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Innovation & Job News

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Thousands of Michigan students attend region's largest career exploration fair

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Over 9,000 high school students packed the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi on Wednesday, November 28. 

MICareerQuest Southeast, the largest career exploration fair in the region's history, featured over 90 companies showcasing the opportunities available to the area's youth in the healthcare sciences, construction, information technology and manufacturing sectors. 

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Samsung building $62.7 million manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, creating 461 jobs

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A major investment is being made in Auburn Hills. 

Samsung SDI America, which manufactures rechargeable batteries for the automotive industry, is planning to expand its current facility, located at 3201 University Drive, and build a $62.7 million high-volume battery pack manufacturing facility, the first of its kind in The United States. The investment is expected to create 461 jobs by the end of 2024, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

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When drones light up the night, will they replace fireworks?

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In the night sky near Interstate 75 in northern Oakland County, 60 drones moved with precision.

Their preprogrammed electric dance lit the early evening October darkness with a changing, blending palette of red, green and blue as they outlined many forms — a rotating cube, a tornado ripping a roof from a house, a pair of eyes gazing.

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AM General lands $210M in contracts for new military vehicles and services

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AM General, which operates a technology and engineering center in Auburn Hills, announced it has received an order to provide 740 new M1152A1 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) to the U.S. Army National Guard.

The $89-million contract joins a recently awarded five-year contract for Systems Technical Support services for the family of HMMWV with a value of approximately $121 million. The STS services contract will support government task orders for engineering, logistics, and quality assurance projects among other orders.

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Lawrence Tech, Southfield launch new Centrepolis Accelerator

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Lawrence Technological University and the City of Southfield have entered into a formal partnership to launch the Centrepolis Accelerator.

Housed on the campus of LTU, the Centrepolis Accelerator will broaden and replace the small business and entrepreneurial support services provided by the LTU Collaboratory in recent years, leveraging the city’s focus on driving local and regional economic development through Southfield’s Centrepolis SmartZone.

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HoMedics in Commerce Township and New York’s Bluestar Alliance sign $165M agreement under Brookstone

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HoMedics in Commerce Township, a large manufacturer and distributor of personal health, wellness, and relaxation products, and New York’s Bluestar Alliance have announced the signing of a $165-million, five-year license agreement under the Brookstone brand. The license covers a range of massage, massage chair, home environment, and other select product categories.

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Bloomfield Hills-based Sterilogy and Grand Valley students develop system to help reduce infections

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Keeping hands clean and sanitized in hospitals and other medical facilities can be a challenging and inconvenient problem, with caregivers having to go to a sink or sanitizer station between each patient.

Bloomfield Hills-based Sterilogy worked with a group of Grand Valley State University applied Medical Device Institute (aMDI) students to devise a series of devices to address that issue. 

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Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak first in state to offer minimally invasive pediatric epilepsy surgery

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Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak announced it was the first in Michigan to establish a Pediatric Stereo-Electroencephalography (SEEG) Epilepsy Surgery Program.

SEEG is a minimally invasive diagnostic EEG within the skull that pinpoints the source of seizures. It replaces a craniotomy with 2-millimeter holes in the skull, much smaller than the hole necessary for a craniotomy.

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Oakland County Michigan Works! and OCC hosting special panel on value of apprenticeship programs

Oakland County companies interested in building their talent pipeline are invited to attend a special luncheon and panel discussion on how to successfully implement registered apprenticeship programs.

Sponsored by Oakland County Michigan Works! and Oakland Community College, the event is Nov. 13 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at OCC. Companies interested in attending the “Apprenticeship Works” luncheon should contact Therese Geer at OCC, 248-232-4141, or email apprenticeship@oaklandcc.edu.

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson issued a special proclamation to designate the week of Nov. 12-18 as “National Apprenticeship Week in Oakland County.”

“While skilled trades and manufacturing may use the greatest number of apprentices, we’re also seeing significant interest and the launch of apprenticeship programs across other industries, including health care and information technology,” Patterson said. “This panel will discuss what resources are available to businesses through the county’s Michigan Works! offices and OCC, the latest trends in apprenticeships and workforce development.”

The joint Oakland County Michigan Works! and OCC event is part of National Apprenticeship Week. This nationwide celebration highlights the benefits of apprenticeships in preparing a highly skilled workforce to meet the talent needs of employers across a broad range of industries. More than 200,000 people are expected to attend nearly 2,000 events in all 50 states during the week.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Registered Apprenticeships, Michigan has more than 18,500 active apprentices working in nearly 1,300 apprenticeship programs. Nationwide, there are more than 500,000 apprentices. Over the past four years, U.S. companies have added 125,000 new registered apprenticeship programs.

