Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Fisher Mansion in Detroit to Host Inaugural MOCAD Summer Arts Soiree
The Museum of Contemporary Arts Detroit (MOCAD) is hosting its inaugural Summer Arts Soirée from 7-10 p.m. at the historic Charles T. Fisher Mansion in Detroit on July 13.
The evening will provide a place for Detroit’s most dynamic creative supporters to come together for dinner, drinks, music, and art in one of the region’s most architecturally significant homes.
Hill Harper, Dr. Charles Boyd, Marisa Murillo, and Kate Williams are the hosts for the event.
Guests are invited to tour the historic mansion and see the Harper Art Collection, which includes works by Mickalene Thomas, Kerry James Marshall, and more. They’ll have the opportunity to meet MOCAD’s new leadership team and connect with other pillars of Detroit’s arts community while listening to the evening sounds of Detroit neo-soul singer Vespre and other live musical performers.
The event is limited to 120 tickets, with all proceeds supporting MOCAD’s mission to explore the best of contemporary art, connecting Detroit + the global art world. The majority of the ticket cost is tax deductible. Tickets may be purchased here.
State Doles Out $4.6M in Federal Grant Awards to Fill Talent Gap
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) announce $4.6 million in grant awards to 13 organizations that will support the development of employer-led collaboratives helping Michigan employers address critical talent shortages throughout the state.
The employer-led collaboratives (ELC) are a group of businesses coming together to solve a common or shared workforce problem. Through this work, the collaboratives will bring together employers, education and training institutions, workforce development organizations, and other applicable partners such as economic development organizations and government, to create solutions to fill identified talent gaps.
Sector Strategies Employer-Led Collaborative grants will support the creation of six new ELCs and the enhancement of seven existing collaboratives. Including this grant cycle, 528 employers and more than 2,500 participants have benefitted from these investments, resulting in nearly 1,200 credentials attained by Michigan workers.
“These grants will help our state’s employers address critical talent shortages and create more opportunities for Michiganders to develop high-wage skills,” says Susan Corbin, director of LEO. “When all stakeholders work collaboratively, Michiganders benefit from the clear paths we’re building toward good paying jobs that offer a better quality of life – it’s a win-win for our state’s workers and employers.”
To support the federal government’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, priority was given to occupations in the fields of construction and extraction; installation, maintenance and repair; production; and transportation and material moving. Priority also was given to proposals from other key industries in Michigan with a focus on agri-business, energy, health care, information technology, manufacturing, mobility, and outdoor recreation/hospitality.
The 13 organizations receiving one-time grant funding include:
- Focus: HOPE, Construction/Manufacturing, $400,000
- Greater Flint Health Coalition Inc. (new ELC), Health Care, $227,850
- GST Michigan Works! (new ELC), Health Care, $500,000
- Lenawee Economic Development Corp., Multi-industry, $500,000
- Management and Unions Serving Together (new ELC), Construction, $200,000
- Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium, Energy, $337,912
- Michigan Manufacturer’s Association (new ELC), Manufacturing, $498,620
- Michigan Works! Southwest, Information Technology, $182,280
- Michigan Workforce Training and Education Collaborative (new ELC), Mobility, $400,000
- Michigan Works! West Central, Multi-industry, $82,306
- TalentFirst Inc. (new ELC), Multi-industry, $364,560
- Upper Peninsula Michigan Works!, Multi-industry, $500,000
- West Michigan Works!, Multi-industry, $406,472
There are currently more than 60 formally identified ELCs throughout Michigan. LEO provides technical assistance to support the activities of employer-led collaboratives.
More information about Michigan’s ELCs is available by visiting Michigan.gov/MICA.
Study: Chick-fil-A Leads Restaurant Satisfaction for Ninth Straight Year
According to the Ann Arbor-based American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Restaurant Study 2022-2023, customer satisfaction with full-service restaurants is up 1 percent to a score of 81 (on a scale of 0-100).
With this improvement, the industry moves back into first place in the Index, sharing the top with athletic shoes and soft drinks. Meanwhile, the fast-food industry climbs 3 percent to 78.
Outback Steakhouse moved into the top spot after surging 8 percent to an ACSI score of 83. It appears the rollout of handheld ordering tablets and new ovens and grills are paying dividends as evidenced by improvements in order accuracy, food quality, and food menu variety.
Two additional steakhouses — LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse — each climbed 3 percent to meet Cracker Barrel (up 5 percent) in second place at 82 apiece. The latter introduced a new breakfast menu last summer, while also reaffirming its commitment to digital transformation with a new app.
While three of the top four scores belong to steakhouses, their reign could be short lived if 2023 is marred by record cattle prices.
