlon has been working a reduced hour schedule since the birth of her son twenty-two years ago and currently works a 75% reduced hour schedule. Recognized as a leader in her field by Best Lawyers in America, Sharon was instrumental in creating an initiative that allowed income members the option to become consulting members, with a negotiable billable hour requirement, in an effort to introduce flexibility into their careers. Sharon’s longtime client, Sara von Bernthal will also be honored for her ongoing support of Sharon and her schedule.

“I’m honored to receive the Flex Success® Award alongside Sara von Bernthal from FCA,” said Sharon Newlon. “Throughout my career, flexibility has been a cornerstone of building a rewarding practice within the legal industry. I’m grateful to Dickinson Wright, my colleagues and clients for being such great partners with me to create relationships that helped us attain our professional and personal goals,” she added.

“I’m honored to receive the Flex Success® Award alongside Sharon,” said Sara von Bernthal. “I’ve worked with Sharon for many years and we both know how important a flexible workplace is to female lawyers, especially working moms. I hope that promoting flexibility within our respective companies will lead to younger generations, especially women, realizing that they can have rewarding, successful careers that achieve their professional and personal goals.”

“Dickinson Wright congratulates Sharon Newlon and Sara von Bernthal on their well-deserved Flex Success® Award,” said Michael C. Hammer, CEO of Dickinson Wright. “Dickinson Wright is committed to working with our lawyers and clients to develop initiatives that promote flexibility within the workplace. We recognize that these important initiatives allow talented lawyers, like Sharon, to do their best work while assisting clients, like Sara, in furthering their diversity objectives while receiving the highest quality legal services. We look forward to working with them to build on their successful partnership.”

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 475 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. The firm has 18 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 11 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise, and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification and one of the only firms with ISO/IEC 27701:2019 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management procedures, security controls and privacy processes for our commercial transactions. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

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Chamber’s Government Relations Vice President Brad Williams Named to Crain’s ’50 Names to Know in Lobbying’

The Detroit Regional Chamber congratulates Vice President of Government Relations Brad Williams on his inclusion as one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ 50 Names to Know in Lobbying. Williams was recognized for his work advocating on behalf of regional and statewide businesses.

Brad is the Detroit chamber of commerce’s day-to-day lobbyist at the Capitol, keeping tabs on everything from policy affecting manufacturers and hospitals to economic development and K-12 and higher education, where the chamber has focused much of its lobbying efforts in recent years because of talent deficits in the workforce. Brad is often a key player in getting Detroit-specific public policy through the Legislature. He was involved in the successful passage of the 2014 “grand bargain” legislation to get Detroit out of bankruptcy. He’s been a leading advocate for expanding mass transit options in Southeast Michigan and works on statewide transportation policy and funding issues. Brad also oversees the Detroit Chamber’s political action committee. Brad was a 2016 Crain’s 40 under 40 honoree.

Chamber partners Andrea Cascarilla, senior legislative director, and Sarah Hubbard, principal, both of Acuitas LLC were also awarded this recognition.

Read the full feature in Crain’s Detroit Business.