| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Pinterest RSS Feed

Innovation & Job News

1454 Articles | Page: | Show All

Bosch Group in Farmington Hills establishes SEG Automotive, independent company for hybrid tech


The starter motor and generator division of the Bosch Group in Farmington Hills has announced its completed transition to an independent company, SEG Automotive. The new company is owned by Zhengzhou Coal Mining Machinery Group Co., and has established its headquarters in Novi, which will employ 60 people.

Read more

New apprenticeship program launches in Michigan, aims to boost employment


The Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) in Detroit launched MIApprenticeship.org as part of the Advance Michigan Center for Apprenticeship Innovation (AMCAI) initiative — a $4 million U.S. Department of Labor grant aimed at fostering and strengthening the registered apprenticeship network in southeast Michigan.

Read more.

Michigan Strategic Fund continues support of TechTown, Automation Alley and state SmartZones

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) has approved funding extensions totaling more than $1.7 million for five grants across the state supporting entrepreneurial collaboration resources, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced. The grant extensions, supporting integral members of Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, represent the MEDC’s continued commitment to building entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth across the entire state.
The approved programs receiving additional funding include:
·         TechTown’s Detroit Technology Exchange (DTX) Business Incubator ($250,000)
·         Automation Alley’s Business Incubator (7Cs) ($500,000)
·         Lawrence Technological University’s Gatekeeper Business Incubator ($100,000)
·         2015 Business Incubator-Gatekeeper ($574,338)
·         2016 Business Incubator-Gatekeeper ($299,961)
“Collaboration resources such as those available through Automation Alley, TechTown and SmartZones across Michigan are essential in providing our state’s entrepreneurs the necessary support needed to spark innovation and spur the business economy,” said Fred Molnar, vice president of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, MEDC, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the MSF. “The continued funding of these programs demonstrates their impact in not only building and growing startups in Michigan, but in attracting out-of-state talent.” 
TechTown, Detroit’s entrepreneurship hub working with businesses at all stages, helps startup, emerging and established companies develop, launch and grow. TechTown’s DTX program supports a startup accelerator for students, an entrepreneur-in-residence placement program and integrated ecosystem services. Since its inception, DTX has helped 33 new companies form, assisted 42 companies in expanding, created 165 new jobs, helped companies raise over $11.4 million in follow-on-funding and $88.7 million in new sales, and served 397 technology based companies.
Automation Alley is Michigan’s leading nonprofit technology and manufacturing business association. Its 7Cs program is aimed at accelerating the growth of small businesses and startups across Michigan, with a specific emphasis on advanced manufacturing startups. Since the beginning of the 7Cs program grant, Automation Alley has supported the formation of 14 new companies, created 51 new jobs, and assisted companies in raising over $14.7 million in follow-on-funding.  
The additional approved funding extensions include the Gatekeeper Business Incubator grant for Lawrence Technological University and the 2015 and 2016 Business Incubator Gatekeeper grants for the following SmartZones:
·         Ann Arbor SPARK East, Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti SmartZone
·         Central Michigan University Research Corporation, Mt. Pleasant SmartZone
·         Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), Lansing Regional SmartZone
·         Macomb-Oakland University Incubator, Sterling Heights SmartZone
·         Muskegon Innovation Hub, Muskegon SmartZone
·         Midland Tomorrow Innovation Center, Midland SmartZone
·         Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMU Med), Kalamazoo SmartZone
·         Innovate Marquette Enterprise Corporation (IMQT), Marquette SmartZone
·         Lakeshore Advantage, Holland SmartZone
·         Lenawee Now, Adrian and Tecumseh SmartZone
·         Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation (MTEC), Houghton and Hancock SmartZone
·         SSMart-Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste Marie SmartZone
Michigan SmartZones provide distinct geographical locations where technology-based firms, entrepreneurs and researchers receive access to business accelerator services, including business development mentoring, incubator and wet lab space, technology assessments, market analysis, product development and entrepreneurial training. The gatekeeper position is responsible for assisting companies in navigating the entrepreneurial ecosystem and accessing the various services and programs provided by SmartZones. Under the grants they’ve previously received, these SmartZones have helped 231 companies form, served 1,695 companies, created 730 jobs, retained 4,223 jobs, and assisted companies in raising over $286 million with an additional $125 million in sales.