“With beef prices on the rise, these brands may face challenges in managing price increases and supply chain pressures,” the study says. “On the other hand, the current inflationary environment is benefiting some of these brands as higher-income consumers opt for more affordable chain restaurants over pricier alternatives. This is definitely worth monitoring.”
Overall, the industry seems to be emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic strong, with almost all restauranteurs improving customer satisfaction. Only two full-service restaurants experience a customer satisfaction slip: Fridays, down 1 percent to 77, and IHOP, down 1 percent to an ACSI score of 72 — the worst mark in the industry.
Chick-fil-A leads the industry — and all restaurants — for the ninth straight year after climbing 2 percent to an ACSI score of 85. The chain continues to set the standard with its combination of food, service, and technological quality.
And yet, while Chick-fil-A improves year over year, its lead dwindles as the next three chains post gains of 4 percent or higher.
Jimmy John’s takes over sole possession of second place after rising 6 percent to 84.
Seven Michigan Food Service Sites Become First in U.S. to Get The PLEDGE Certification
Three Oakland University dining halls managed by Chartwells, Alchemi, Johnny’s Speakeasy, Sylvan Table, and Folk Detroit have received international food waste prevention certifications from The PLEDGE on Food Waste.
Detroit-based nonprofit Make Food Not Waste piloted the program in southeast Michigan with financial support from U.S. EPA Region 5. As a result of the pilot, the seven sites have realized financial and environmental benefits.
The PLEDGE is a global, third-party verified certification tackling food waste by motivating food service businesses to monitor and reduce waste, generate buy-in with employees and customers, implement new procedures to improve efficiency, and establish new standards of excellence to differentiate their restaurant from a competition. The PLEDGE includes 95 criteria and changes required to be certified bronze, silver, gold, or all-star, so that food waste prevention strategies are adopted for the long term.
“We brought The PLEDGE to Detroit because the program takes a preventative approach to food waste,” says Danielle Todd, executive director of Make Food Not Waste. “If you want to see the greatest impact on your bottom line and the environment, you have to focus on preventing food waste from happening in the first place.”
Comerica Bank Named 2023 DiversityInc Noteworthy Company
DiversityInc named Comerica Bank to its 2023 Top Noteworthy Companies, a listing that serves as the leading assessment of workplace fairness in corporate America. This marks the third consecutive year Comerica has been recognized by DiversityInc as a Noteworthy Company.
The Noteworthy Company category honorees are evaluated on six key areas that include:
- Human capital diversity metrics
- Leadership accountability
- Talent programs
- Workplace practices
- Supplier diversity
“We are honored to be included on such an important list and recognized with companies from across the country that value diversity, equity and inclusion,” says Nate Bennett, chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at Comerica Bank. “DEI is embedded in our Core Value — A Force for Good — and is a constant business imperative. Equity sits at the core of our DEI efforts as we work to ensure that all colleagues have fair treatment, access and opportunity to thrive and advance at Comerica.”
In addition to its inclusion in the Top Noteworthy Companies, Comerica earned high marks in the categories for talent acquisition of diverse candidates and mentoring.
Comerica placed 14th in Top Companies for Talent Acquisition for Women of Color and 20th in Top Companies for Mentoring.
Former Southfield Mayor and Councilman Donald F. Fracassi Passes Away
Former longtime city of Southfield Mayor and Councilman Donald F. Fracassi passed away peacefully at his home on June 25 on his 63rd wedding anniversary to his wife, Karen. He was 88 years old.
Fracassi served as Southfield’s mayor for more than 30 years in addition to 18 years on city council. The city officially named the Southfield Municipal Campus located at 26000 Evergreen Road as the Donald F. Fracassi Municipal Campus on Sept. 11, 2020.
He was first elected to the city council in 1967 as one of the youngest ever; elected council president and acting mayor in 1969-1972; elected mayor 1973-2001; returned to city council in 2003, as acting mayor in 2015, and again as a councilman until 2019.
Throughout his long and distinguished years of service, Fracassi pioneered several positive initiatives that have secured Southfield as an economic hub in southeast Michigan, including:
- Implementing the first 911 Emergency System in Michigan and one of the first Emergency Medical Service systems (EMS) and Paramedic programs in the United States in 1972.
- Curbside recycling.
- Mayors for United Negro College Fund.
- Founder of Eight Mile Boulevard Association;
- Established Southfield as a “Smart Zone.”
- Assisted in the first Senior Citizen developments (McDonnell Towers and Woodridge Apartments).
- Assisted in the development of the Burgh Site in 1976.
- Negotiated the joint contract between Southfield, Japan, and Lawrence Technological University to build the first composite bridge in the United States.
- Nominated in 2002 as “Michiganian of the Year;”
- Established the Downtown Development Authority.
- Established East-West route for I-696 and its sound walls.