The “Apprenticeships Works” panel will include representatives from OCC, Oakland County Michigan Works!, the Workforce Intelligence Network and Henry Ford Health System, which launched a successful medical assistant apprenticeship program earlier this year in partnership with OCC and Henry Ford College. The apprenticeship program is addressing the significant shortage of medical assistants in Oakland County and across the region.

“With the employment forecast, this apprenticeship program enables Henry Ford Medical Group to train new medical assistants and instill the Henry Ford Health System culture that focuses on each patient first,” said Dawn Robiadek, manager of clinical care services.

Current medical apprentice Rita DeVault said the program benefits her career growth.

“The apprenticeship gives me hands-on training and the opportunity to put my skills into practice while building confidence in a working environment, while earning compensation,” she said. “All this with no student loans or tuition fees.”

Deputy County Executive Timothy Meyer said state data indicates nearly 90 percent of apprentices in various industries are employed after completion of their program with an average annual starting wage of $60,000.

From an employer’s perspective, there are other advantages to launching a registered apprenticeship program, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Among them:
  • Recruitment and development of a highly skilled workforce
  • Improvement in productivity, profitability and a company’s bottom line
  • Creation of flexible, customized training options
  • Standardized training so all workers receive the same national, industry-endorsed training
  • Reduced turnover and liability costs
  • Receipt of tax credits and employee tuition benefits in participating states
“Apprenticeships pay off,” Meyer said. “On average, apprentices earn $300,000 more over the course of their career than other workers. On the flip side, for every dollar spent on an apprenticeship program, employers get back an average of $1.47 in increased productivity.”

Nino Salvaggio looking to fill 200 positions in Bloomfield Township

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Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace is looking to fill 200 positions at their new store in Bloomfield Township.

The store at 6592 Telegraph Road has openings for full and part-time jobs. It's also hiring for seasonal positions. 

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Lake Orion students take part in county Manufacturing Day

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For Teddy Anderson, a junior at Lake Orion High School, seeing what the professionals at Atlas Copco Tools and Assembly Systems do could be a glimpse into his future.

Teddy and 17 of his classmates toured Atlas Copco in Auburn Hills as part of Oakland County’s fourth annual Manufacturing Day on Oct. 5.

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At Scrubbers, dogs and cats are groovin' to the grooming

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Just off the corner of Webster and Woodward in Royal Oak, a steady parade of customers is streaming into Scrubbers, fur babies in tow, all of the latter in need of a good bath.

Dennielle McIver, a Royal Oak MS LPC (Master of Science, Licensed Professional Counselor) just popped in with Happy, an adorable Pomsky puppy that she is training to be an emotional support dog. The Pomeranian/Husky mix, hugging McIver like a baby, is a ball of thick black fur. Today is his first grooming.

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Dentists all smiles over merger

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Scott Meldrum, D.D.S., was looking to slow down.

Glen Maylath, D.D.S., wasn’t actively looking to merge his practice with someone else.

But in June, the long-time friends and colleagues combined their dental practices creating Total Dental Fitness, and so far, it’s working beautifully.

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Troy's Laser Eye Institute the first in Michigan to perform SMILE with astigmatism surgery

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Michigan’s first SMILE with astigmatism laser corrective eye surgery was scheduled at the Laser Eye Institute in Troy. 

Zeiss, a global manufacturer of optical systems and creators of the Laser Eye Institute’s technology, announced on Oct. 5 that SMILE with astigmatism was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The company also announced the successful completion of 1.5 million procedures globally.

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Two high-tech companies move operations, jobs to Oakland County

More than 150 new jobs and nearly $6 million in capital investments are coming to the cities of Auburn Hills and Southfield.

Alpine Electronics of America, Inc. has been making car stereos for decades. Now the Torrance, California-headquartered company is moving closer to the automobile industry.

The manufacturer of high-performance mobile electronics Alpine is moving its headquarters to Auburn Hills. The move puts the company closer to the autonomous vehicle industry, allowing it to develop technology and products for the automakers jointly.

The move will create 100 jobs for the city and generate a total capital investment of $5.1 million. As a result, the state has awarded the company a $650,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Auburn Hills is offering a 50 percent property tax abatement, too.

"This new investment will allow Alpine to continue developing technologies for work in the autonomous vehicle industry," says Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel.

"Our City Council and staff have worked diligently to support this exciting project, and we are looking forward to their continued success."

Also in the news is Danish company Configit, which makes configuration technology for leading manufacturing companies. With offices all over the world, the company is opening an office in Southfield for its U.S.-based software product development team.

The move will create 51 high-tech and administrative jobs and generate a total capital investment of $803,000. As a result, Configit has been awarded a $365,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant, and the city of Southfield plans to expedite the permit process.

"We’re pleased Configit has chosen Southfield as the location for its software product development team in the United States," says Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

"Oakland County is connecting many of its 2,000+ IT companies operating here through our Tech248 initiative and a global company such as Configit fits perfectly into the strategy."

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

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