Local Labor Force Continues Post-COVID Growth; But There’s Still Cause for Concern

There is good news and bad news when it comes to the regional workforce which has

been a challenge in Northern Lower Michigan in recent years, especially following the COVID-

19 pandemic.

The good news is that recent data shows the local labor force is approaching pre-COVID levels. The bad news is that our long-term demographic trends point to a shrinking workforce in the future. Concerns regarding the state’s workforce have been elevated with the administration hiring a new Chief Growth Officer, establishing the Growing Michigan Together council, and launching a talent attraction campaign. While these events are covered extensively in the news, it is important to understand the local trends.


Buck Announces Retirement

Harold "Buck" Love, Business Retention & Growth, has announced his upcoming retirement from the NLEA slated for November 17th. Prior to the NLEA, Buck worked with Networks Northwest as the Business Services Coordinator and owned a small family business that he sold after 20 successful years of operation.

He wants everyone to know, "It has been a pleasure to work alongside the various staff, board members, and partners over the past six plus years. I want to express my appreciation and gratitude to everyone that has been involved in supporting the regional businesses and communities we serve.“

Feel free to send an email and wish him a happy retirement!

Don't Forget to Join us Tomorrow!

No registration is necessary! Choose from one of our two locations:

10:00 AM at Bière de Mac Brew Works in Mackinaw City

2:00 PM at The Back Lot in Charlevoix

New Resource Hub to Benefit

Michigan Communities

Last week, the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity and the Michigan Municipal League (MML), announced they have partnered to create the Michigan Local Capacity Enhancement Program through a $1 million grant under the federal American Rescue Plan Act. 

Under the new program, the League will provide local communities with a robust online resource hub (MIFundingHub.org) and technical assistance to support them in understanding, seeking, and successfully deploying new grant funds for economic growth, infrastructure, and other community projects.

According to Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of MML, this resource will help "communities leverage new federal funding for high-impact local programs."


Farm Innovation Grant Opportunity

MDARD Announces Farm Innovation Grant Opportunity To Help Michigan’s Food And Agriculture Industry Address Climate Change

The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) is now accepting applications for a one-time farm innovation grant program. The Farm Innovation Grant Program is designed to help develop and support innovative solutions to real, immediate, and future problems facing Michigan’s food and agriculture industry.

MDARD is accepting proposals intended to develop innovative solutions for farms, agriculture processing and supply chain problems facing Michigan’s food and agricultural industry in the following priority areas:

  • Climate Smart Practices – Practices and technologies that work to mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon, or by other various ways of combating climate change leading to climate resiliency for Michigan’s food and agriculture industry.
  • Supply Chain Resiliency – Equipment enhancements, new technologies, or novel research that strengthens Michigan’s food and agriculture supply chain.
  • Food Processing and Farm Production Automation – Research and development of technologies for automation of agricultural production and food processing.
  • Other – Consideration will be extended to applications that present compelling approaches to address other aspects of farm innovation, with particular focus on rural resiliency improvements.

The maximum grant award eligible is $450,000 per proposal. The farm innovation proposals will be evaluated through a competitive selection process.


Stay tuned for more details.

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