Greetings! We hope you enjoy our May 2018 Newsletter!
Monroe County's Lead Economic Development Organization geared up with a growth strategy for the 21st Century ...
Manufacturing Boot Camp
The Monroe County Community College (MCCC) recently completed its first ever Manufacturing Boot Camp. The Camp enrolled 19 students that have either recently or will soon complete their GED to take part in this new program. These students were handpicked by Vuncia Council, Coordinator of the Monroe Learning Bank, Connie Cox, Coordinator of the Milan Adult & Community Education, and Ronda Melnyk, Adult Education Coordinator for Bedford Public Schools.
The training consisted of five Saturdays over March and April. The students were provided an emersion into Automated Controls, CAM Technology, Build It-Weld It, and Electronics 101. They were also provided time to work on their own projects during their training. On Friday evenings, the students were provided information on soft workplace skills.
"By allowing adult learners, who may not have the skills to go directly into the manufacturing environment, this camp will provide them an idea of the multiple career opportunities within the manufacturing sector," stated Tim Lake, BDC President. The BDC, along with MCCC and Michigan Works Monroe Center designed the program, which was run and administered by MCCC. Lake remarked, "In many cases, these students just need a second chance and further education to turn their work-life around. By completing their GED and becoming familiar with manufacturing opportunities and the necessary skills, they can continue their education and find meaningful work.   
Three industry partners, all on an aggressive hiring mode, participated at the graduation. They explained the types of careers at their facility and encouraged the students to do applications for employment. Several one-on-one discussions took place following the graduation between the job providers and job seekers.  
The College plans to run another cohort of students through a camp but this group will concentrate on the construction trades. 
Recent Monroe County Investments
EOI Purchases Building in Dundee - Excellence Opto Inc. (EOI) is a Twainesse company that has operations in California and Grand Rapids, Michigan. They also have two locations in China.

EOI specializes in the solid-state lighting industry. Their Michigan based operations are primarily automotive but the company also builds municipal and industrial LED lighting.

EOI has recently purchased the Miller building in Dundee. Currently the building is leased to another Monroe County manufacturing company who needed extra space.

EOI plans to ramp up slowly and to be fully operational in late 2019.
Gerdau's New Investment Project - Gerdau Special Steel North America is launching a $70.3 million investment project at its Monroe mill. The grant amount is less than the $100 Million investment that was applied for in the MEDC application, but they fully expect to invest the full $100 Million; the difference will come from the plant locally with their annual capital improvement budget. Read the full Press Release .
Ottawa Lake will be home to Toyota Test Facility - Toyota is building a closed-course testing facility in southeastern Michigan to develop automated vehicle technology. The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) announced early this month that it filed construction permits to build the facility at a vehicle proving ground in Ottawa Lake. Read more in Automotive News .
$42 Million National Guard Development - Based on a national strategic study of armories prepared for Congress, Dundee was identified as a high-value area because of their large population within a one-hour driving distance, according to a news release from the Michigan Department of Military & Veteran Affairs. On May 11, they announced their purchase of 44 acres of land with plans to build a super armory. Read more in the Monroe News .
Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs
On May 12, Monroe County was introduced to over 200 young entrepreneurs during Monroe Public Schools' first annual Young Entrepreneurs Showcase. An opportunity was provided to 100 new businesses to introduce their product or service to the general public for the first time. This came after a year long program entitled Generation E.

See video of TJ & Toy Company. This video was produced at the Young Entrepreneurs Showcase event.
Generation E is a 501 (c)3 based in Battle Creek, Michigan. Their mission is to inspire and guide creative thinking so students are prepared to thrive in tomorrow's economy. Their in novative programs feature action-based learning and give youth plenty of hands-on experiential learning through critical thinking exercises, problem solving activities, and research that encourage discussions and turn abstract principles into practical actions to create their own business ventures.

Generation E was introduced to Monroe Public Schools through the efforts of the Innovation and Entrepreneur Committee, a sub committee of the county's Economic Development Task Force. "Our goal," stated Tim Lake, BDC President, "was to first ask that MPS vet out the program and then assuming they felt it had merit train 4 teachers over the summer to operate the program in a couple of classrooms as a beta test." The MPS Team, led by Superintendent Julie Everly, liked the program so well that they integrated it into all of their classrooms, trained 50 teachers in the Generation E methods, and provided the necessary materials to adequately run the operations.

Monroe Public Schools have indicated that they are more than willing to share their experiences with other districts that may want to start the program in their schools.

As the lead economic development team in the county of Monroe, we are grateful for the effort, time and resources provided by Monroe Public Schools and the especially the dedicated staff that used personal time to launch this program. New businesses are the live blood of any community. We can point to Monroe as having a rich heritage of entrepreneurship, with the likes of Monroe Auto Equipment (Tenneco, Inc.), La-Z-Boy Chair Company (La-Z-Boy, Inc.), FEDCO, and many others both large and small.
Make a lasting impression on your future workforce by inviting students to see and learn of opportunities that exist in manufacturing. Not only are manufacturing jobs highly skilled, they take place in some of the most exciting, innovative work environments anywhere ... your business.

Last year, an estimated 225,000 students had their attitudes toward manufacturing improved thanks to MFG Day events (source: Deloitte, a sponsor of MFG Day).

The Monroe County Intermediate School District (ISD) and the BDC are gearing up for another MFG Day. Join us at a MFG Day Informational Breakfast on July 17 to learn more about becoming a site host. Hear from businesses that opened their doors to students for MFG Day last year.

So, mark your calendars and hold these dates:
MFG Day Informational Breakfast - July 17, 7:30 to 9:00 am
Monroe County MFG Day 2018 - October 5

More information will follow on these events, but if you have questions beforehand, please feel free to contact Jennifer LaDuke at Monroe County ISD (734-322-2720) or LuAnn at the BDC (734-241-8081 x102).
And, there is more ...
> The Monroe County Middle College (MCMC) is an educational option for students in our county led by the Monroe County Intermediate School District (ISD). Fifth year students are required to complete a 40-hour "capstone" project which is a 40-hour unpaid career exploration. These projects provide an opportunity for a partnership between schools and businesses as they work together to provide real life opportunities. For more information, contact Robert Krueger at 734-457-6063 or Lisa Reaume at 734-457-6087. You may also learn more by visiting the MCMC's website .
>> The Monroe County Intermediate School District continues to create great programs for ALL students in collaboration with MCCC, the BDC and all 9 local school districts. These camps help our youth learn about exciting STEM careers they may never knew existed which benefits Monroe County's future workforce ... learn more here .
>>> The Economic Gardening Program provides Michigan-based small businesses with the information they need to grow and succeed. Through accelerated technical assistance and research, an experienced economic gardening team will provide customized services tailored to your business needs. For more information on this free service, please click the link above and/or contact Lois Brinkman , Economic Gardening Specialist, MEDC, at 888-522-0103.
Photo by Chris Ralston on Unsplash
>>>> Did you know that 19% of the jobs in Monroe County are in manufacturing? There was an interesting article on how modern manufacturing and skilled trades are changing our world published 4/18/18 on (written by Paula Gardner) .

The following statistics are noted from the above article: Monroe County has 36,847 private sector jobs. Top Sector - Manufacturing at 7, 145 jobs; 2nd Sector - Health Care & Social Assistance at 5,184 jobs (14%); 3rd Sector - Retail Trade at 5,165 jobs (14%).
  Please feel free to contact us anytime!
Tim Lake  x101 |  LuAnn Hogberg x102