Lear Buys Connected Vehicle Tech Developer

SOUTHFIELD — The Southfield automotive seating and electronics maker Lear Corp. (NYSE: LEA) said Monday it had acquired Troy-based Arada Systems, a developer of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications technology.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Arada has 45 employees.

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ESD Launches Student Chapter At Lake Superior State

SAULT STE. MARIE — The Engineering Society of Detroit returned to the Upper Peninsula Monday to launch a new student chapter at Lake Superior State University. More than a dozen students attended the event at Lake State’s Cisler Center.

“We want to help you be the very best professional you can be,” said
Robert Magee, ESD executive director. “We will help you with 21st
century soft skills. We will help you be better in an interview. We will help you be better in defining and writing your resume.”

Magee said Lake Superior State will be a “great hub” for ESD in the
eastern Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, “and our
corporate members are very excited to work with you, and to let you meet and shadow our professional members.”

And Dr. David Roland Finley, dean of Lake Superior State’s College of Business and Engineering, told the students that in his professional career, ESD was “the professional society to join.”

Magee told the students that there’s never been a better time to be in engineering.

“The thing that I can guarantee you, because I’ve seen it in my short time at ESD, is that if you finish your degree in engineering, you will get a job,” Magee said. “And right now the average starting salary for
engineering professionals is about $64,000. And today’s engineer is not that geeky guy with no communication skills. Today’s engineer has a sharp mind for problem solving.”

But Magee said working with a professional organization like ESD can give students a major advantage in their job search.

“Companies are looking for students right out of school who are ready to do real engineering work,” he said. “So it’s very important that you do some internships, do some co-ops so you get practical experience that moves you to the front of the line for hiring.”

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Grandville Hosting State’s Largest Vex Robotics Tourney

GRANDVILLE — More than 800 leading middle and high school VEX Robotics students from across Michigan will come together on Saturday, Dec. 5 to compete at the largest VEX qualifying tournament in the state of Michigan.

The action-packed tournament, being held at Grandville High School, will feature more than 96 teams who will compete with and against other schools in a series of back-to-back robot challenges.

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Truven Health Analytics-NPR Poll Finds More Getting Flu Shot

ANN ARBOR — More Americans have either already received a flu shot or plan to get one this year than those who received the vaccination a year ago, according to a new poll from NPR and the Ann Arbor healthcare information firm Truven Health Analytics.

Truven and NPR conduct a bimonthly poll to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of health issues.

Continue reading Truven Health Analytics-NPR Poll Finds More Getting Flu Shot

State Aid OKd For 258 New Jobs; RFP Issued For Travel Website Redesign

LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval of business expansions, community improvement projects and a Request for Proposals for the redesign of the official Travel Michigan website, Michigan.org.

The projects are expected to generate nearly $120.6 million in new investments and create 258 jobs in Michigan.

In addition, MSF approved a revised tax break agreement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that encourages the company to invest an additional $1 billion in Michigan while capping the state’s liability on previously authorized tax credits.

To view a video on today’s projects, visit this link.

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved the following items:

* The MSF approved a revised agreement with Chrysler Group LLC, now known as FCA US LLC, which caps the state’s liability for previously authorized job retention tax credits and provides incentives for FCA US to invest an additional $1 billion in Michigan in the future. The MSF resolution, approved today, reduces the term of the Global MEGA Tax Credit by two years, sets annual limits on the tax credit value that may be claimed in a given year, and provides stability and predictability for the timing of payments for annual Global MEGA tax credits throughout the life of the tax credit. As part of the agreement, the company will provide periodic forecasts of its estimated tax credits to the state to assist the MSF and state of Michigan in budget planning. Media reports say the amendment caps the state’s liability under the tax break to about $1.9 billion through 2029.

* Rivian Automotive LLC received a $1.77 million performance-based grant under the MIchigan Business Development Program to establish a research and development center in Dearborn, investing nearly $29.5 million and creating 174 jobs. The company, which is focused on creating software to be used in next-generation vehicle design, chose Dearborn over competing sites in California and Florida. The city of Dearborn has offered support to the project in the form of property tax abatement. Individuals interested in career opportunities with Rivian should visit http://www.rivian.com.

* The Romulus Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received approval of $1,283,181 in local and school tax capture for non-environmental activities associated with an expansion at Packaging Specialties Inc. PackSpec is at capacity due to rapid growth and plans to renovate a building near its current location to consolidate operations under one roof. The project will generate a total capital investment of $5.6 million and create 50 jobs within the first two years, with an additional 20 jobs added within 10 years. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Ohio. The tax capture will assist with lead and asbestos abatement activities and substantial exterior and interior demolition costs, as well as demolition costs related to upgrades to heating, electrical and plumbing. The city of Romulus has an Industrial Facilities Tax abatement agreement with the developer which will cap the actual local and school tax capture at $700,000. The project is also requesting $86,175 in tax increment financing for environmental activities from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

* The city of Alpena has been awarded $891,591 in Community Development Block Grant funds for façade improvements needed for the Alpena Furniture and Flooring building and the Olde Owl restaurant in downtown Alpena. This funding will be part of a façade and housing grant agreement totaling $1,291,591, comprised of $891,591 from the MSF and $400,000 from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Alpena Furniture and Flooring is a long-standing retail operation in the city. The building will undergo historic renovations and interior improvements that will create 10 residential apartments in the building. The Olde Owl restaurant is also a longtime stakeholder in the city. The new owner plans to make major renovations to both the exterior and interior of the restaurant. The two projects are expected to generate a total private investment of more than $1 million.

* NOMI Developers LLC plans to rehabilitate and repurpose a distressed industrial building in the River’s Edge district located between the Kalamazoo River and downtown Kalamazoo. The completed project will consist of a mixed-use development with restaurant space and 47 residential units. The project will generate a total capital investment of nearly $4.5 million and create five full-time jobs, resulting in a $665,000 Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant. In addition, the Kalamazoo Brownfield Redevelopment Authority has received approval of $605,000 in local and school tax capture to alleviate brownfield conditions at the site and prepare it for development. The city of Kalamazoo is also providing a $250,000 loan from its Economic Initiative Fund.

* The Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received approval of $25,195,280 in local and school tax capture for the SkyVue on Michigan project in Lansing. The project will redevelop a former auto dealership on East Michigan Avenue into a viable, mixed-use development with 341 market-rate apartments, commercial space and a multi-level parking structure. The tax capture will alleviate brownfield conditions at the site and make it suitable for redevelopment. The project will be undertaken by Lansing Properties I, LLC and will generate a total capital investment of $80 million and create nine full-time jobs.

Also, the MEDC and Travel Michigan are seeking to re-launch the RFP bid for the rebuild of the Travel Michigan website, http://www.michigan.org, that the Michigan Strategic Fund board originally approved in March 2015. The purpose for the Request for Proposals was to locate a web design and development organization with a proven record of creating custom web solutions.

The new RFP timelines are as follows:
* Technical and price proposals must be submitted to the MSF electronically to contractsandgrants@michigan.org by Monday, Dec. 28 at 3 p.m. Proposals will not be accepted via U.S. mail or any other delivery method.
* Prospective bidders may submit questions regarding the RFP via email by Wednesday, Dec. 2 by 3 p.m. to contractsandgrants@michigan.org. The MSF will not respond to questions that are not received by this date and time. In addition, questions that are phoned, faxed or sent through regular mail will not be accepted.
* Responses to all qualifying questions will be posted on Monday, Dec. 7, by close of business at http://www.michiganbusiness.org/public-notices-rfps.

Additional details about the RFP will be announced later this week, and the full RFP will be available at http://www.michiganbusiness.org/public-notices-rfps.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit michiganbusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org. Michigan residents interested in seeking employment with any of Michigan’s growing companies should check mitalent.org, where more than 98,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.

WIN Report Shows Strong Job Gains In SE Michigan

DETROIT — Southeast Michigan employment levels continued to rise in the third quarter, according to the latest labor market report compiled by the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan.

The WIN report showed 15,000 people got jobs in the third quarter, and now 38,205 more people are working in the region than in the third quarter of 2014.

WIN said that through the first nine months of the year, 2015 is on track to have the region’s highest recorded employment since 2008. With more than 137,000 online job ads in the third quarter of 2015, postings also have reached another all-time high, substantially exceeding previous peaks.

