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Hatching contestant pitches Mini Maker Space

With the introduction of various Maker spaces in the area, inventors and creatives are getting more opportunities to bring their ideas to life. But, with all these opportunities, Melissa Rabideau Allen noticed a particular group that was being left out. “Kids are pretty much geniuses,” says Rabideau, “but their creativity isn’t always harnessed.”

As part of the team that brought us The Poochie Bowl, Rabideau presented her idea for a Mini Maker Space at last months’ Hatching and brought home the grand prize. The space will be open to kids ages 4-12, but Rabideau says they won’t exclude those older or younger that would like to participate. “A lot of the time kids have ideas, they just don’t know how to make them happen,” says Rabideau. 

The space will have hands on tools, technology and other inventors available to them that can help with the logistics of their idea. They will have access to 3D printers and scanners, motors, circuits and anything else that will help them take an idea and turn it into a product. 

The Mini Maker Space will have a flagship store in the Meridian Mall and will look to other Maker Spaces to connect with them. They expect to hire at least 10-12 people within the next 6-12 months. 

Source: Melissa Rabideau Allen, Founder
Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

LEAP launches foreign investment program, welcomes new companies, jobs, to the area

As manager of business attraction for the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), David Olson is currently in Italy as a part of the newly launched Direct Foreign Investment Attraction Program. Here, he will spend three weeks connecting with businesses and firms interested in expanding and bringing new business and jobs to the region. 

Many other regions in the state have had great success with programs like this over the last few decades and Bob Trezise, President and CEO of LEAP, is happy that it’s happening here. “We are very excited that with David Olson’s leadership and a very targeted and smart approach, the time is right for us to be able to attract investment in Lansing.” 

There are many reasons the time seems to be right for Lansing to launch a program like this one one of the biggest being that, for the first time in a long time, Lansing has a story to tell. “We really are a great place to invest,” says Trezise, “we are a fired up, emerging, global economy.” 

And while it may take a few years for the program to have maximum effect, it has already landed a few contracts with smaller plants, a typical starting point. These contracts will bring at least 5 jobs to the area and are just a jumping off point. 

Source: Bob Trezise, President and CEO, LEAP
Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

Prima Civitas, Maker's Coalition push for re-growth of the cut and sew industry

Prima Civitas is working with the Maker’s Coalition to re-establish an industry that has been brought back to Lansing’s attention through the establishment of The Runway Fashion Incubator; the Cut and Sew Industry. While the incubator has sewing machines that will take a design from prototype to product, this industry is much more than clothes. 

The Cut and Sew Industry can include awnings, tarps, clothing, boat covers, leather goods and much more. But whatever they produce, they need human hands to create it. And, in many of the companies in this industry, those human hands are about to retire. Prima Civitas and the Maker’s Coalition want to work with community colleges to provide the training one would need to enter the growing industry. “We want to couple the curriculum with a workforce development program,” says Prima Civitas CEO, Arnold Weinfeld, “Hopefully to get people on the job and re-establish the industry in Michigan.”

The program has already been initiated in Southeast Michigan but they see Lansing as a great future city. They are looking to establish a program of six months or less that would teach sewing techniques, preparing people for a career with good wages and bright future. 

Source: Arnold Weinfeld, Prima Civitas 
Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program makes funds available for job training

The Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program, approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund, will give Michigan community colleges access to $50 million to provide job training in high-wage, high and middle skill, and high-demand occupations. The money will allow them to purchase the equipment needed to provide training in trade and skills positions. 

According to Amy Cell, Senior Vice President of Talent Enhancement at Michigan Economic Development Cooperation, there is a skills gap between those looking for work and the 89,000 jobs available. A third of those jobs are in that mid-level range where the skills and certification needed to fill them are somewhere between a high school diploma and a four-year degree, “So partnering with the community colleges made a lot of sense.”  

Providing this training becomes difficult when the equipment needed is expensive and always changing. The funds will provide them with the equipment needed to provide the training to enter a skilled trade occupation. 

“By investing in the jobs pipeline, we will attract new businesses and retain existing ones. It makes Michigan attractive to companies and entrepreneurs,” says Cell. 

