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Nearly 10,000 students to attend MiCareerQuest Southeast, region's largest career exploration event

Students from 107 southeast Michigan high schools are set to converge on the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi as MiCareerQuest Southeast – the region’s largest-ever career exploration event – connects 9,700 students with representatives from 114 companies and organizations.

The students, from schools in Oakland, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw and Wayne counties, will engage in a broad range of interactive, hands-on activities with more than 500 working professionals from 114 exhibiting organizations in four growing career quadrants: advanced manufacturing, construction, health sciences and information technology. More than 125 of the most in-demand occupations in the state will be showcased. The day-long event is set for November 28.

“The Suburban Collection Showplace will be bulging at the seams with so much to see and do, as our young people explore so many exciting career opportunities,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who plans to attend. “I expect this event, which directly addresses employers’ calls for help in filling critical jobs, to be inspiring and engaging for all those participating.”

MiCareerQuest Southeast is coordinated by Michigan Works! and the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. The Michigan Talent Investment Agency (TIA) is the presenting sponsor of the event.

During their visit, students and their chaperones will move between career quadrants over a two-hour period. The venue will host three separate sessions from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with an average of 3,200 students in each. At least 150 school buses will transport the students and their 600 chaperones to the event. Advanced school registration was required.

Nearly 200 volunteers from Michigan Works! agencies across the state, the Michigan Talent Investment Agency, county government offices, local community colleges and other groups will be on-hand to assist.

“There has been a steady build-up of excitement for this event, among the schools, exhibitors and everyone who has volunteered to help,” said Jennifer Llewellyn, Oakland County’s manager of workforce development. “This is the first time an event of this nature and size has ever taken place in the southeast Michigan region. I’m expecting a great day.”

Macomb County’s Romeo High School plans to send its entire freshman class of 450 students. In 2019, as part of its transformation into the state’s first Ford Next Generation Learning community, the school will launch a special career academy for students in grades 10-12.

“Every student will be part of a career academy, preparing them with the more advanced skills they need to be successful in college, their careers and life,” said CTE Director Natalie Davis. “We believe MiCareerQuest Southeast is the perfect opportunity to expose our ninth-grade class to what career pathways are available to them prior to academy selection.”

According to Michigan Talent Investment Agency data, almost half of the companies the agency works with across the state indicate they struggle to find qualified people to fill their job vacancies. Wanda M. Stokes, director of the Talent Investment Agency, said MiCareerQuest Southeast is a unique event to help address the long-term challenge of filling this talent pipeline.

“The Talent Investment Agency’s WorkShare program is proud to serve as the 2018 Presenting Sponsor of MICareerQuest Southeast,” Stokes said. “The unique, experiential learning approach that MICareerQuest takes provides students with hands-on exploration of high-demand, high-wage careers in their region. Immersion into hands-on learning is what ultimately helps students find their passion, so they can, in turn, discover their purpose. MICareerQuest understands that extending career exploration beyond the walls of the school and creating opportunities for students to engage with business professionals is critically important in providing students with a variety of career path choices.”

In addition to the Talent Investment Agency, major event sponsors include platinum sponsors Beaumont Health in health sciences and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in advanced manufacturing. Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, the Building and Construction Trades Council and MUST (Management & Unions Serving Together) are joint platinum sponsors in the construction quadrant.

Other major sponsors include Oakland Community College, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, Michigan Works! Southeast, Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, Oakland County Michigan Works!, SEMCA Michigan Works!, Kelly Services, Automation Alley and Ascension Michigan.

Beaumont Health will showcase several occupations. Aaron Gillingham, chief human resources officer, said Beaumont is investing in the future for the region’s children.

“There’s no better place to be than in front of 10,000 students to highlight the great career options we have at Beaumont and across the medical sector,” he said. “MiCareerQuest Southeast will educate people on the types of opportunities available now, as well as the types of careers they can have in the future.”

A list of occupations to be showcased, including the organizations who are staffing exhibits, is attached. For more information, visit oakgov.com/micareerquestse.

Entrepreneurs collaborate to build up downtown Farmington

When the Azar family opened up Basement Burger Bar in downtown Farmington nine years ago, little did they know they would gain some wonderful friendships and entrepreneurial comradery with fellow downtown Farmington business owners.
 
