Detroit Chamber: Metro Students Must Finish Degrees to Find Good Jobs

December 4, 2019

Bridge Michigan

Alexandra Schmidt

Many Detroit-area students are not prepared to work where they live.

According to the Detroit Regional Chamber’s first-ever State of Education Report, released Thursday, students are dropping out of the region’s education system at every stage, resulting in a talent pool without the accreditations local employers want.

It’s a “flashing light” on the region’s dashboard, said Sandy Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, at a Wednesday conference call about the report. “Our leaky education pipeline is a huge challenge for our region today and going forward.”

It’s a vexing issue that played out nationally in 2018 when Amazon bypassed billions of dollars in tax incentives to locate HQ2 in Detroit. The company cited concerns with the lack of skilled workers in the region, compounded by a fear the region’s lack of mass transit would hobble its ability to attract outside talent.

“In order for our businesses to succeed, for our economy to succeed, for our communities to succeed, we need people to fill those jobs,” Baruah said.

Completion rates lag behind enrollment

“One of the most impactful metrics we found” was the number of Detroit-area residents that don’t earn a postsecondary degree within six years, said Tammy Carnrike, chief operating officer at the Detroit Regional Chamber. That can be a major impediment in a job market that is increasingly demanding a credential beyond high school.

It’s not that students aren’t enrolling in postsecondary programs — it’s that they aren’t finishing them.

Across metro Detroit, students actually enroll in two- and four-year program at a slightly higher clip than across the nation. But across the region, nearly half of students who start a postsecondary degree have not completed it six years later.

Enrollment and completion rates are even lower for students from the city of Detroit specifically. Fifty-seven percent of city residents enroll in a postsecondary program after high school, compared to the national enrollment rate of 67 percent. Six years later, nearly three out of four students still haven’t completed their degree.

A web of factors contributes to these noncompletion rates.

Sometimes high school graduates are not ready for the increased rigor of college courses. Less than 10 percent of city of Detroit high schoolers are considered college-ready based on their ACT and SAT scores. This is lower than the regional average (36 percent), the statewide average (35 percent), and the national average (51 percent).

It’s an issue the chamber ran into with students participating in the chamber’s Detroit Promise program, which helps cover the cost of tuition and fees of postsecondary programs for Detroit graduates from the class of 2017 who meet certain residential and educational requirements.

“A lot of our two-year students who take advantage of free tuition take a lot of their credits in those two years taking remedial courses. And that’s an indicator they are not leaving high school with a level of postsecondary readiness,” said Baruah.

Some research shows that taking remedial courses actually makes students less likely to complete a postsecondary program, given that the courses demand time and financial resources that do not directly contribute college credits toward the completion of the degree.

Other times, life itself gets in the way.

Car repairs that sap tuition savings, food insecurity, unreliable childcare — all of life’s standard hurdles can get in the way of students completing their degrees. Recently, schools across the state have tried to help vulnerable college students overcome these bumps, from “life needs” scholarships to additional academic advising and community support, with some success.

The high number of residents not completing post-high school degrees has resulted in nearly 700,000 residents across the region who have some postsecondary credits, but no credentials to show for it.

Uncompleted degrees: hurdle or potential powerhouse?

The State of Education report highlights the high cost of lower educational attainment, both for students and the region.

Residents without a degree are less likely to get a job, and they make less money if they are employed. Eight-one percent of the region’s jobs went to candidates with some type of postsecondary credential since 2010, while sixty-nine percent of working-age Detroiters without a high school diploma are either unemployed or not in the workforce.

On top of this, many of the fastest growing parts of Detroit’s economy, such as engineering and business, require a two- or four-year degree that residents struggle to attain. This trend is expected to continue, and would widen the gap between the credentials that the region’s residents have and what local employers want from prospective workers.

The personal financial stress correlated with lower educational achievement is exacerbated for students who took out student loans for programs they didn’t finish. They may have the loan debt associated with a postsecondary degree, but not the wage boost associated with actually earning a degree.

It’s a situation faced by millions of Americans across the country, who are three times more likely to default on student loans than those who finish their degree.