There will also be the added benefit of collaboration between colleges and developers as they work on the application process and decide what occupations should benefit from the program. 

Source: Amy Cell, MEDC
?Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

"Launch Your City" initiative builds brand awareness and presence for local businesses

The “Launch You City” initiative, a partnership between the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC) and Google, is designed to help local businesses expand their Google listing. 

The free initiative offers kits and services that will allow businesses to make sure they are getting the most out of a Google listing. All the business has to do is go to GYBO.com/Business and click “Find Your Business.” They will then be able to see their Google ranking, add their business if it’s not there, or update their information. Many businesses forget to update their Google listing and that can result in lost business. Google can help your business get discovered locally and globally. “The Google platform is functional and dynamic,” says Michelle Rahl, Director of Marketing & Events at the LRCC, “But you have to be on it to be found.” 

“Businesses who are online, grow at a much faster rate than others,” adds Rahl. The initiative gives them the opportunity for brand awareness and growth and gives them the chance to get their name out there. 

The “Launch Your City” kits, that include posters, email templates, social media copy and more, will be distributed to partners in; Lansing, East Lansing, DeWitt, Grand Ledge, Charlotte, Williamston, Mason, Eaton Rapids, St. Johns and Delta, Delhi and Meridian Townships. 

Source: Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce
Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

Simple Recycling adds new features to existing recycling programs

Many cities, including Lansing and East Lansing, have recycling programs in place. But, despite the ease with which residents can recycle, there is still a huge amount of material getting thrown in the trash. Traditional curb side recycling programs don’t take materials such as clothing, housewares, tools, kitchenware, etc. Simple Recycling does. 

Because these materials can’t be recycled and because it’s often time consuming to take them to Goodwill, they often end up getting thrown away. Simple Recycling is introducing a new, free, program that will take care of these materials. “Most people just want this stuff out of their house,” says Adam Winfield, President of Simple Recycling, “and 85 percent of it ends up in the trash.” 

Simple Recycling’s program will follow the already existing programs in Lansing and East Lansing and they will provide residents with Green bags to store the items. Then, all they have to do is set the bag by the curb to be picked up. “It’s a new concept applied to an old category,” says Winfield. And he also adds that it will not cost the city or the residents a dime. 

The program will launch in November and they will need to hire at least five drivers and office and support staff. “We are the only company in this area offering this service.” 

Source: Adam Winfield, President, Simple Recycling
Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

Mid-Michigan Talent Connection educates, assists job seekers and employers

This year’s Mid-Michigan Talent Connection was held on Sept. 11, and while it is in its 5th year, it’s the first since its rebranding. The networking event used to be called “Pinkslip” but due to the negative connotation it was changed. “We wanted to give it a name that said what it is,” says Amanda Dumond, Director of Talent Initiatives at Prima Civitas.

Dumond says there are a lot of employers, small and large that are struggling with filling positions, and a lot of people looking for jobs. The problem arises when many job seekers can’t get past the electronic systems many companies use for employment. To solve that, Dumond says, “We wanted to have a face to face format that didn’t rely on electronic systems.” 

The event offered more than simple networking opportunities. Job seekers learned how to craft a resume, present themselves, follow up after an interview, change their job search strategy and more. The most powerful event, according to Dumond, was the Ask a Recruiter Panel. “There was a lot of back and forth dialogue.”

Another unique aspect was the fact that the event was organized by interns working with the MEDC’s Michigan Shifting Gears program. At the end of the day, many employers were interested in gathering their information. 

The event brought in talent from across the state. 

Source: Amanda Dumond, Director, Talent Initiatives, Prima Civitas
Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

Sparrow Medical Group VOA Practice treats area homeless

Since the Sparrow Medical Group VOA practice launched six months ago, serving the area’s homeless, they have averaged over 100 visits per week. 

“The way we provide care is very innovative,” says Patrick Patterson, the physician on staff, “But we are really just touching the tip of the iceberg.” It takes a lot, he added, to set a route to good health in the homeless community. 

They look to help in four areas; medical and mental health, stability, and a place to live/source of income. To help in these areas, the clinic brings together 14 different programs that help with a variety of different conditions. Mental health, addiction, and many disabling conditions are often problems that many homeless can’t get treated for. When they can’t get treatment, they are are unable to work. 

