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April 21: Chamber, Business Leaders Push for U.S. Visa Reform for Skilled Workers

Chamber, Business Leaders Push for U.S. Visa Reform for Skilled Workers

In an effort to promote the importance of highly-skilled immigrants to the United States, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Executive Counsel Ed Wolking Jr. joined Ann Arbor SPARK, Global Detroit, the Michigan Office for New Americans and other area business leaders in calling for immigration reform regarding U.S. H-1B visas earlier this month in Ann Arbor. The visas provide a temporary three-year employment stay for college-educated foreign professionals in certain specialty occupations.

In recent years, the U.S. government has decreased the number of visas issued while not keeping pace with the amount of applications received. As a result, candidates with in-demand skills are being turned away and sent home to compete against U.S. companies. Wolking, who spoke on behalf of the Chamber and the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, called the issue of cultivating talent a “silver tsunami” for the Detroit region, particularly as the automotive industry struggles to reinvent itself as the epicenter for next generation mobility research and development.

Click here to read coverage of the event from Crain’s Detroit Business and NBC News.

Safe Roads Yes! Makes Case for Proposal 1 Passage with New TV Spot

With less than two weeks until Election Day, the Safe Roads Yes! Coalition, of which the Detroit Regional Chamber is a member, released a new television ad that dispels misconceptions and explains how Proposal 1 will provide a long-term solution to Michigan’s road funding crisis.

As the video highlights, Michigan’s reinvention depends on quality infrastructure in order to attract new business and jobs. That’s why Republicans, Democrats, business leaders and labor unions alike have endorsed Proposal 1, recognizing it as Michigan’s best chance to fix the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.

The Chamber made increased transportation funding a top legislative priority in 2015 and has been a member of the Safe Roads Yes! Coalition since endorsing Proposal 1 in January. To learn more about the Chamber’s advocacy efforts, visit To watch the television ad, click here.

TRIP Study Reveals Michigan’s Crumbling Roads Jeopardize State’s Economic Recovery

A new report released this week by TRIP, a Washington D.C.-based transportation research nonprofit, highlights the critical need to invest in Michigan’s transportation infrastructure in order to support long-term economic growth and continue the state’s economic recovery.

According to the report, the percentage of Michigan’s major roads in poor condition increased from 23 percent in 2006 to 38 percent in 2014. By 2025, the number of roadways in need of major repair is projected to reach 53 percent. In addition, 16 percent of Michigan’s bridges are “functionally obsolete” and the number of structurally deficient bridges is projected to increase from 12 percent to 14 percent by 2023, the study finds.

The passage of Proposal 1 on May 5 is crucial to the health of the state’s economy. The report shows that $520 billion in goods are shipped throughout Michigan, mostly by truck. That amount is expected to increase by 25 percent by 2030, putting further stress on the state’s roads and bridges. Click here to read the report.

Connect with Purchasers and Supplier Diversity Programs at ‘Meet the Purchasers,’ May 13

On Wednesday, May 13, join representatives from area businesses to learn how to cut through red tape to get your business on public sector RFP lists during the Detroit Regional Chamber’s “Meet the Purchasers” event at SME headquarters in Dearborn.

Requests for proposals are an invaluable source of new business opportunities for small business owners. During the event, attendees will meet face-to-face with representatives from top companies and governmental agencies, and learn details related to future purchasing plans. Attendees will hear from Barton Malow, city of Dearborn, DTE Energy, Henry Ford College and Wayne County Airport Authority. Click here to register.

Shell Eco-Marathon Draws Hundreds to Detroit to Compete in Next-Generation Mobility Competition

On April 13, 113 teams, representing over 1,000 high school and university students from North and South America competed in the 30th annual Shell Eco-marathon at Cobo Center in Detroit.

Showcasing innovation, ingenuity, teamwork and perseverance, the competition challenges student teams to design, build and test the most energy-efficient vehicles. Teams were judged on a variety of criteria including: safety, vehicle design, prototype battery design, alternative fuel usage and gas mileage. In the ultra-energy-efficient student mileage challenge, the University of Toronto defeated Laval University in Quebec to take the top prize with its vehicle averaging the equivalent of 3,421 miles per gallon.

Click here to view photos and a recap of the event.