On the flip side, said Carnrike, the nearly 700,000 adults across metro Detroit with an incomplete degree are closer to earning a certification than residents who have never started a program.

“It’s not just students coming out of school, but adults returning to school as well,” Carnrike said.

She says employers can play a major role in providing employees with the support necessary to return to school. Employers will have to start asking themselves, “What can I do to make it easier for my employees who haven’t earned their degrees?”

Metro Detroit has a lot to gain if employers start thinking that way, Carnrike said.

A 1 percent increase in the number of people earning a bachelor’s degree would increase the per-capita income in the region by $1,250, according to the chamber’s report. It also estimates that if the metro Detroit reaches a point where 60 percent of residents have a postsecondary credential by 2030, “the region will see an estimated return on investment of $42 billion.”

Chamber launches new compact

“As a business leader I am hearing a lot about” the lack of qualified home-grown talent, said Richard Hampson, Michigan president of Citizens Bank, at a conference call Wednesday to discuss the report.

“I think numbers like the $42 billion dollar [return on investment] … will get the attention of business leaders,” Hampson said.

While he says many businesses are already impacted by the issue and want to be a part of the solution, Hampson said “more visibility of the data” presented in the chamber’s report “will lead to more business leaders wanting to be a part of it.”

That is exactly what the chamber said it is hoping for.

“One of the first and foremost actions,” the chamber plans to take following the release of the report “will be putting together a compact” through their Detroit Drives Degrees Program, says Carnrike.

The chamber’s new Detroit Drives Degrees Talent Compact aims to be a collaborative effort among regional educational institutions, businesses and nonprofits to break down barriers to postsecondary educational attainment.

“All this information that we’re presenting is years and years built up. And we’re not going to be able to turn it around immediately,” Carnrike said, but “we have to do a better job” of “getting students into college and keeping them there.”

Read article here

Detroit Regional Chamber, General Motors Announce NeighborHUB Grant Winners

• Five grants up to $30,000 awarded to Detroit neighborhood nonprofit organizations.
• Yearlong project work to begin this month.

DETROIT, Mich., Oct. 16 2019 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber and General Motors announced the second cohort of awardees for the NeighborHUB grant program. Five neighborhood nonprofit organizations will receive a grant and in-kind business support for innovative and collaborative solutions to problems their community faces. The NeighborHUB program is a collaborative effort between the Chamber and General Motors that is designed to empower residents in Detroit, Hamtramck, or Highland Park to affect change in their neighborhoods through physical presence and innovative programming.

The grant awardees include:

  • Bridging Communities, Inc.
  • Miracles to Inspire Change and Healing After Experiencing Loss
  • Northend Christian Community Development Corporation (CDC)
  • The Avalon Village
  • 360 Detroit, Inc.

“In its first year, the NeighborHUB program was an unqualified success, helping organizations engage Detroiters to drive change throughout the city,” said Terry Rhadigan, executive director of Corporate Giving at General Motors. “As we award the second cohort of nonprofits the opportunity to make a positive impact in their neighborhoods, we are proud and eager to see the continued momentum fostered by this program.”

The NeighborHUB program was announced last year at the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference and the first cohort of t grant awardees are set to finish their projects this month. This year’s application period launched in July and was open through August. Through a collaborative process, an advisory selection committee composed of representatives from the Chamber, General Motors and a representative from local organizations including the Department of Neighborhoods for the City of Detroit, Community Development Advocates of Detroit, and Michigan Community Resources, reviewed and voted on the proposals.

“We are confident that the committee has selected organizations that will use the grant to provide their neighborhood with viable and innovative resources,” said Tammy Carnrike, chief operating officers for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “It is our hope that this program will continue to serve as a roadmap for creating change in other communities across Detroit and the region.”

