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Indiana native named Main Street Oakland County Program Coordinator

John Bry, whose 20-year professional career has been spent on the development and revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods across the country, is the new program coordinator for Main Street Oakland County.

Bry becomes the main contact between Oakland County and the 22 communities that comprise Main Street Oakland County – the only full-service, county-level Main Street program in the United States and the oldest Main Street program in Michigan. Bry replaces Bob Donohue, who left earlier this year to head up economic development in South Lyon.

“His passion for downtowns and historic preservation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Irene Spanos, who directs economic development for Oakland County. “He has years of experience in many Main Street programs, and I expect to see great things and new initiatives for our downtowns. We’re lucky to have him.”

Bry, an Indiana native, has a graduate degree in historic preservation from Ball State University and has been executive director for Main Street programs in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. He owned a consulting business and offered technical advice on downtown and community revitalization to more than 100 communities in 14 states. He is a certified Main Street manager.

Bry has successfully written grant applications for more than $3 million to fund heritage and revitalization projects throughout the United States.

“John is an ideal fit for the position,” said Planning Division Manager Bret Rasegan. “He has experience at both ends of the spectrum, as both a downtown manager applying the Main Street approach and at the program coordinator level providing technical assistance to local downtowns.”

MSOC is one of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s most successful economic development initiatives. In 2015, member communities generated $38 million of new investment, created 31 businesses and 214 full-time jobs. Since 2001, total public and private investment is more than $706 million, 971 new businesses were opened and nearly 7,100 jobs created.

Main Street Oakland County is comprised of 22 communities: Birmingham, Clarkston, Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Groveland Township, Hazel Park, Highland, Holly, Holly Township, Lake Orion, Lathrup Village, Oak Park, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester, Village of Leonard, Walled Lake, Waterford and Wixom. Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center. For other communities interested in the program, visit MainStreetOaklandCounty.com.
 

Enjoy a winter wonderland this January at Oakland County Parks and Recreation

Bundle up and head outdoors to enjoy all the frosty weather that January has to offer by going cross-country skiing, ice skating, fat tire biking, snowshoeing, sledding and ice fishing. If you prefer, stay indoors and participate in activities and programs at Wint Nature Center and Red Oaks Nature Center. Check out these upcoming events:
 
Jan. 1
  • Christmas tree recycling runs until Jan. 30 at the following Oakland County Parks: Addison Oaks; Catalpa Oaks; Glen Oaks Golf Course; Groveland Oaks; Independence Oaks; Lyon Oaks; Oakland County Farmers Market; Orion Oaks; Red Oaks Golf Course; Springfield Oaks; and White Lake Oaks Golf Course. Drop off trees from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. There is no charge to drop off trees, but plastic, tinsel and wire must be removed. No commercial trees accepted. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information.
 
Jan. 7
  • NatureFit: Snowshoe Try It! is 10 a.m.-noon Jan. 7 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Learn about the history of snowshoes and then head outdoors for a guided snowshoe hike, campfire and snack. This program is appropriate for those ages 5 and older and snowshoes are provided. Participants must wear boots. A winter hike will be substituted if conditions do not permit snowshoeing. Cost is $5/person and pre-registration with payment is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-625-6473 Saturdays. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information.
 
Jan. 14
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Jan. 14 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak. Designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, basketball and more. Individuals must pre-register by calling 248-424-7077. This program is limited to 20 participants. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.
  • Discover cooking secrets from local chefs and sample dishes using produce available from Oakland County Farmers Market vendors during a free cooking demonstration held in cooperation with edibleWOW from 10-11 a.m. Jan. 14. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Fireside Chat: Legends of Michigan’s Past is 3-4:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Stay warm this winter by cozying up at the fireplace and learning all about the Anishanabe, who lived in Michigan hundreds of years ago. Join a naturalist for an afternoon of interactive storytelling and legends as well as traditional Native American games. Make a historic native trade item to take home. Cocoa, coffee and a snack will be served. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays.
  • If you have ever wanted to try ice fishing, attend Ice Fishing 101 from 3-5 p.m. Jan. 14 at Twin Chimneys Shelter in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Learn about ice fishing equipment and techniques, then try your hand at the sport if ice and weather conditions permit. If not, alternative fishing activities will be substituted. Participants ages 17 and older must have a valid Michigan fishing license. This program is appropriate for individuals ages 5 and older. Cost is $5/person and pre-registration with payment is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-625-6473 Saturdays. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information.
 