“We opened 1up Arcade to be kind of a retro 1980s arcade bar with all of the old school games,” says Christina Azar. “We plan on doing a ton of events up there. Eventually, we will try to do a Mario Kart (TM) competition.”
 
“We should all work together and come up with ways to collaborate,” says Azar. “Honestly, Farmington is such a great city. We love it, I mean that’s why we chose to expand in Farmington.”
 
Sharing with skateboarders
 
Rob Woelkers, owner of Plus Skateboarding for the past 15 years and skateboarding enthusiast of 30 years, is one of the downtown business neighbors who has collaborated with Basement Burger Bar.
 
On September 21, the Azars held a soft opening of 1up Arcade, located conveniently upstairs to the bar. Woelkers was instrumental in gaining attention for both businesses from the community.
 
On that same day, Plus Skateboarding’s held its annual skateboard competition and The Volcom national skateboard team was in town for a tour at the Farmington Hills Riley Skatepark.
 
“We like to collaborate, and Rob approached us,” says Azar. “He had a national skateboard event and asked us if he could throw a party here and bring in some celebrity skateboarders. So, they wanted to come to play games and they did.”
 
“We have always had an after party after the competition with the judges and everybody who helps out,” says Woelker. “It worked out that that team was in town so we told them they should come to the after party, and the Azars opened up their new arcade bar for us and the guys. So, it was fun for the guys on the team to do that.”
 
Famous professional skateboarders like Omar Hassan and 14-year-old skateboarders CJ Collins and Louie Lopez were also in attendance, which gave the businesses some nice publicity.
 
It’s a date night!
 
The Azars are also giving away “Farmington Date Nights that capitalize on downtown business collaboration.
 
Azar says the giveaway idea evolved after the Farmington Police asked them for a donation.
 
“We gave them a Basement Burger Bar gift card and a 1up certificate for tokens, and then we gave him some free tickets and popcorn to the Farmington Civic Theater from (general manager) Scott Freeman,” he says.
 
“So, it’s a come in, eat, go play, have a drink, go watch a movie kind of night,” says Azar.
 
And it can all be done in downtown Farmington.

Inaugural Deaf and Loud Symphonic Experience with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra set for Dec. 16

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Classical music will meet hip hop, pop, and world-class percussion when Eminem publisher 8 Mile Style Music presents The Deaf and Loud Symphonic Experience, starring three renowned deaf artists performing an unprecedented concert with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. at Orchestra Hall in Detroit.

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40 years of friendship celebrated between Pontiac and Kusatsu, Japan

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Forty years ago the city of Kusatsu, located in the Shiga prefecture of Japan and the city of Pontiac agreed to become sister cities, setting up a decades long friendship that was recently revived by members of the Pontiac community.

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What Little Caesars Arena looks like as 30,000 Lego bricks from Legoland

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The attention to detail is stunning. A master builder from Legoland of Auburn Hills has built this replica of Little Caesars Arena.
Here are pics and fun facts of the mini arena made from 30,000 Lego bricks.

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Wixom police launch "Stuff the Squad Car" campaign to collect items for families in need

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The Wixom Police Department is calling on the community to help fill a patrol car with clothing, toys and books. 

As part of its"Stuff the Squad Car" campaign, the department will donate all new, unwrapped items to the Hospitality House, a Commerce Township-based food pantry, for distribution to over 600 needy children during the organization's annual Santa Shop on Dec. 15. 

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Local Credit Union pays 30 employees to help furnish homes in Metro Detroit

A staggering 50 percent of families emerging from homelessness return to a homeless shelter after moving into an unfurnished home. Since 2009, only one percent of the families helped by Humble Design have returned to a shelter after 12 months.

When a homeless family finds a house it's a miracle. Furnishing it is another blessing that many families are unable to do. Humble Design assists families who are coming out of homelessness and abuse shelters. Their mission is to turn four bare walls into a clean, dignified and welcoming home by repurposing gently used household goods and using those items to fully furnish homes. The outcome is a home, and a new hope for hundreds of families.

"Our goal is to end the revolving door of homelessness by turning empty spaces into warm, welcoming homes through a dignified experience that leads to successful lives," said Rob Strasberg, Co-CEO of Chief Financial Credit Union.