More than 50 grant applications were submitted, and the selection process was very competitive. Project work will begin this month and continue until October 2020. Learn more about the projects at

NeighborHUB Grant Program Awardees:

  1. Bridging Communities, Inc.
    Project: Community Kitchen
    Scope: This project proposes the construction of a community kitchen in Southwest Detroit to expand opportunities for intergenerational exchange, commerce, learning, and healthy meals created in the community by the community.
    Grant Award: $30,000“Wow we are truly honored to receive this prestigious award. As a nonprofit, I understand the competition that our application was a part of. We look forward to the celebration and the announcement,” said Phyllis Edwards, the executive director of Bridging Communities, Inc.
  1. Miracles to Inspire Change and Healing After Experiencing Loss
    Project: Kids’ Grief Relief
    Scope: Providing a safe and supportive Hub where children of trauma can begin to heal properly through education, healthy expression of grief, social interaction, and physical activity.
    Grant Award: $30,000“We are overwhelmed with gratitude and cannot overstate how honored we are for being selected as a recipient of this year’s NeighborHUB Grant.  Your support will ignite an astounding level of success that we would not have been able to achieve without you!” said Tacara Woods, founder of Miracles to Inspire Change and Healing After Experiencing Loss.
  1. Northend Christian Community Development Corporation (CDC)
    Project: Reactivation of the Historic Red’s Jazz Shoeshine
    Scope: We’re restoring the historic Red’s Jazz Shoeshine Parlor, bringing home a family-owned business spanning three generations to its original location and activating a vacant storefront with culturally resonant programming.
    Grant Award: $30,000″Thank you so much! We are thrilled to be supported for our work in the North End. We cannot wait to showcase our project upon completion,” said Jerry Ann Hebron, executive director for the Northend Christian Community Development Corporation.
  2. The Avalon Village
    Project: The Homework House
    Scope: Homework House is a big red brick house where under-served Highland Park children come for a kaleidoscope of creative educational activities, meals, laundry and shower facilities – a beautiful, enriching space.
    Grant Award: $30,000″We are truly grateful to the Detroit Regional Chamber for this NeighborHUB grant. It will make a life-changing difference for the children of Highland Park and for all of us at Avalon Village,” said Shamayim ‘Mama Shu’ Harris, founder and CEO of Avalon Village. “This funding will give us the final push we need to complete The Homework House, an after-school safe haven in our self-sustaining eco village. The house was slated to be demolished, but we have been lovingly restoring it for several years with a geothermal heating and cooling system, a solar roof and so much more. We can’t wait to open our doors to local students! Special thanks to the Wayne Metro Community Action Agency for their partnership and support.”
  1. 360 Detroit, Inc.
    Project: Community House
    Scope: Create a community art house and gathering space to host art classes, cooking classes, and reading and financial literacy training.
    Grant Award: $30,000“Positive action, not just talk is the key ingredient for a healthy community,” said George Adams, president and founder of 360 Detroit, Inc.


About the Detroit Regional Chamber

Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. As the voice for business in the 11-county Southeast Michigan region, the Chamber’s mission is carried out through creating a business-friendly climate and value for members, leading a robust economic development strategy, and convening Michigan’s most influential audience at the nationally unique Mackinac Policy Conference.

About General Motors

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) has leadership positions in the world’s largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at

Detroit Chamber Hosts Mackinac Policy Conference Primer Session

January 21, 2019

Michigan Business Network

Michigan Business Network talks with Tammy Carnrike, COO, Detroit Regional Chamber, Detroit, MI about some 2018 highlights and current January events. One of the events coming up is the Sneak Peak: Mackinac Policy Conference Primer session that will take place at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak, MI.

Event description:
At this event, attendees will get a preview of the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference as well as a brief overview of the ins and outs of the Conference, can’t miss programming and events, and the best ways to network on the island. If you are debating whether to attend the Conference or a first-time attendee looking to make the most out of your Conference experience, Mackinac Sneak Peek will provide all the information needed to make a strategic decision.

REGISTER HERE:…e-sneak-peek/

View the original article here

Craig Fahle speaks with Tammy Carnrike about annual “State of the Region” report

November 30, 2018

The Craig Fahle Show

By: Craig Fahle

Craig takes a deeper look into the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual “State of the Region” report with Tammy Carnrike, Chief Operating Officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber.