Jan. 21
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Jan. 21 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak. Designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, basketball and more. Individuals must pre-register by calling 248-424-7077. This program is limited to 20 participants. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.
  • Wolves: Digging into the Past is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 21 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Naturalists will help scouts complete the necessary requirements to achieve a badge. Snacks and materials are provided, but badges are not supplied by the nature center. Cost is $7/scout and $3/adult. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or registration forms are available at OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Daisies: Clover Petal – Use Resources Wisely is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 21 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Naturalists will help scouts complete the necessary requirements to achieve a badge. Snacks and materials are provided, but badges are not supplied by the nature center. Cost is $7/scout and $3/adult. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or registration forms are available at OaklandCountyParks.com.
 
Jan. 28
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Jan. 28 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak. Designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, basketball and more. Individuals must pre-register by calling 248-424-7077. This program is limited to 20 participants. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.
  • Discover cooking secrets from local chefs and sample dishes using produce available from Oakland County Farmers Market vendors during a free cooking demonstration held in cooperation with edibleWOW from 10-11 a.m. Jan. 28. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Daisies: Rosie Petal – Make the World a Better Place is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 28 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Naturalists will help scouts complete the necessary requirements to achieve a badge. Snacks and materials are provided, but badges are not supplied by the nature center. Cost is $7/scout and $3/adult. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or registration forms are available at OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Cross-Country Ski School is scheduled from 10 a.m.-noon Jan. 28 at Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Learn to ski using your own gear or ski rental is included. Adaptive equipment is available; call ahead to reserve. Cost is $15/person. Daily pass or annual vehicle permit is required for park entry. Registration form is available at OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call John Haney at 248-858-1486 or email HaneyJ@oakgov.com.
  • Nature Sprouts is 10-11:45 a.m. Jan. 28 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. The winter session of this nature program for 3-6 year olds accompanied by an adult will focus on “Shapes in Nature.” Indoor and outdoor hands-on nature discovery activities include a story, hike, craft and snack. Cost is $4/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays.
 
For information on other events, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @OCParksAndRec.
 

More than 1,400 workers to benefit from job training funds awarded to 50 Oakland County companies

Fifty Oakland County companies in 19 communities received more than $1.2 million from the state’s Skilled Trades Training Fund, enabling them to hire about 327 new employees while upgrading the skills of more than 1,400 current employees.

Oakland County employers – through Oakland County Michigan Works! – have received more than $3.5 million from the state since 2013 to retrain or hire 4,181 employees. Workers will be trained in occupations such as software programming, computer-aided design, welding, and robot operations. The funds also support 23 new apprenticeships.

“This state economic development program elevates the skills of our workforce and strengthens our businesses, creating a significant return on our investment,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Programs such as this keep us competitive in a quickly changing economy.”

Area companies receiving grants include auto suppliers BorgWarner ($123,889), Richard Tool & Die ($12,600) and Karma Automotive ($65,210); Lee Industrial Contracting of Pontiac ($32,223) and Drought, a Royal Oak company that makes organic raw juices ($1,417).

Employers must apply for the state funds through their local Michigan Works! office. The grants are monitored and the companies must report on how the funds were used and that employees designated for job training actually receive it, said Jennifer Llewellyn, manager of Workforce Development for the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

Oakland County Michigan Works! provides talent attraction, management and retention services for businesses, and career management, training and placement for job seekers at eight locations in Oakland County. Contact OaklandCountyMIWorks.com or 800-285-9675 for more information.

Oakland County buyer best in Michigan

Oakland County employee Joan Daniels is Michigan’s Buyer of the Year, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced. The Michigan Public Purchasing Officers Association (MPPOA) bestowed the honor upon Daniels, who is a buyer for Oakland County Compliance Office Purchasing Unit.

“Oakland County has an outstanding reputation for transparency and open bidding when it comes to implementing purchasing contracts,” Patterson said. “We’ve earned that reputation in no small part because of the excellence of our purchasing employees like Joan Daniels.”

Daniels is known for her creative approach to solving problems that maintain a fair playing field for vendors. For instance, she worked with Oakland County’s Information Technology Department to launch an Oakland County Purchasing page on LinkedIn. The page has enabled the county to identify and communicate with new vendors who may have never been exposed to government procurement before. It has helped the county locate vendors who perform more obscure services and broaden the field of competitors to provide the county services.

She also helped Oakland County Parks & Recreation improve purchasing of items for resale at its five golf course pro shops. She invited various suppliers to a vendor show that allowed them to market the merchandise they felt would benefit the pro shops. The vendors were gathered in one place and parks & rec golf personnel visited each one to discuss the products, marketing, and pricing. Daniels helped develop contracts with various suppliers for the suppliers who provided the merchandise that best fit each pro shop.

Daniels is a graduate of Oakland University. She received her Certified Professional Public Buyer designation in 2010. She is a resident of Orion Township.
 

Governor appoints Forzley to Health Commission

Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed Oakland County’s Health Officer Kathleen Forzley to the Public Health Advisory Commission, a 24-person body which will complete an assessment of the current public health service delivery system in Michigan. They will review the organization of public health functions within and across the state’s executive departments; the division of responsibilities between state and local public health authorities; and the regulatory framework established by the Public Health Code, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“Oakland County Health Division recently conducted a similar public health assessment which was a game changer in terms of delivering public health services to our residents,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Kathy’s leadership and experience in completing our assessment will without a doubt be an asset to the Public Health Advisory Commission.”

Back in 2014, Forzley and Director of Health and Human Services George Miller launched an initiative called ECHO which stands for Energizing Connections for Healthier Oakland. The county and its public health partners conducted a comprehensive countywide assessment of residents and businesses in 2015 to get the big picture of health practices in the county and the health status of our residents. This was the most comprehensive assessment on this scale in Michigan.

Health Division looked at 11 core categories which included health resource availability, behavioral risk factors, maternal and child health, environmental health, and more. Oakland County is utilizing the data to reshape the focus of its public health policies and initiatives in a way that will have the greatest impact on improving the overall health of residents.

In June, Oakland County and its 32 health partners in this effort announced a Community Health Improvement Plan based on the ECHO survey. We asked Oakland County businesses and organizations to align their health and wellness strategies with ECHO. Buy-in from Oakland County companies will help move the needle on public health forward in Oakland County.

“We learned a great deal about our health in Oakland County,” Forzley said. “I will share those insights with the governor’s Public Health Advisory Commission in order to help improve public health services in Michigan.”

Forzley, a Troy resident and manager of the Oakland County Health Division, holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental health and a master’s degree in public administration from Oakland University.
 

Resource Day showcases over 40 agencies for housing, health, counseling and other services

Excerpt

Once a year the work that Leah McCall and others at Alliance for Housing of Oakland County do year-round gets laid out in an inspiring in-person kind of way. The 40+ agencies that are part of OaklandHomeless.org are normally connected by email, phone and meetings. But once a year they come to Resource Day. This year they were tucked away in every corner of the Genesis Church in Royal Oak, connected like the combs of a beehive and buzzing with collaborative energy. Common Ground, Easter Seals, HAVEN, HOPE and dozens others were part of the Nov. 16 event.

Read more.
 

Oakland County joins PACE program to promote energy efficiency for businesses

Oakland County has joined the Lean & Green Michigan PACE program. As a result, 62 percent of Michigan residents are now covered by PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy), a program that offsets the upfront costs of energy efficiency upgrades through a special property tax assessment.

PACE helps businesses finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that save money in the long run but require expensive investment up front. It allows property owners this ability through a special property tax assessment with local governments. The tax assessment then frees up lenders' ability to provide up to 20-year, low rate, fixed-interest loans.

Andy Levin, president of Lean & Green Michigan and managing partner of Levin Energy Partners, believes that the addition of Oakland County creates a critical mass of statewide involvement. The group will now spend more time on speaking to and educating property owners on the benefits of the program.

"The fundamental thing is that PACE is above and beyond politics. It's a straight-up pro-business idea," says Levin. "It has the potential to revolutionize commercial and industrial buildings the same way 30 year fixed mortgages revolutionized the residential market."

While Oakland County is the 20th Michigan county to officially embrace PACE, it already has a number of PACE success stories within its borders. The City of Southfield was the first jurisdiction in the state to become a member of the Lean & Green Michigan PACE program. And two of the four completed PACE projects in Michigan have occurred in Oakland County, including Orion Township-based Powers Distributing.

Powers successfully used PACE to finance a 95kW solar system on the roof of its recycling center as well as the installation of LED lighting throughout the facility. The beer distributor expects to save $48,000 per year in energy costs.

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

300 businesses in region receive job survey to Create Profiles for employment in autonomous vehicles

Businesses in Southeast Michigan this week are being asked to identify the skills and abilities employers require of potential hires wanting jobs in the rapidly evolving connected/autonomous vehicle industry.

About 300 employers from Oakland County and surrounding counties in Southeast Michigan were sent the Skills Needs Assessment Project (SNAP) Connected Mobility survey to help determine what knowledge, skills and abilities – from the employer’s perspective – are necessary for job seekers to succeed in the industry. Original equipment manufacturers, suppliers and information technology are among the companies being surveyed.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said information gleaned from the survey will be used to create customized job profiles for educators to help develop curriculum and content, give real-time employer-driven information to students and adults to help them make important career decisions and to create a pipeline of qualified job applicants for employers. Businesses have until Nov. 30 to complete the survey.

“This is a highly technical and rapidly changing field and we’re asking these employers what they are looking for when hiring instead of us guessing what they might need,” Patterson said. “This survey – the first of its kind in the nation – is creating the framework to define the jobs that are not yet defined, the jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago.”

The SNAP Connected Mobility survey is the fourth in a series of employer job surveys commissioned by Oakland County and the Oakland County Workforce Development Board. SNAP began in 2009 with a study of skills and knowledge required for jobs in the Emerging Sectors®, which identifies top growth sectors in the region such as medical, communications, information technology and advanced materials. A second study was completed in 2013 on advanced manufacturing. The most recent was completed in 2014 identified the challenges and job opportunities facing area health systems. The first three reports are available online at under the BUSINESS section of www.AdvantageOakland.com.

Oakland County has been at the forefront of the movement towards connected car/autonomous vehicles. Patterson’s connected vehicle task force is beginning to implement a countywide connected vehicle ecosystem that will act as a pilot for the entire region. The county is home to dozens of major research and development facilities for many of the global companies operating in mobility including Autoliv, Continental, Denso, Delphi, Google, Lear, Nissan, P3 and Valeo.

“The technology and the workforce for the future of mobility are all right here,” said Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb. “The study results will give us real-time employer-driven information to keep Oakland County and Michigan in the driver’s seat.”

The survey is being conducted by EdEn Inc., a Rochester-based research firm which produced the first three surveys. The project emanated from a recommendation of the Oakland County Business Roundtable Workforce & Education Committee and is funded by Oakland County, the Oakland County Workforce Development Board/Oakland County Michigan Works! through a grant from Michigan’s Workforce Development Agency and the U.S. Department of Labor.

The survey results are expected in early 2017, said Jennifer Llewellyn, manager of the Oakland County Michigan Works! division. Employers who did not receive the survey but wish to participate can do so at www.OaklandCountySkillsSurvey.com. Those with questions about the project should contact Llewellyn at llewellynj@oakgov.com.
 

Oakland County business consultant adds another award to his resume

Tom Raymond, a business consultant with the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center, recently received the 2016 Top Mentor Award from SCORE National/Detroit Chapter. The award recognized Raymond for his work on WalkIn/StartUp Thursdays, a collaboration between SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and the One Stop Shop Business Center that offers free business counseling services to budding entrepreneurs without the need for making an appointment. Raymond received the award during SCORE’s annual luncheon held at Red Run Country club in Royal Oak.

Raymond’s primary focus with the business center is startup and small businesses. A former business owner and one-time special agent in the Office of Special Investigations with the U.S. Air Force, a member of the vice president’s security detail in the Middle East who was once employed by Playboy enterprises to provide security for the Hugh Heffner family, Raymond has been honored several times by SCORE and was named Small Business Association Counselor of the Year for the state of Michigan in 2013.

Since 2011, Raymond has assisted more than 400 startup and existing business owners.

Retired Oakland County Michigan Works! manager honored twice by state workforce development agency

The former manager of the Oakland County Michigan Works! division was honored with two awards for his contributions to workforce development efforts in the state.

John Almstadt, who retired from Oakland County on March 1 after 38 years of service, was given the Ralph Loeschner Outstanding Service Award and the Champions of Workforce Development award on Oct. 3 during the Michigan Works! annual conference in Mount Pleasant.

“I’m extremely proud of John who was a great employee of my administration for many years,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “He is missed by all who worked with him. His successor has big shoes to fill.”

Jennifer Llewellyn, who replaced Almstadt, praised him for his professionalism and the impact he has had on the workforce development community and on her career. Almstadt’s work touched tens of thousands of lives during his career.

“John is a workforce development legend,” said Llewellyn, who nominated Almstadt for the Loeschner Award. “He is highly respected across Oakland County and throughout the state of Michigan. He has impacted and changed the lives of so many through his work. I am truly humbled to be his successor. He has huge shoes to fill.”

The Loeschner Award is named in honor of Ralph Loeschner, a respected advocate and promoter of Michigan Works! programming who died in 2004. The Champions of Workforce Development honors Michigan Works! agency heads who “exemplify the highest standards of leadership and who have made a significant contribution to workforce development in Michigan.”

“I’m thrilled to receive these awards which recognize a lifetime of work,” Almstadt said. “It’s nice to be included with other people who have made such important contributions to workforce development. I thank Mr. Patterson and the administration for their support over the years. You never get awards such as these without the help of many other people along the way.”

Almstadt is a graduate of Adrian College and American University in Washington D.C. He began his professional career as a school teacher and then came to the county to oversee youth training programs. He was ultimately promoted to oversee the county’s workforce development initiatives, which includes the eight Michigan Works! centers throughout the county and the workforce development board.

He also oversaw the creation and production of a series of reports – the Skills Needs Assessment Project – which identified the skills, experience and education needed to work for emerging technology, health care and manufacturing companies, and assists educators in preparing the curriculum needed to help talent succeed.

Oakland County is one of 16 agencies in Michigan that provides free talent attraction, management and retention services for businesses and career management, training and placement for job seekers. More than 1,200 people visit Oakland County Michigan Works! centers every day.
 

OUCARES' collaboration with Oakland County Parks wins national award

The Oakland University Center for Autism’s Outreach Services (OUCARES) was recently honored with a 2016 Removing Barriers Special Award from the National Association of County Parks and Recreation Officials. The recognition was for a program that allows OUCARES summer camp participants to engage in activities such as fishing, boating, rappelling and climbing at Independence Oaks Park in Clarkston. 
 
“The mission of OUCARES is to improve the quality of life of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” said Kristin Rohrbeck, director of OUCARES.  “When OUCARES’ summer campers are at the park, they show more positive emotion, engage more with their peers, and learn to follow directions in order to participate in all of the fun activities — all things that can improve their quality of life. OUCARES is proud to have this strong relationship with Oakland County Parks that helps us fulfill our mission.”
 
The program, which is in collaboration with Oakland County Parks (OCP), also involved providing training to OCP staff members and those at other parks throughout Michigan
 
During the training session, OCP supervisors learned to recognize common characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and how to communicate effectively by breaking information down into simple steps, keeping verbal statements short and maintaining a low voice, among other strategies.
 
OUCARES Program Coordinator Stephanie Laubach was instrumental in developing the training.

“It has been an honor to work with not only the Oakland County Parks, but also with the Michigan Recreation & Parks Association to assist in developing inclusion & accessibility within their parks," Laubach said. "Educating park personnel about autism and successful strategies in working with a person on the spectrum will broaden the understanding and acceptance of Autism Spectrum Disorder."
 
Founded in 2004, OUCARES provides a vast array of programming for individuals with ASD and other developmental disabilities, including sports, social clubs, summer camps and employable skills training.
 
Learn more about OUCARES at oakland.edu/oucares.
 

Health division kicks off flu season

Oakland County Health Division launched their annual flu vaccination program on Oct. 4, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced. The flu vaccine guards against as many as four flu viruses which are most likely to occur this season.

“Our goal is to keep our residents healthy this flu season,” Patterson said. “We urge them to take the necessary precautions against the flu including getting vaccinated.”

Flu shots are available for $25 at both Health Division clinics in Pontiac and Southfield. Individuals 65 years and older qualify for a high-dose flu shot which costs $43. Flu shot clinic hours are Noon – 8p.m. Mondays and 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. These are walk-in clinics. Prepayment and registration are not needed.

“Get a flu shot to protect yourself and loved ones,” said Kathy Forzley, Health Division manager/health officer. “The flu typically takes the lives of 36,000 Americans a year. Getting an annual flu shot reduces the risk of getting the flu and protects the community around you.”

The Health Division will also hold four walk-in community outreach clinics on the following dates:
  • Oct. 12, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
    Walled Lake Community Ed, 615 N. Pontiac Trail, Walled Lake
  • Oct. 18, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Rochester OPC, 650 Letica Drive, Rochester
  • