The Michigan Senate recently passed legislation that would make Flint a Promise Zone.
Promise Zones are defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as high-poverty areas where the federal government will invest in or establish partnerships to leverage private investment, reduce violent crime, increase economic activity, expand educational opportunities, and create jobs.
Promise Zones must complete an application process and demonstrate local commitment to a set of outcomes...
State Rep. Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) recently introduced a bill that would create career training programs throughout the state.
The programs would be age appropriate and would encourage the involvement of parents, local businesses, and industry.
“Students of every grade have different interests, so it makes sense to diversify education toward the benefit of those interests,” Rendon said. “Using locally based instruction, we can develop their education that will lead to a bright future.”
The Michigan Senate recently passed a bill that addresses tax relief for first responders.
The bill applies to police and firefighters who were born after 1952 and retired before 2013 and brings their tax structure in line with retirees covered by Social Security. Those eligible would receive an increased tax deduction for retirement or pension benefits that were not covered by Social Security.
The deduction only applies to government employment. This includes service in the armed forces or M...
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) recently provided more than $160 million in loans to 10 cities and utilities for municipal water and sewer projects.
Of the total, $46.7 million will be targeted for principal loan forgiveness for projects that meet affordability criteria or employ green practices.
There is an $800 million annual gap in funding water-related infrastructure needs, according to a report prepared for Gov. Rick Snyder.
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund an...
Credit union leaders from throughout the state recently traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with the state’s members of Congress to discuss issues pertaining to the industry.
The advocacy event was the Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates (MCUL) annual Hike the Hill.
“When credit-union leaders engage on our issues, policymakers listen,” MCUL CEO Dave Adams said. “We helped reinforce the importance, and value, of maintaining the credit union not-for-profit tax status to Michigan’s 5 milli...
The University of Michigan-Dearborn, in collaboration with the Beaumont Center for Exceptional Families, recently opened the Beaumont Exceptional Families Autism Center, which will provide specialized training to behavior technicians and behavior analysts and to educators from the university.
In addition, the center will offer a preschool program, autism medical diagnosis, social work, and occupational, physical and speech therapies. It is equipped to provide treatment for students ages 1 thr...
The state House advanced legislation Wednesday that offers tax-dispute resolution with the Michigan Treasury.
Under the bill, Michigan taxpayers can avoid a court appearance by using a meeting to submit written statements. The conference must be agreed on by both the taxpayer and the treasury.
The treasury must inform taxpayers in writing of any taxes owed. If the tax dispute is not settled within 30 days, the Treasury will again send a letter. The letter will contain information on how to sc...
State Rep. Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) recently introduced a bill that would provide college students with detailed information on student loans.
Under the bill, all higher-education institutions would be required to provide students with federal student-loan information beginning in the 2018-19 academic year. The information must be provided in writing and include the amount of the loan, the payoff amount, monthly payments, and the percentage of the borrowing limit that the student has reached....
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded Michigan’s specialty crop growers $1.8 million in Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds.
Specialty crops include not only fruits and vegetables but also flowers, nursery plants, and tree nuts.
The funds will be used for 19 projects with the goal of exposing Michigan’s specialty crops to new markets.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s International Marketing Program is working in conjunction with the Mich...
The West Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) recently named Ed Garner its regional director.
He will be responsible for resource development, coordination, and management at the West Michigan regional office.
Garner began working for the SBDC last month. He previously served as president and CEO of economic development corporation Muskegon Area First.
In addition to a master’s degree in business administration, Garner graduated from Leadership West Michigan, Grand Haven Leadersh...
Career and technical education programs in Michigan high schools have increased enrollment by 5,000 students over the past two years.
This year, enrollment is 109,005 students. Grades 11 and 12 are the most common years of enrollment. Enrollment in these grade levels increased to 3,144 students, 34 percent of the state’s high schoolers.
Roger Curtis, talent and economic development department director, said enrollment in the programs is an encouraging sign that Michigan will have a diverse an...
The University of Michigan recently launched an initiative to find personalized solutions to improve patients’ health and wellness.
The initiative is part of Precision Health, a group of researchers from throughout the university, and will combine genomic research with big data. It is supported by 19 of the university’s schools and colleges, including the medical school and the school of public health, as well as the Institute for Social Research and Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innova...
State of Michigan recently announced the launch of the Project SEARCH program, designed to assist high school students with disabilities prepare for careers.
Students enrolled in the program receive a one-year internship that provides them with workplace training and experience that will be beneficial in gaining employment after graduation.
“Project SEARCH is a program that helps our young people learn new skills and intern in partner businesses,” Scott Koenigsknect, Ingham Intermediate Schoo...
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) recently announced that $23.2 million in Community Development Block Grant Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement grants were awarded to 14 Michigan cities and villages.
“Improving and updating infrastructure is vital to the continued health and economic well-being of our smaller communities,” MEDC CEO Jeff Mason said. “The Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement grants will allow these communities with the most immediate needs to begin work as soon as ...
Four Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) projects recently received the President’s Transportation Award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
The I-96/US-23 interchange reconstruction project in Livingston County won in the highways category. Six bridges received deck replacements, three new bridges were built, and four new through-lanes for traffic not exiting at US-23 were added.
The I-75 Conservation Plan team in Monroe County won t...