Tammy Carnrike Named to USGLC Michigan Advisory Committee

DETROIT, Sept. 10, 2018 – Detroit Regional Chamber Chief Operating Officer, Tammy Carnrike, CCE has been named to the Michigan Advisory Committee of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Michigan Advisory Committee is comprised of more than 60 leaders from across the state, including veterans, business leaders, former Ambassadors and academics. This bipartisan committee believes that Michigan benefits when America leads the world through investments in development and diplomacy.

Last year, Michigan exported nearly $60 billion in goods and services to foreign markets, and trade supported over 1 million jobs in the state, making U.S. international engagement a strategic issue for the community.

“The USGLC’s Michigan Advisory Committees bring together top leaders to highlight the importance of American engagement overseas,” said Jason Gross, executive director of the USGLC. “The new and growing leadership of this group demonstrates a commitment to development and diplomacy and emphasizes the importance of investing in America’s International Affairs Budget.”

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition ( is a broad-based influential network of 500 businesses and non-governmental organizations; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic and community leaders in all 50 states who support strategic investments to elevate development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.

In her role as chief operating officer for the Chamber, Carnrike is responsible for day-to-day oversight and corporate governance, major investor relations, signature events and high-profile convening including the Mackinac Policy Conference and working relationships with the defense industry.

Carnrike serves as the Civilian Aide to Secretary of the Army for Michigan (CASA), as a member of the Advisory Council for the U.S. Army Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM), member of the Governance Committee, Protect and Grow: A Strategic Plan for Michigan’s Defense and Homeland Security Economy. In addition, she serves on the Board of Directors of Citizens Detroit.

U.S. Army Secretary Mark Espers Gets Up-Close Look at Michigan’s Defense Industry During Tour

Last week, in her first official duty as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, Tammy Carnrike, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s chief operating officer, greeted U.S. Secretary of the Army Mark Esper and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters for their visit of the Detroit Arsenal in Macomb County, including the Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC), the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM).

As escorting officer, Carnrike greeted both men at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and accompanied Esper and Peters through a series of meetings as well as demonstrations of mission-enabling technologies being developed in Michigan. In addition to TACOM and TARDEC, they also visited the Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support and Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems during their visit of the Detroit Arsenal and Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

“I am very proud that Secretary Esper was able to visit TACOM and TARDEC for the first time to see the incredible innovation and technology being developed here due to collaboration between the private sector, transforming automotive industry, and the U.S. Army,” Carnrike said. “It was also very impactful to show Secretary Esper and Senator Peters the great work that is being done by the thousands of military and civilian employees stationed in the Detroit Arsenal who work to support our soldiers in sustainable readiness and protect the nation.”

Esper and Peters reiterated the importance of integrating the use of autonomous vehicle technology for future wars, protection of soldier, and deterring threats.

During a recent interview at the Pentagon, Esper discussed the need for next-generation combat vehicles and plans to accelerate the deployment timeline for military use. Peters serve on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee. He noted that Southeast Michigan’s strong automotive, manufacturing and technology roots will better prepare the country’s military for conflicts that are dramatically different from years past.

Esper and Peters also toured the  Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support and Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems during their visit of the Detroit Arsenal and Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

Learn more about the visit as well as collaborative work between the U.S. Army and the automotive industry here.

Tammy Carnrike Named New Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army to Represent Michigan

DETROIT — (April 17, 2018) — The newest Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army was invested during a ceremony conducted this week at the Pentagon.

Tammy Carnrike was selected by Mark T. Esper, U.S. Secretary of the Army, to represent Michigan. Carnrike will be afforded a three-star protocol status in accordance with the U.S. Department of the Army Protocol Precedence List. She will be responsible for providing advice to Secretary Esper, commanders and senior leaders on public sentiments toward the Army, and will work closely with the Army and installation commanders; state adjutants general; ambassadors of the Army Reserve, Army National Guard and Army Reserve commander; Reserve Officers Training Corps region and area commanders; Army recruiting commanders; professors of military science; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Division and district engineers; and other designated personnel within the state of Michigan.

“I am honored that Secretary Esper has chosen me to serve as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army Michigan,” Carnrike said. “In this role, I will work to highlight the tremendous range of opportunities possible for collaboration, partnerships and exchange of knowledge between Michigan communities and the U.S. Army.”

“This position will also allow me to continue, in a very visible way, to support the well-being of our service members and veterans — and to be their advocate and voice throughout Michigan. I am humbled and very grateful to take on this new role, and I look forward to helping the Army tell its story to the people of Michigan,” Carnrike added.

Maj. Gen. Clark LeMasters Jr. stated, “As the commanding general of the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, I deeply appreciate the support Ms. Carnrike has provided over the years to our military and civilian employees stationed at the Detroit Arsenal. She and others in the community make it possible for us to do the work of protecting our nation.”

“Ms. Carnrike’s role as CASA Michigan will help strengthen the relationship between the Detroit Arsenal and the local community and reinforce the commitment the U.S. Army has made to Michigan. We proudly welcome Ms. Carnrike to the Army family.”

Each state, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories have one or more CASAs appointed to provide a vital link between the Army and the communities it serves. CASAs are usually business or civic leaders who possess a keen interest in the welfare of the Army and its communities.

A leader in Chamber of Commerce management for more than 20 years, Carnrike is chief operating officer for the Detroit Regional Chamber, a position she has held since 2006. She has served in national leadership positions, including chairman of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management Board of Trustees, and chairman of the board for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

In addition, Carnrike serves as a member of the Army-Southeast Michigan Advisory Council; is a member of the Governance Committee, Protect and Grow: A Strategic Plan for Michigan’s Defense and Homeland Security Economy; and is an alumni of the Department of Defense’s Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, where she spent five days visiting each branch of the U.S. military and learning about the readiness of the armed forces and the nation’s defense policies.

CASAs serve a two-year term without compensation. Terms may be extended to a total of 10 years of service. Civilian aides may be recognized CASA Emeritus after 10 years of distinguished service.

# # #


Businesses Sought to Provide Jobs for Boys and Young Men of Color at Career Summit

By Daniel Lai

Building on its effort to grow the region’s economy and connect young people with jobs and sustainable career pathways, the Detroit Regional Chamber, together with My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and Mayor Mike Duggan, are recruiting regional businesses to pledge employment opportunities and/or career training for boys and young men of color.

The goal is to sign up business partners who are committed to provide 250 jobs for hire on-site during the Pathways to Success Career Summit on Nov. 14 at Cobo Center.

“This program is about creating real opportunity, which is something we really haven’t done enough of,” Duggan said during a recruitment meeting with local, state and national companies at city hall last week.

In addition, the Summit brings together HR representatives and career coaches to provide everything from resume writing workshops and interview prep to free haircuts and tips on how to properly tie a necktie.

“In the era that we’re living in now, the importance of business being involved in the solutions for these young people is critical,” said Blair Taylor, CEO of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. “Providing jobs gets someone into a position of economic viability — managing money and responsibility — but also turns these young people into positive role models for others to follow.”

Taylor said there are 5.5 million young people ages 18-24 across the United States that are currently not working and not attending school.

“That is the biggest issue of our time. You can’t take 5.5 million people out of this economy and thrive,” he said.

Tammy Carnrike, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s chief operating officer, said partnering with the Mayor and My Brother’s Keeper is a natural extension of the Chamber’s effort to grow opportunity in the region and infuse the talent pipeline with a qualified workforce.

“We have employers looking to hire. Matching talent to employer needs is what is going to help us continue the momentum in Detroit and Michigan,” she said.

Pointing to the success of Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT), a summer employment initiative led by Duggan that helped provide jobs to 8,000 young people this past summer, Carnrike said the business community in the Detroit region is hungry for talent.

Samantha Green, human resources manager for Applebees, said the company participated in GDYT and ended up hiring five employees at the end of the summer. Green said the experience was very positive and Applebees is looking forward to hiring more young people at the Pathways to Success Career Summit.

“We’re very excited to get involved. Our restaurant managers had nothing but positive things to say about our previous hires through these employment opportunities,” she said.

For more information on signing up for the Pathways to Success Career Summit, contact Robert Troutman, director of education and talent programs, at or 313.596.0478.