“The most rapid place for innovation is the healthcare system,” says Patterson. By cutting down the number of ER visits and ambulance calls, costs can be lowered all across the community. When someone is kept out of the hospital, the bill isn’t generated and the cost to the taxpayer is lower. When people have decent healthcare, says Patterson, “it’s not always a calamity.” 

The program has also created eight jobs and Patterson says they are just getting started. 

Source: Patrick Patterson, Volunteers of America
?Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

ELPL 2.0 Maker Studio to open and encourage community creativity

While many thought libraries were on their way out with the invention of the internet, and then again with the appearance of e-books, they are simply, according to the director of the East Lansing Public Library (ELPL) Kristin Shelley, finding ways to reinvent themselves. One of those reinventions will premiere on October 1st with the grand opening of the ELPL 2.0 Maker Studio. 

Only the second of its kind in the area, Detroit being the closest, the Studio will offer a space that provides the public somewhere to create and share ideas. There will be a 3D printer, recording equipment, design supplies, sewing machines, bike repair facilities, and much more.The public can cut an album, design a brochure, or produce a podcast.  

This reinvention of the library, says Shelley, “gives people the opportunity to create the information. Instead of people just consuming our materials, they can create it themselves.” It’s taking the library beyond books and story time and Shelley is excited that the public will be able to choose the direction they want the space to go. 

There will also be a community loom that will represent the community weaving together. 

The space is possible due to the fundraising efforts of the library and also because of an anonymous donor. 

Source: Kristin Shelley, Director ELPL
Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

Mahabir Spa introduces new skin care line, offers "whole approach"

Gita Mahabir has always loved making others feel good about themselves. Cosmetology didn’t take her passion far enough so she got her Masters in counseling and focused on combining her desire to treat outside as well as inside beauty. 

She has taken that concept and opened the Mahabir Spa in Lansing, and introduced a new skin care line. The spa focuses on a “whole approach.”  It opened on September 10th and takes a unique approach on beauty. “Even if you look fabulous,” says Mahabir, “If you’re not feeling fabulous, I didn’t do my job.” Those that come to the spa of course get typical spa treatments but she also asks how she can make customers feel better about themselves. 

Mahabir will be offering a webinar on how taking care of yourself and your skin can help your self-esteem overall. “It’s a step by step process, but I would eventually like to be seen as an educator.” 

Her brand new, unique skin care line, sold in the spa and online, is medical grade and different because of it’s small molecules that are able to sink to a second layer of skin. It also has peptides that put collagen back into the skin. The unique, feathery   cream, complete with Amino Acids, protects and repairs the skin at a cellular level.

Source: Gita Mahabir, Mahabir Spa
Writer: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

EduSTEM offers job training to a very specific audience

EduSTEM is reaching out to a group that may normally have a hard time gaining skills for meaningful employment. 

They provide assessment and computer training for individuals with high functioning autism (HFA) to allow them to find careers in software testing and development. 

Many may not be aware that the traits that many HFA individuals display (extreme focus and highly analytical minds) are the same traits that many IT companies are looking for in new hires. EduSTEM offers basic, intermediate  and advanced computer language programming to help them land jobs as software engineers or in data quality assurance. “Those that leave our company find pretty easy employment in the surrounding areas,” says Jeremiah Orians, Chief Technical Officer. 

The companies’ ultimate goal is to establish an infrastructure of smart, capable individuals with at least a moderate level of creativity. Orians says innovation is ultimately about using risk and accepting it as the cost of going business. And they hope that any risk they may be taking pays off, “By the number of people we have working, hopefully one of them will be the next Facebook or Google.” 

They are currently working with at least a dozen students they expect to graduate in the next year. “And at least of few of them,” says Orians, “have shown great potential to be employed.” 

Source: Jeremiah Orians, EduSTEM
Writer: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

Life Saving Technology introduced to Tri-County ambulances

In America, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. Every minute someone dies from the same ailment. Every second counts when a patient in cardiac arrest is en route to the hospital. “The quicker we can get those arteries open, the better,” says John Dery, Sparrow's Associate Director of Critical Care Transport and EMS, “But the systems we have now take a lot of time.” 

Funded through a partnership between Sparrow and McLaren Greater Lansing, the wireless LIFENET system allows first responders to send patient information and ECG readings from the field to the hospital. This allows the hospital to prepare for the patient, helps reduce time to treatment and improves efficiency. 

All the ambulances in the Tri-Country area have been outfitted with this technology, a major benefit to those who may not live close to a hospital or medical facility. “They are getting state of the art care, rather than being sent to a small facility that can’t treat them,” says Dery. 

With the introduction of this technology and the growth opportunities it will present, qualified people with a knowledge of technology will need to be hired. The opportunities this, and all future technology that spins from it, present are limitless. Dery says, “Integrating technology into medicine is a huge opportunity.” 

Source: John Dery, Sparrow
Writer: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

Uber comes to Lansing, changes transporation, creates jobs

Mayor Bernero was one of the first to utilize the newest mode of transportation to come to Lansing, Uber Car Service. An innovative way to catch a ride, users communicate to drivers through an app on their phone and even pay via credit card so no cash changes hands.

Lauren Altmin, a spokesperson for Uber says, "We want to change the way people connect with their cities and transportation."

Altmin says they were eager to come to Lansing as there was a high demand. They'd had many customers requesting a presence in Lansing through their app. And, she adds, "Lansing is an area that attracts a lot of innovative opportunities."  And Uber Ride Share is just that. The service available in Lansing, Uber X, is an affordable alternative to a Taxi Service.

Uber Partners, those doing the driving, essentially build their own small business, a small business that can create a decent income. Across the country, the Uber Platform is creating 20,000 jobs a month and while that may vary in Lansing, Uber is always looking for people who want to earn additional income.

Now they are focused on the future; on finding more users, drivers, and expanding their services. Altmin says they are looking forward to seeing it evolve. 

Source: Lauren Altmin; Spokesperson, Uber Ride Share
Writer: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

Lightspeed Communications brings fast, affordable internet, jobs to Lansing

Lightspeed Communication's mission is to bring 1 and 10 gig speed internet into homes at an affordable price. Lightspeed is an internet provider that is building a brand new fiber optic network in cities around Michigan, starting in Lansing. "The internet is where most people get their media and information," says Jason Schreiber, CEO of Lightspeed. They want to make it practical and affordable.  

They are making a significant investment in Lansing and according to Schreiber, "No other carriers have made a move to make an investment in the state." The investment will lead to significant job creation and growth in Lansing. Lightspeed has recently hired 6 people to their construction team and as they prepare to build the fiber optic network they will need to hire even more.

 As they continue to grow and expand to other cities they will also need to add to other departments including marketing and IT. They expect to hire over 50 people in the next six months to a year as they make a move into other cities within the next year.

Schreiber says the response to the service has been overwhelming, signing up 1500 hundred homes in their first 6 weeks. "There is a tremendous need for this service in the area."

Source: Jason Schreiber, CEO Lightspeed Communications
Writer: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

LCC Program teaches adults valuable, workplace skills

Lansing Community College is close to wrapping up a month long program meant to help adult students prepare for a better college experience and also better prepare them for the workplace.

LCC's Gateway to Success Adult Boot Camp, taking place until August 6th, is preparing adults that have been out of the workforce or education system to go back to school. They've brought in employers to help with the program who are interested in different strengths from different generations. Cathy Wilhm, Director, Center for Workforce Transition at Lansing Community College, says, "Education isn't just about learning skills, but also learning what employers are looking for."  Having particular skills may be useless if your potential  employer needs you to work with a team and you never have, "We are creating well-rounded employees," says Wilhm.

After completing assessments to identify possible career paths, students meet with program advisors to set goals. They will take courses related to those fields and also in Microsoft and Internet Basics. There will also be one-on-one learning sessions.

To help with the program, 6 faculty members were brought in and some of those were hired specifically for the program. "We have a ton of people that want in," says Cathy of the growth opportunities for next year. "We will continue to identify opportunities and meet employer demands."
Source: Cathy Wilhm, Director, Center for Workforce Transition at Lansing Community College
?Writer: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor
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