Chief Financial Credit Union joined Humble Design to help make a house a home home for four metro Detroit families. As part of its mission to empower financial success and inspire creative philanthropy, Chief Financial offered a total of 240 paid hours to give its employees the opportunity to volunteer their work hours with Humble Design.  

“Our employees carry out our mission every day,” said Tom Dluzen, Chief Financial CEO. “Empowering our team to spend a work day with Humble Design was an amazing way for us to give back. Each of them came away inspired by Humble Design, and by the brave families they were able to meet. And that is why we exist, to create true change in our communities.”

Four teams of Chief Community Crew volunteers worked with Humble Design throughout August, September and October. Each team started at the Humble Design headquarters in Pontiac and then headed to a house in need of furnishing. A very full day with a life-changing outcome.

“It really put things in perspective. Someone in need was right down the street from us. To be able to help brighten someone's day by giving a few hours of your life is so rewarding,” said Kandice Navarro, Chief Financial Lender/MSR. “It makes me realize I am blessed with what I have: my family, job, home, food in the fridge...Humble is such a small word that means so much! I am so grateful for this experience!”

The Chief Financial team can be seen on the show ‘Welcome Home’ in November. The show follows Humble Design’s co-founders on several projects sharing the journey of each family as they find their way home. ‘Welcome Home’ airs on the CW Network on Sundays at 10:30am.

“It is an honor to be a part of the incredible work that Humble Design does across metro Detroit, and now across the country,” said Cheryl Boodram, Chief Financial Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “The hope being restored in each of these families’ lives is the reason that Chief strives to create philanthropic opportunities for our team members and hopefully the entire community.”
 
About Chief Financial Credit Union
Chief Financial Credit Union prides itself on being the only financial institution headquartered in the Greater Rochester Area. With a commitment to empowering financial success and inspiring creative philanthropy, Chief Financial has been meeting the needs of its members since 1941 through its branch locations in Pontiac, Dearborn and Rochester Hills, Michigan. Chief Financial is also the official credit union of Leader Dogs for the Blind and Rochester College. For more information, visit www.chiefonline.com.

Farmington Hills-based credit union service organization approved

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The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, Office of Banking has approved Credit Union Trust’s plans to establish its new limited-purpose financial institution in Farmington Hills, the organizers of Credit Union Trust announced.

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Visits with Santa, yoga, and more holiday fun in store during Holiday Splendor at Cranbrook House

Holiday Splendor will soon return to Cranbrook House with seasonal fun, including a chance for children to share their wish list with Santa Claus. New this year, participants will have the chance to destress from the hustle-and-bustle of the holiday season during two yoga sessions offered in the Cranbrook House Library. Proceeds from this annual holiday fundraiser support the preservation and beautification of Cranbrook House & Gardens. 
 
The event begins with Yoga, Teas & Trees on Thursday, November 29, 2018 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm and 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Each session includes a 60-minute yoga class led by a Citizen Yoga instructor, a self-guided tour of the Holiday Splendor displays, and complimentary tea and hot cocoa. 
 
“If you want to experience the holiday exhibits in the evening, join us during yoga,” said Randy Forester, Fund Development Chair for Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary, “yogis will have a relaxed environment to view the trees and cross off some of their holiday shopping, since each session is limited to only 15 guests.” 
 
Holiday Splendor will be open to the public 12:00pm to 4:00pm from Friday, November 30, 2018 through Sunday, December 2, 2018. Santa will visit with families from 9:00am to 12:00pm on Saturday, December 1, 2018. A scavenger hunt will keep children of all ages entertained and adults may find inspiration in the holiday trees and tables that adorn the historic manor. The gift shop will be open for holiday shopping during the entire event. 
 
“This event continues to be a holiday tradition thanks to our dedicated volunteers, talented individuals and local organizations such as the Herb Society of America Southern Michigan Unit that decorate the house, and our loyal patrons who return every year,” said Ellen Dougherty, Chair of Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary, “we are pleased that our fundraiser also helps support Mittens for Detroit in their collection of new mittens and gloves for Detroiters in need.”  
 
General admission is $20 for adults, $15 for Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary members, $10 for children ages five to 10 years old, and free for children under four; tickets may be purchased in advance online or at the door during the event. Admission for yoga is $35 per person. Santa admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 10 and under. Reservations are required for the yoga and Santa events and may be made online or over the phone. 
 
Cranbrook House is located at 380 Lone Pine Road, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48304. Parking is available onsite and across the street at Christ Church Cranbrook. A shuttle will be provided during general admission. 
 
For more information on Cranbrook House & Gardens, please call 248.645.3149 or visit http://housegardens.cranbrook.edu

Veterans Day ceremony to honor all those who served

Veterans, their families, friends and the general public are invited to attend a Veterans Day ceremony honoring all who served in the armed forces of our country.

The Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly will host the observance, set for 11:00 a.m. Sunday, November 11th. Adam Weiner, Navy Veteran and Bronze Star with Valor recipient will be the keynote speaker.

The ceremony will feature patriotic music by New Century Chorale. presentation of colors, a rifle salute and taps will be conducted by the Wyandotte Veterans Honor Guard. The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and POW/MIA will also make a wreath presentation. The invocation and benediction will be conducted by Father David Blazek, Pastor, St. Rita Catholic Church.

The Great Lakes National Cemetery is one of two such National Shrines in Michigan. Opened for burials in 2005, the cemetery’s 544 acres will be the final resting place for an estimated 244,000 veterans. Thus far, over 39,000 veterans and their eligible dependents have been interred at the site.

Sunday’s ceremony is one of a multitude across the area and the nation. The Great Lakes National Cemetery is located at 4200 Belford Rd. in Holly, Michigan. If you have any questions about this ceremony, please contact Garth Wootten, Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council President, at wootteng@oakgov.com or 248-858-0785.

Co-working spaces thrive in Oakland County

As the workforce evolves and more people work remotely, an increasingly diverse array of Metro Detroiters are using co-working spaces to get the job done. Lawyers, marketing agencies, engineers and an acupuncturist are setting up shop in shared work locations throughout Oakland County.

The county boasts several shared or co-working spaces, which usually offer a mixture of desks, private offices, meeting rooms and other office amenities in a collaborative environment for entrepreneurs, remote workers, independent contractors, freelancers and other businesses. The county also is home to several virtual offices that can provide a physical mailing address, phone number, meeting rooms and other business services.

Lisa Schmidt, a lawyer who co-founded PatchWork Collective in Ferndale, said she opened the co-working space this summer to tap into the mobile workforce of people who define themselves by what they do rather than where they work.

PatchWork Collective’s members include a graphic designer, a recreational therapist and an acupuncturist. Schmidt’s law firm also operates out of the space. Members get 24/7 access for $220 per month while the daily drop-in rate is $20. Offices and conference rooms can be rented by the hour for $30 to $50, and there are discounts for students and nonprofits. Some offices are available for rent on a permanent basis.

“Mostly we want to be part of the changing work economy … we want to be there for that next generation of workers that just do work differently than previous generations have,” Schmidt says.

Oakland County has thousands of solo entrepreneurs in professional, knowledge-based industries, so co-working serves the area well, says Greg Doyle, manager of Oakland County’s One Stop Shop Business Center and Tech248 initiative.

Over the years, Doyle said he’s heard from entrepreneurs who long for the vibrant, collaborative environment of areas like Silicon Valley or Boston, where people could walk into a coffee shop and easily find several entrepreneurs chatting and working on new ideas. Co-working is starting to create that environment in Oakland, Doyle says.

“They’re great places just to go and really meet up with people, but also I do believe that there’s a good amount of connectivity that results in business opportunities for folks,” he says.

Sharing more than a workspace

Michael Keith strives to provide a spot where people can bounce ideas off one another and find inspiration and guidance at The Office Coffee Shop in Royal Oak. The business is open to the public as a coffee shop and also offers flexible workspace. People can either grab a table and set up their laptop as they would at a Panera or other café, or they can reserve a table, rent a private office, conference room or larger meeting space.

“We have people that are looking to just get their first start and we help collaborate and help them meet their needs,” he says.