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UM Jobs Forecast: Manufacturing Cools; Tech, Services Boom

ANN ARBOR — Michigan will see another two years of job growth, though not at the breakneck pace of late 2014 and early 2015, according to the latest economic forecast from the University of Michigan’s Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics.

Job growth is forecast to remain at an average rate of 1.4 percent through the third quarter of 2016, rising to 1.5 percent during the first half of 2017, and averaging 1.6 percent in teh first half of 2017, before trending downward in the second half of 2017.

That translates into 84,000 new Michigan jobs for all of 2015, 61,100 in 2016, and 64,800 in 2017, UM economists said.

Continue reading UM Jobs Forecast: Manufacturing Cools; Tech, Services Boom

Lansing’s LEAP Brings Back Youth Startup Challenge

LANSING — Calling all student entrepreneurs and innovators — the Lansing Economic Area Partnership has started its Third Annual Lansing Youth Startup Challenge.

LEAP has partnered with 5 Minutes Tops, a “Shark Tank”-like student business idea competition, to offer local “prep” competitions to student entrepreneurs looking to refine their ideas in an effort to compete at the Lansing Youth Startup Expo, which is scheduled for March 25 at the Lansing Center.

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AT&T Speeds Up Service In Central, Northern Lower Michigan

DETROIT — AT&T Inc. said it had added a new cell tower to its 4G LTE network in Mount Pleasant to give customers faster, more reliable wireless service.

The change will help customers get the most out of their mobile devices. With 4G LTE service, they should see better service when they’re watching videos, posting to social media or texting family and friends.

AT&T also said it had added new 4G LTE service to Thompson’s Harbor State Park in Posen is getting new 4G LTE service, while Grand Traverse State Park in Traverse City received additional capacity, making the cell site stronger in order to handle more traffic, resulting in faster speeds and more reliable service.

The upgrades at the state parks are among a total of six sites within Grand Traverse, Presque Isle, Mecosta and Cheboygan counties.

The improvements were made in the vicinity of the following cities:

* Big Rapids: south of Milton Road, east of North Fourth Avenue
* Cheboygan (two sites): near south Huron and Mill streets and near Old Mackinaw and Nipigon roads
* Garfield Township: Hartman Road, east of US-31
* Posen: Thompson’s Harbor State Park, south of US-23 and east of M-65, near Grand Lake Highway, and along Clinton Creek Road
* Traverse City: Grand Traverse City State Park, along Parsons Road, south of US-31

Over the last 6 years, 2009 to 2014, AT&T invested nearly $140 billion including investments in its wireless and wireline networks and acquisitions of wireless spectrum and operations — more in the United States than any other public company.

M2 TechCast Features Security, Rocket Fiber, App Camp

SOUTHFIELD — What holiday week slowdown? The M2 TechCast is back today for another Monday — and this episode features a stellar guest lineup that promises to make it the best TechCast yet!

Join hosts Matt Roush and Mike Brennan as they peruse tech and engineering topics far and wide with these guests…

3 – 3:15 pm – Security experts Dan Lohrmann and Richard Stiennon introduce a new TechCast feature, a monthly cybersecurity update. Stiennon, a longtime Detroit-area security expert, will be in the studio, while Lohrmann, a former state cybersecurity chief who is now CSO at Security Mentor Inc. in Grand Ledge, will be calling in.

3:15 to 3:30 — Lohrmann and Stiennon will stick around with Roush and Brennan, talking about the state of cybersecurity in Michigan with Michigan’s chief information security officer.

3:30 to 3:45 — Brennan and Roush will interview Rocket Fiber co-founder Randy Foster about the new Rocket $70-a-month gigabit internet service in downtown and midtown Detroit.

3:45 to 4 pm – Longtime tech entrepreneur, and now executive director of the Michigan Small Business Development Centers, Keith Brophy, and Linda Daichendt, executive director of the Mobile Technology Association fo Michigan, will talk about Mobile App Boot Camp, coming up Dec. 3 at Automation Alley in Troy.

Listen live to the M2 TechCast from 3 to 4 p.m. Mondays at http://www.podcastdetroit.com. Edited versions of the podcast area available by Wednesday of each week at the same site, or at http://www.soundcloud.com.

Roush is director of communications and public relations at The Engineering Society of Detroit, while Brennan is owner of Michigan Technology News, a tech news outlet, at http://www.mitechnews.com.