"With its abundant resources and commitment to innovation, Michigan remains a fertile environment for entrepreneurs to realize their dreams and to start and grow a business,” said Marilyn Clark, CEO at MTEC SmartZone. “Today’s approval of additional funding reinforces that commitment, while acknowledging the tremendous impact entrepreneurs have on the state’s economic growth."
MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech start-up companies with access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more on MEDC Entrepreneurship & Innovation, visit michiganbusiness.org.
For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit MichiganBusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org. Michigan residents interested in seeking employment with any of Michigan’s growing companies should check mitalent.org, where more than 98,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.

Oakland County Michigan Works! agency to consolidate two offices to improve services

A $12.7 million reduction in federal and state funding in the past five years – coupled with projected future budget reductions – prompted the Oakland County Michigan Works! Agency to consolidate two of its eight service centers.

The decision to close the Ferndale Service Center and consolidate it with the Oak Park Service Center was based on a recommendation from the Oakland County Michigan Works! Task Force. The task force evaluated operations, performance indicators, demographics and population data and proposed recommendations to improve overall efficiency and operations at the county’s eight centers. The closure is expected to take place within the next nine months. The Ferndale Service Center is operated in partnership between Oakland County Michigan Works! and the Ferndale School District.

“Since 2011, the Oakland County Michigan Works! Agency has faced $12.7 million in reductions to our formula allocation of federal workforce funds,” said Jennifer Llewellyn, manager of Oakland County Workforce Development. “Unfortunately, we are a victim of our own success. As Oakland County’s economy continues to grow and add jobs, our portion of workforce funds decreases. While we still have high demand for services from our businesses and many job seekers, the resources have become more limited. We remain committed to finding new, innovative strategies and technologies to deliver our services to businesses and residents.”

Llewellyn said the decision to close the center was based on budget and not a reflection on the center employees.

“We appreciate the hard work and dedication of the entire Ferndale staff and will be working with them to secure new positions within the Oakland County Michigan Works! network and the Ferndale School District,” Llewellyn said. “We expect the transition of services to the Oak Park office will be seamless and accessible to both businesses and job seekers.”

Oakland County has more service centers than any other county in the state. The task force was comprised of workforce development and business professionals and managed by EdEn Inc., a Rochester-based economic and workforce development consulting firm. It concluded after an extensive review there was a significant overlap of services in southeast Oakland County and that with persistent budget cuts, the current system could not be sustained with reduced funding.

The task force recommended the remaining seven Michigan Works! offices in Oakland County – Highland, Novi, Pontiac, Southfield, Troy and Waterford, as well as Oak Park – should rely more on technology to provide expanded services to clientele, which could include delivering more services virtually and social media, Llewellyn said.

Oakland County Michigan Works! helps more than 45,000 job seekers prepare for careers and conduct job searches each year. The Agency also provides services to businesses, including talent recruiting and retaining support, training support and labor market information. The agency has an administrative staff of four full-time staff, with a Michigan Works! service staff of approximately 103 people.

LTU hosts game development marathon


About 30 software coders, artists and others with an interest in game development spent the weekend at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield during the second annual Game Jam on campus.

The event was part of Global Game Jam, a worldwide celebration of art and creativity in game development.

Read more

BMS STEM program OK'd for 2018-2019


On Jan. 15, the Brandon Board of Education OK’d a middle school STEM, science, technology, enginering and math program titled Project Lead the Way (PLTW).

“Project Lead the Way Gateway is a middle school STEM integrated elective that any 6th, 7th or 8th grade student can take during the course of the school day,” said Debbie Brauher, K-8 director of instruction for Brandon schools.

Read more

Novi's Morrison Industries aims to hire 100 employees over two years

Morrison Industries, which makes steel shipping containers for the manufacturing industry and custom shipping racks for automakers, is growing, and opening a second manufacturing plant in Novi. 

Production at the 50,000-square-foot Morrison Industries North is on track to begin in January. The goal is to start production with 15 to 20 employees and aim for 100 employees "over the next 24 months," the company says. It'll be looking to hire in the following jobs: welder, fabricator, maintenance and general office staff.

"The central location in the metro area allows us to provide the most convenient access to our customers, with locations in both the northern and southern regions," the company says.

Morrison Industries, founded in 1979, is based in Morrison, Tennessee, and counts GM, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, and Toyota as some of its clients.

"We're not a stranger to growth and expansion," CEO Jacob Wilson says in a memo posted on Morrison Industries' website. "Over the last 25 years, our family-owned company has grown to be one of the most trusted names in auto-rack manufacturing. We are excited to better position ourselves to serve both current and new customers."

Pontiac's Catherine Johnson on how G.I.R.D.L.E. helps women build self-esteem

Pontiac resident Catherine Johnson knows the value of valuing oneself.
“I realized, through my own experience, that when your self-esteem is not high, it causes you to make bad decisions sometimes and then you're not able to reach your full potential,” she says. “I’ve overcome it by reading a lot, affirmations and just by doing self-talk that I am who I was created to be and I can fulfill my purpose and that I don't have to compare myself to someone else.”
And since 2013, Johnson has been actively helping other women in her community to believe in themselves through G.I.R.D.L.E (God Is Raising Devoted Ladies For Excellence), a support group for women aged 12 and older who live in Oakland County. The groups are designed to help them see their value.
“We help women by addressing topics that let us know whether or not we have issues with self-esteem,” she says. “We talk about our thinking patterns; first you have to change your mindset and then your actions, and then your behavior will change.”
The organization takes on topics like depression and self-care, issues that are particularly important to women, according to Johnson. Currently, the organization is funded through donations and an annual fashion show, and Johnson says more is needed. She sees the need in the community for expanded services; she'd like to find a permanent physical location for the organization as well as funding staff a nurse and a counselor.
“Women tend to have more of an issue with self-esteem than men,” she says. “From a young age, usually around 10 or 11, women start having issues with self-esteem, and there is no real help for us. Because of the things that I went through in my life, I want to be able to help at least one person overcome those barriers.”
The group has helped one woman realize a dream of publishing her book, and another to face and overcome the trauma of rape. The groups meet every other month and decide what topics to cover based on their needs and interests.
Johnson says the idea for G.I.R.D.L.E. came to her during Bible study.
“There was a scripture that said, ‘Gird up your loins,’ and we know a girdle shapes and supports us and that's what G.I.R.D.L.E. wants to do,” she says. “We want to shape women and to give them the support they need, so they can reach their full potential, that they can be who they were created to be.”

Tech248 update: ORBBEC builds 3D cameras for VR, AR, 3D printing, AI and more


Virtual and Augmented reality are becoming the hot new technologies on the scene. Troy-based ORBBEC makes computer-controlled 3D cameras that can see, hear and respond to people and their environments with unprecedented accuracy fitting in nicely with this trend. ORBBEC is the featured company in this Tech248 update.

Read more

January LTU Collaboratory events

The Lawrence Technological University (LTU) Collaboratory is on a mission to accelerate the growth of Southeast Michigan’s small manufacturers and hardware entrepreneurs by providing access to key resources specific to their unique needs. The Collaboratory provides leaders of these businesses with access to mentors, workshops, cutting-edge technologies, corporate connections, college students, events, workspace, and a collaborative community of peers. Additionally, Collaboratory clients will soon have access to a state-of-the-art 6,200 sq ft facility featuring additional workspace, training facilities, and a premier manufacturing technology lab. Among the Collaboratory’s programs are Scale-Up For Success and Hardware Massive.

Scaling for Success: Leaning Your Product Design!   Jan 19, 2018, 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Location: Munro & Associates, 1140 Centre Road, Auburn Hills, Michigan, 48326

The Build4Scale training program is designed to help advanced manufacturing and “hardware” product developers with scaling their business.  Companies that would find the most value in this training program are those that have a unique physical product or process, have already developed prototypes or low volume production and need to move to a higher volume scale. • Designing Your Product for Manufacturability, Durability and Cost Reductions• Developing a Bill of Materials (BOM) & Bill of Process (BOP) as a method to support quality and reduce components and manufacturing steps.

The Lean Startup and Basics of Customer Discovery   Jan 20, 2018, 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: LTU Buell Building M336

What is a “lean” startup?  This workshop starts by introducing the concept and principles and outlines the methodology of lean.  Avoid spending inordinate amounts of time, energy, and money only to fail for reasons you could have predicted. Then: You have what you think is a great idea for a product or service.  But how do you know if there’s actually a money-making business around it?  The workshop continues with the basics of “Customer Discovery:” the process of validating your hypotheses to quickly determine how to move forward for success.

Tech Tuesdays: The Impact of Autonomous Driving on Business  Jan 30, 2018, 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Location: LTU Buell Building M336

Autonomous driving capabilities are being offered in vehicles today with higher level of automation expected in the near future.  The session will provide intelligence on the visions systems and sensors that are enabling autonomy in vehicles as well as inform on what is driving this movement, businesses likely to be disrupted, and business models that are likely to be created.  This session looks at both the challenges and opportunities this faces for suppliers of durable goods and the lasting impact autonomous driving will have on the broader automotive value chain.

LTU offers $3.5 million in scholarships to 'Blue Devil Scholars' from Southfield Public Schools

Lawrence Technological University will set aside $3.5 million to provide scholarships to students in Southfield Public Schools under a new partnership, the Blue Devil Southfield Scholars program.

LTU President Virinder Moudgil and SPS Interim Superintendent Derrick L. Lopez signed the memorandum of understanding creating the Blue Devil Southfield Scholars program in a ceremony at the SPS’ John W. English Administration Center.  

Under the program, SPS will create a committee of teachers, principals and other staff to select 50 Blue Devil Southfield Scholars to receive the scholarships – students who will pursue majors in the STEAM (science, technology architecture and design, and mathematics) fields. There will be 50 students selected for the scholarships each year.

The agreement will also have LTU designing middle school summer camps in the STEAM disciplines that will provide educational and career exploration for students in the SPS’ Levey Middle School. During the school year, LTU will also host Levey students in its “Extreme Science Saturdays” program and establish a focused STEAM exploration day.

In addition, LTU will provide workshops for SPS teachers in teaching techniques known as Active Collaborative Learning and Project Based Learning. The agreement also provides for LTU to use SPS athletic facilities for practice and training.

“This new partnership accomplishes several of our goals as a university,” LTU’s President Moudgil said. “We want to create more STEAM scholars to fill the huge talent gap in those disciplines, a gap that is especially severe in Southeast Michigan. We also want to strengthen the town-and-gown relationship between the city of Southfield and LTU. And we want to foster closer ties and coordination with K-12 school districts in Southfield, and all over the region.”

“We are excited about our partnership agreement with Lawrence Technological University as an extension of our ongoing relationship,” SPS’ Interim Superintendent Lopez said. “This agreement is the first of many within our Southfield Compact, an initiative that strengthens our partnership with residents and businesses in the Southfield and Lathrup Village communities. The LTU partnership will empower our students and families with new and different opportunities to grow and develop, and the collaboration will lead to better-prepared students for college.”

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

For 70 years, Southfield Public Schools has offered a wide range of exceptional programs to meet the needs of preschool through 12th-grade students. The district, operating 13 schools, serves nearly 6,200 children in the cities of Southfield and Lathrup Village. With a robust college prep curriculum, Southfield Public Schools is one of 28 public school districts in Oakland County.

Brose expansion to add 300 jobs

Brose North America, an auto supplier headquartered in Auburn Hills, is expanding and adding 300 jobs. 

Brose, a subsidiary of Brose in Germany, will be investing $105 million locally over the next five years — the Auburn Hills headquarters and also a manufacturing plant in New Boston. Brose told Metromode the site's expansion is a result of new business that requires welding, paint, and track lines as well as the need to increase seat structure assembly lines.

The company will be hiring for human resources, finance, logistics and engineering, as well as production operators, paint and welding technicians, maintenance workers, and quality technicians.

The investment is part of a $2.7 million grant approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund, which, in 2014 had approved a $4.25 million grant for Brose. In total, Brose will be adding 775 jobs and pumping $202 million into the expansion. 

Brose was founded in Germany in 1908 and established its North American operations in 1993 and manufactures, markets, and supplies auto parts including window, door, and seat systems, according to Brose. It also has a plant in Warren.