Fracassi is survived by his wife, Karen, Donald, deceased (Donna) Fracassi, David Fracassi, Patti (Ernie) Taber, Roderick (Jennifer) Fracassi, Tim (Heather) Fracassi, Philip (Stephanie Simard) Fracassi; grandchildren Donald Fracassi, Jessica (Gideon) Massengill, Michael (Zoe) Fracassi, Kelsey (Dane) Stier, Peter Fracassi, Christopher Fracassi, Sydney Fracassi, Brittany (Michael) Avila, Katherine Fracassi, Emma Fracassi, Gabrielle Fracassi, Dominic Fracassi, Joseph Fracassi, and Elizabeth Fracassi; and great grandchildren Lyla, Beau, Phineas, Ella and Duncan.
Viewing will take place at Sawyer Fuller Funeral Home located at 2125 12 Mile Road in Berkley from 1-8 p.m. on June 28. The funeral will take place at Highland Park Baptist Church located at 28600 Lahser Road in Southfield at 10 a.m. on June 29. Burial will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery immediately following the service with a luncheon at Highland Park Baptist Church.
In lieu of flowers make a contribution to Southfield Goodfellows.
MSU Researcher Gets $3M to Study Side Effects of Anti-cancer Treatment
For cancer survivors, taking oral medication may be more convenient than spending hours undergoing infusions, but it could come with trade-offs, according to a Michigan State University researcher and her colleagues.
By taking these oral medications, survivors may see their oncology teams less often, requiring them to deal with symptoms like fatigue, depression, or skin rashes on their own. Unmanaged symptoms can result in cancer treatment interruptions or even lead to emergency room visits, says Alla Sikorskii, a professor in the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry.
Sikorskii and her collaborators have received a five-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to provide cancer survivors with tools to manage their symptoms, improve their well-being and reduce costs associated with unscheduled health services, such as visits to the emergency department or urgent care.
Sikorskii will lead this project with Terry Badger from the University of Arizona’s College of Nursing and Tracy Crane from the University of Miami’s Department of Medical Oncology. The research will be done within the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program, or NCORP, which brings cancer clinical trials and care delivery studies into the communities where people with cancer receive their treatment.
“As survivors go through treatment, the ultimate goal is to beat cancer, however, survivors’ well-being during months and years of cancer treatment is very important,” Sikorskii says. “Managing symptoms can help people stay on treatment and out of the emergency department.”
Bloomfield Hills Teen Earns 2023 Young Woman of Distinction Award from Girl Scouts
Nisha Singhi, 16, from Bloomfield Hills has been recognized by the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan as its 2023 Young Woman of Distinction.
Singhi won the organization’s highest honor for The Balloon Project, an in-depth report and campaign looking at the effect released balloons have on the environment.
The project focused on the detrimental effects of released balloons on wildlife, marine life, natural resources, and the economy. Singhi spent more than 170 hours conducting extensive research on the issue, developing action plans and policy recommendations, interviewing elected officials, and organizing a community cleanup. Her project led to the successful implementation of environmental policies banning the release and litter of balloons adopted by the Bloomfield Hills City Commission and International Academy in Bloomfield Hills.
At the state level, Singhi worked to introduce House Bill 5373 and Senate Bill 0675.
“Nisha is an example of how Girl Scouts goes beyond selling cookies to equip young women with the skills, resources and mentorship they need to be successful and create real change within their communities,” says Monica Woods, CEO of GSSEM. “Nisha has already accomplished so much at such a young age and we can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes in the years to come.”
Gesher Human Services Offers Two New Website Training Courses
Gesher Human Services in Southfield is offering two new courses in July for people interested in either building a website with WordPress software or, for those with an existing WordPress website, improving or updating their current site.
WordPress is the most widely used free web content management system using opensource software with 42 percent of websites on the internet powered by WordPress according to Forbes. For an image of a computer class at Gesher Human Services in action click here.
“Whether you want to build a website for personal use, create a website for a new business or showcase a hobby, we have you covered,” says David Rotter, computer training supervisor at Gesher. “WordPress is not difficult — but it can be challenging to learn by yourself. We are trying to fill that void for people who want to create a website quickly and maintain complete control of the website going forward.”
Two WordPress class levels are available:
WordPress 101, Build Your First WordPress Website is for people who want to learn or re-learn how to build a brand-new WordPress Website from a clean install, and will be conducted July 11 and 13, from 1-3:30pm. The fee for this class is $100, and scholarships are available.
WordPress 201, Your first WordPress Website Tune Up, is for people looking to upgrade their current WordPress website. This program will be offered on July 25 and 27, from 1-3:30pm. The fee for the program is also $100 and scholarships are available.
For both classes, participants may bring their own laptop or use one provided by Gesher. A fresh WordPress will be installed in class for the WordPress 101 class; for WordPress 201, participants should bring their WordPress username and password so they can log into their website.
For more information and to register, contact David Rotter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-233-4243.
Ann Arbor Art Fair Announces Lineup for July 20-22 Event
Directors of the annual Ann Arbor Art Fair announced the arts, music, and entertainment lineups for this year’s event that draws close to half a million attendees to downtown Ann Arbor.
This year, at one of the Midwest’s favorite traditions, guests can visit the booths of the nearly 1,000 participating juried artists, listen to live music from the fair’s three stages, observe onsite art demonstrations, hear from international artists at featured exhibits, participate in art activity zones and frequent Ann Arbor’s diverse community of local businesses.
Every July, downtown Ann Arbor transforms into an outdoor art gallery where artists, art collectors, and art admirers can immerse themselves in the arts. Spanning nearly 30 blocks, the Ann Arbor Art Fair is comprised of three independently juried, nonprofit art fairs that run concurrently: the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original; the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair; and the Ann Arbor State Street Art Fair.
For a complete list of juried artists, visit here.
The Ann Arbor Art Fair is welcoming Feheley Fine Arts, which is bringing a group exhibition celebrating contemporary Canadian Inuit art. Featured artists hail from across the Canadian Arctic from the Inuit regions of Nunavut and Nunatsiavut (Newfoundland and Labrador) and Nunavik (Arctic Quebec). This exhibition, located inside CultureVerse on Main St., includes a diverse range of artwork, from sterling silver teapot sculptures to colored pencil landscape drawings, which explores Inuit ways of making and being in the contemporary moment. Artists Michael Massie and Gayle Uyagaqi Kabloona will be present throughout the exhibition to discuss their work.
The Ann Arbor Art Fair once again is partnering with the Prison Creative Arts Project to bring another exhibition to this year’s fair called “Humanize the Numbers” presented by Michigan Radio. This exhibit, located at the corner of Liberty and Main, presents the perspectives of men in Michigan prisons, lifting up the voices of those who have been silenced by the criminal legal system. Humanize the Numbers reveals the faces and stories of those in prison, as they reclaim their humanity through the freedom not normally allowed in prison.
Guests of this year’s fair can watch local artist and star of HGTV’s “Bargain Block,” Keith Bynum, transform a ModuGo storage container into a work of art on Liberty Street outside of the Pretzel Bell restaurant. He’ll be covering an entire side of the storage container with a painted mystery mural. The finished product will be available for purchase through an online auction after the event and all proceeds will benefit the Ann Arbor Art Fair. Also, fairgoers have the opportunity to purchase art directly from Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas (his partner and other “Bargain Block” star) at their booth on Main Street.
The Toledo Museum of Art will host live glass blowing demonstrations daily at East Washington Street on University of Michigan’s Ingalls Mall. Fairgoers can watch a piece of colorful glass art take shape before their eyes.
For a full lineup of events and entertainers, visit here.
Festa Italiana Brings Italian Heritage to Freedom Hill July 14-16
The Italian American Chamber of Commerce is presenting Festa Italiana at Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights July 14-16.
The free all-ages event celebrates Italian heritage while featuring live music, food, fireworks, and family fun.
This year will feature both national and local entertainment, a Friday night fireworks spectacular, and a family fun zone featuring bounce houses, a zip line, bocce courts, a rock-climbing wall, and more.
Headlining acts on The Lucido Family Stage include The Bronx Wanderers who will deliver a “Back to the Future” performance with ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s rock and roll hits. Ray Massa’s EuroRhythms will be playing traditional Italian folk and Italian swing music. Aaron Caruso will be playing operatic songs while Mark Randisi will be performing Sounds of Sinatra. Guests will also be entertained by Louis Prima Jr. and an array of sounds of Italy throughout the weekend by a variety of performers.
For a full schedule of events, visit here.
Detroit Jazz Festival Announces 2023 Hometown Artists and Performances
Continuing the tradition of featuring artists and performances that reflect the world-class talent and roots of Detroit’s rich jazz heritage, the Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe has announced a roster of hometown artists that will hit the festival stages. The largest free jazz festival in the world runs through Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1-4, in downtown Detroit.
“The stellar roster of hometown artists and performances that will perform at the Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe reflects our unrelenting commitment to propagate and honor Detroit’s jazz culture and diverse world-class talent,” says Chris Collins, president and artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation.
2023 Hometown Artists and Performances:
- Caleb Robinson and Reaching
- Evening Star
- Jesse Palter Quartet
- Joan Belgrave The Oooo Boy Tour
- Kenji Lee’s Fortune Teller Trio: Kyūdō
- Rodney Whitaker Group: Spirituals of John Coltrane
- Russ Miller: Beatitudes
- The Curling League of Belle Isle
- Trunino Lowe Quartet
- The Detroit Piano Tradition Continue
The full festival schedule is available here.