Keith works as a consulting engineer and found that when he travels to client sites, he’s more comfortable talking with his team outside of the office. While he said he doesn’t mind occasionally working from home, it gets tough to stay motivated and engaged that way. There are also benefits to working alongside people from varied backgrounds and industries.

“People pass a lot of work around, and that is natural and organic, and it’s without a cost, per se,” Keith says. “You come in, and it’s a functional space, but it’s not like you have to pay $500 or $600 a month to be a part of the community. To be a part, you just have to participate.”

Incubizo also sees itself as more than a place to just rent a desk. The co-working site in Ferndale has hosted events with business and government leaders to discuss improving the community and assisting entrepreneurs.

It serves a wide range of clients, including the Western Market grocery store, which uses the space for employee meetings and human resources needs. Incubizo also is working with the French American Chamber of Commerce and Oakland County’s economic development team to serve as a landing spot for international or other outside companies that are coming over to do business with local automakers or other companies, but aren’t ready to commit to large, permanent office space.

“There’s a lot of flexibility that they think is going to be very attractive for helping recruit businesses to Oakland County and grow the economy and so we’re really trying to be able to meet those needs as well,” says Incubizo’s Josh Champagne.


Check out these other co-working spaces in Oakland County:

Byte & Mortar
A play off the term brick and mortar, Byte & Mortar offers both virtual office services and physical office space in Troy. The virtual office includes mail and phone services, so people who work remotely can have a physical address and secretary to answer calls. The office offers coworking and private office space.

The Den
The Den, or Downtown Education Nook, operates in a historical log cabin in Auburn Hills and offers students and community members space for studying, coworking, leisure, and meeting with small groups. The Den is funded by tax increment financing.

ShareSpace
Founder Doug Van Slembrouck opened ShareSpace in his hometown of Rochester in 2014 after moving back from Chicago, where he had grown accustomed to taking advantage of the city’s numerous co-working spaces. The site offers shared desk space, reserved desk areas, and permanent semi-suites.

The 25 best distilleries in the U.S.

Royal Oak's Motor City Gas gets some top honors from Travel + Leisure in their latest roundup of the "25 best distilleries in the U.S." Check it out here, and congratulations to the folks at Motor City Gas! 

The Rainbow Connection is honored to be one of three recipients for 2018 Impact 100 grant

The Rainbow Connection is honored to be one of the three non-profit recipients for the 2018 Impact 100 Oakland County grant.

The Rainbow Connection will use its Impact100 Oakland County grant to support The Rainbow Connection Impact Kits for families experiencing a child facing a life threatening medical condition and difficulty meeting basic living expenses. The Impact Kits are tailored to each family’s documented financial needs and includes assistance with gas, food, parking, public transportation and other emergent needs.

“This group has made it possible to address the quiet suffering these families are dealing with. Our close relationship with Wish Families and hospital social workers has made us increasingly aware of the crippling financial burdens families face as they care for a sick child,“ George Miller, Executive Director explains. “Things that many of us take for granted, including having enough money for every day expenses are situations that our Wish Families encounter and worry about on a daily basis.”

About The Rainbow Connection

Since 1985, The Rainbow Connection has made dreams come true for over 3,400 brave children in Michigan that have been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. Giving a child the opportunity to dream about their once in a lifetime wish is such an amazing gift. It gives them something positive to look forward to while providing hope. A wish allows families to create priceless memories together. To learn more about The Rainbow Connection and to donate please visit: www.rainbowconnection.org or call 248-601-9474

Greek Islands Coney Restaurant in Birmingham: 24 years of food, families, and "Opa!"

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“Opa!” exclaims John Kotsogiannis as he stops by a booth to greet a long-time customer with a warm handshake and a clap on the back. “Where’s your daughter? Still in New York?”

As the two men chat for a moment, John nods his head and smiles at other lunch patrons who are picking up or ordering carry-outs or looking at menus, seated in his restaurant’s newly renovated booths and tables.

“We’ve been in Birmingham for 24 years,” says John. “I’ve seen families grow up here.”

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Homeowners can cash in renting their spare bedrooms to medical students

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When Nicole and David Seals moved into a new house in Clawson in August, they were pondering the possibilities for their old one on the opposite side of town. The couple, co-owners of Clawson’s Due Venti restaurant, even considered renting it out.

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