The company had a busy 2017 as it opened two new plants: one in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and one in Belvidere, Illinois. The expansion in New Boston, along with an expansion in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, are scheduled to be completed in 2018. Brose also said construction is underway for a new plant in Queretaro, Mexico, that should open by 2018.

Rochester Hills couple builds gourmet catnip company from scratch

Rochester Hills couple Rich and Lisa Jackson launched gourmet catnip company Skinny Pete's Gourmet Catnip this fall, though they've been developing their products and working the floors of trade shows for longer than that.

It was in 2014 when Rich, a professional director and visual effects artist -- wife Lisa is a producer -- was sitting at a coffee shop, working on an illustration of a cat. While listening to National Public Radio on his headphones, a story came across detailing a growing industry: Gifts for pets.

Around that same time, Rich noticed that wild catnip was growing in their garden. Imbued with an entrepreneurial spirit, the Jacksons saw an opportunity. And thus the seeds for Skinny Pete's Gourmet Catnip company were sown.

The Jacksons say there are two main focuses of their business. Their catnip is a high-quality, organic catnip. So much so, in fact, that they say that it makes for a good tea suitable for human consumption.

The other aspect that separates their product from the pack is the Skinny Pete packaging. The gourmet catnip is sold in packages of three varieties: Blue Meowy Wowy, Furmaceutical Grade, and Purruvian Pink. The catnip comes in artfully designed tins, keeping the product fresh and fresh-looking.

"We have three cats at the house, and they each respond to the catnip differently," says Rich Jackson. "Panda responds as if its a stimulant. The one we call Skinny Pete gets real lethargic. And Tucker gets real lovable and affectionate."

"Cats that ingest it act differently than the ones inhaling it."

Though they've only been officially on the market for a month or so, the Jacksons say that the response has been fantastic. The main bulk of their sales come directly from their website, though they also sell at local independent retailers. The Jacksons sell cat-related apparel and poster on their website, as well.

"One thing we've noticed with our clients is that they really love their cats," says Lisa Jackson. "There are real emotional connections there."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

123Net surpasses over 100 employees

123Net, an internet service provider based in Southfield, recently hired its 100th employee—and the company continues to grow.

According to the company, the "arms race for more bandwidth has driven 123Net to continue hiring to keep pace." The jobs filled recently include fiber team employees, fiber designers, a software designer and several sales employees.

123Net offers services in sectors like automotive, healthcare, software, finance, and its mission is to get the the entire state connected. According to the company, which was founded in 1995, it is continuing to expand its 3,500-mile fiber network throughout Michigan. It also aims to expand its team at least 30% every year.

"We pride ourselves on hiring diverse, Michigan-based talent," 123Net President and CEO Dan Irvin says in a release. "This business was built on the backs of hardworking Michiganders hired from our own backyard."


Innovative Learning Group recognized as a MichBusiness "Designing Star"

Innovative Learning Group, Inc. (ILG) has received a Best of MichBusiness award in the category of Designing Stars for its corporate headquarters. The award recognizes those companies that create a great working space.

“In designing our space, my goal was to provide an environment where we can collaborate; do focused individual work; be comfortable; host our vendors, clients, and colleagues in the learning community; and be inspired to create engaging learning solutions for our clients,” says ILG CEO Lisa Toenniges.

ILG worked with design firm Young & Young Architects in Bloomfield Hills, builder Kelly Building & Development Company LLC in Birmingham, workplace interior design and furnishing company iscg in Royal Oak, and interior designer Melody Smith in Birmingham.

ILG’s corporate headquarters opened in February 2016. It is 10,100 square feet and was completely renovated from a light industrial building.

The Best of MichBusiness Awards honor the companies and individuals that make Michigan a great place to explore, connect, and thrive. Awards were distributed at the 2017 Best of MichBusiness Awards and Gala held on Nov. 30 at the MGM Grand in Detroit.

About Innovative Learning Group, Inc.

A performance-first learning company, Innovative Learning Group, Inc. creates custom training and tools that help employees of Fortune 1000 companies do their jobs more effectively. Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, ILG is a privately held, certified Women’s Business Enterprise founded in 2004 by CEO Lisa Toenniges. Visit www.innovativeLG.com to learn more.
1454 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts