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Heartside : West Michigan In The News

353 Heartside Articles | Page: | Show All

Literacy Center's success draws national spotlight

In Grand Rapids, 20 percent of residents are illiterate, and the methods of one organization to use grants and community volunteers to cut illiteracy in half in the next decade is changing the social landscape and attracting national attention.

According to excerpts from the story:

In Grand Rapids, community participation is the key. In a recent training session, a group of 50 volunteers trained to become tutors to help those who have difficulty reading and writing.

So far nearly 300 residents have volunteered their time to teach, and the program has helped more than 1,000 people in the last four years.

Read the complete story and view the video reports here.


State's natural resources worth $1.6B annually study says

Efforts to undertake the enormous, and somewhat intangible, task of assessing the state's green infrastructure, its monetary worth, and its value as a quality of life amenity that appeals to talented professionals are detailed in a recent study that values Michigan's environmental attributes at $1.6 billion annually.

According to excerpts from the story:

West Michigan's abundant natural resources -- forests, sand dunes, wetlands and water -- provide a variety of benefits that are worth at least $1.6 billion annually, according to a new study.

Putting a dollar figure on nature, also known as green infrastructure, is a tricky business, technically and philosophically. But the study, by the West Michigan Strategic Alliance, sought to demonstrate that nature is valuable and that damaging it comes at a price.

Read the complete story here.

Partnership leads to online resource for West Michigan Tech Jobs listings

West Michigan businesses continue to face the challenge of finding qualified high-tech professionals to fill job openings and lead development teams. But that could change after two influential online technology resources have combined forces to establish a comprehensive jobs list connecting employers with the talent they seek.

According to excerpts from the story:

If you're looking to find a tech job in the Great Lakes region, or you're an employer looking to find the right technology professional, MITechNews.Com has the solution for you. We've just launched our new Tech Job section with partner CareerBuilder.

“We’re excited to offer this service to our technology audience particularly in these tough economic times,” said Editor & Publisher Mike Brennan. “There are a lot of tech jobs begging to be filled in the state and I know there are a lot of IT pros looking for better positions.

Read the complete story here.


Aquinas recruits star athlete to spearhead sports center campaign

Aquinas College wants to add a sports and fitness center to the campus, and they've brought home one of Grand Rapids' most famous athletes to lead the capital campaign and increase the college's endowment fund. It doesn't hurt that he's also an experienced director of planned giving for one of the state's largest universities.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS -- After setting two world and 10 national road-racing records, and helping the University of Michigan raise more than $125 million, Grand Rapids native and marathon runner Greg Meyer has shown he's the kind of guy who gets things done.

Aquinas College administrators are hoping Meyer's experience and skills will come in handy as he leads the college's upcoming $11 million capital campaign for a proposed sports and fitness center. He is to begin March 1.

As the new associate vice president for institutional advancement, Meyer also will be in charge of increasing Aquinas' $28 million endowment — among the lowest of comparable colleges in the area.

Read the complete story here.

Entrepreneurship 101 a growing trend, colleges say

As Michigan's need for creative, innovative thinkers continues to grow, a majority of the state's colleges and universities are transforming their curriculum programs to focus on entrepreneurism, from retraining factory workers to helping small businesses grow. A recent report shows that some schools are working to foster an entrepreneurial mindset beginning in elementary school.

According to excerpts from the story:

LANSING - The old ways of educating students to get them ready to be good worker bees in factories and offices is rapidly changing in Michigan, a new report shows. Some 82 percent of postsecondary institutions in the state are now offering courses to train the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The Michigan Entrepreneurship Education Benchmarking Report was issued by the Small Business Foundation of Michigan’s Michigan Entrepreneurship Education Network.

Read the complete story here.


Economic leaders target talent growth

West Michigan's business leaders find it increasingly difficult to find the talent they need to spur business growth and fuel Michigan's economic recovery, but a new coalition of economic development corporations has a plan to change all that.

According to excerpts from the story:

Economic development organizations and chambers of commerce realize attracting and retaining talent is critical, and they aim to help businesses in West Michigan do something about it.

The Right Place is joining forces with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Lakeshore Advantage, the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce, Southwest Michigan First and The Employers Association to attack the problem, promote the area and bring in and keep those coveted workers.

Read the complete story here.


Cascade manufacturer evolves into wind energy

As Michigan sits on the cusp of what researchers and business leaders say is a new energy economy, one West Michigan manufacturer is ahead of the curve and already ramping up for production.

According to excerpts from the story:

Cascade Engineering believes it knows which way the wind is blowing — toward a growing market for products that help conserve energy or generate it from sustainable, clean sources such as wind and solar.

Early this summer, probably in June, the plastic products manufacturing company will begin production of blades and rotors for the Swift Rooftop Wind Energy System, which has been produced in Scotland for almost five years. Other components of the Swift electrical generator turbine will be shipped to Cascade Engineering, which will assemble the complete turbine and serve as exclusive distributor of it throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Read the complete story here.

Marketing firm moves from burbs to downtown Grand Rapids

The revitalization of Grand Rapids' core city is a natural draw to entrepreneurs with an eye to growing their businesses and collaborating with creative economic leaders, and one West Michigan communications firm has answered the call to move from the burbs to the heart of the action.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS — After a decade of working for others locally in the public relations and communications field, Craig Clark began a little experiment a few years back called Clark Communications. He thought he’d try being his own boss for six months.

After “trying it” for nearly three years, Clark realized he was pretty good at working for himself. So he moved his experiment from his home last fall to new downtown digs.

Read the complete story here.

Manufacturing in West Michigan rides tide of change

Manufacturing ain't what it used to be in Michigan, but business leaders and economic experts say that, with the right talent and a new way of doing business, manufacturing is still a viable leader in the knowledge economy. One West Michigan company has set out to prove it by attracting new talent, changing old paradigms, and bringing in out-of-state business.

According to excerpts from the story:

HOLLAND -- Dick DeVos may have been soundly thumped in his bid to unseat Gov. Jennifer Granholm 15 months ago, but he still believes he has some answers for what ails Michigan's economy.

"This culture," he said, waving an arm across the floor of his Windquest Cos. factory in Holland last week, "this fast, flexible, teamwork culture, is the future of manufacturing."

Read the complete story here.

Michigan's tourism industry gets $60M boost from state

Tourism proponents say that getting travelers to Michigan is key in bringing money to the state and jobs to tourist regions, and the governor's recent proposal to allocate $60 million to the tourism industry for advertising will go a long way toward making that happen.

According to excerpts from the story:

Gov. Jennifer Granholm's proposal to pump $60 million over two years into tourism and business promotion is a sign the state is finally taking the industry seriously, travel promoters say.

Part of a $1.8 billion economic-stimulus package included in the governor's 2009 budget proposal, the money would temporarily give the tourism industry what it has long wanted -- a substantial increase from the state in promotional funding.

Read the complete story here.


Michigan House streamlines driver's license rules to grow foreign talent

Citing the need to attract global talent to Michigan as a means to spur a rise in the number and quality of knowledge economy workers and, thereby, ramp up economic revitalization, the state House passed legislation saying that individuals do not need to meet federal Real ID criteria to qualify for a driver's license. The Senate says otherwise.

According to excerpts from the story:

Individuals who can establish a legal presence in Michigan, regardless of how long they plan on staying here, could receive a state identification card or driver's license under legislation overwhelmingly approved by the House Thursday – which goes counter to what the Senate approved Wednesday and bucks the requirements of the federal Real ID Act, which goes into effect in May.

Allowing people like college faculty and business executives from foreign countries to receive a driver's license in light of a recent attorney general's opinion and Department of State rule change.

Read the complete story here.

Economist says better days ahead for MI manufacturing

Michigan remained in a recession in the last quarter of 2007, but one economist says the state's manufacturing sector is going to pull the state out of it's economic slump and make it a leader in many emerging global markets.

According to excerpts from the story:

JP Morgan Chase & Co.'s senior economist sees opportunities rising for Michigan manufacturers out of the economic pain of this decade.

A more favorable dollar and growing foreign markets bode well for the industrial Midwest in the global economy, said Jim Glassman, managing director and senior economist with JP Morgan Chase.

Midwest manufacturers will find themselves on the "leading edge" of serving emerging global markets, just as it was the first to feel the pain early this decade when the economy changed, he said.

Read the complete story here.

Michigan entrepreneurs ready to change state's image

When the automotive industry first took hold, Michigan became the most entrepreneurial state in the union, and business leaders aim to make it number one again with the help of some enterprising economic development corporations who are leading the charge.

According to excerpts from the story:

Michigan once changed the world. It was the entrepreneurial hot spot of the industrial revolution, leading technological advances in manufacturing for much of the 20th century.

But while Michigan was leading, the state's culture evolved into a risk-averse society that shied away from new ventures. Now it's the world that's changing, and Michigan needs to respond.

For venture capitalist and longtime entrepreneur Dick Beedon, it begins by getting people to understand that starting a business is a "cool" thing.

Read the complete story here.

UICA signs up for space at Gallery on Fulton

After years of sitting vacant, the property at the corner of Fulton and Division in Grand Rapids has received the nod of approval from the anchor tenant and is on its way to filling the void on one of the city's most high profile corners.

According to excerpts from the story:

Developer Sam Cummings said the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art has signed an agreement to relocate to his Gallery on Fulton development planned for 2 West Fulton St.

The UICA plans to relocate its operation from 41 Sheldon Blvd. It will buy most of the 35,000 square feet of retail space available in the Gallery on Fulton, Cummings said.

In a letter to Grand Rapids city commissioners, members of the UICA's capital campaign committee confirmed their "enduring passionate commitment to the Gallery on Fulton project" and said they have raised 44 percent of the money needed to finance the move.

Read the complete story here.

Swedish tech company finds home in Grand Rapids

A Swedish technology firm that moved to Grand Rapids is slowly taking the furniture design world by storm, allowing furniture designers to spend less time learning the software and more time creating designs that fuel the local furniture industry.

According to excerpts from the story:

Try this: memorize 35 million part numbers, draw a 3-D office furniture layout and provide a price quote down to the last screw.


In a nutshell, that's the power of a Swedish software company making inroads in West Michigan.

With just 17 Grand Rapids-based programmers, Configura Inc. develops vast, graphic-rich software systems that promise to free office furniture designers to work on the creative side of design.

The company opened its local office in 2005 and connected with Haworth Inc. two years ago, developing the office furniture company's Canvas design and ordering system.

In 2006, Canvas and Configura won a silver award for technology at NeoCon, an annual global office furniture industry convention.

This spring, Configura will create its CET Designer system with Steelcase Inc.

Read the complete story here.

353 Heartside Articles | Page: | Show All
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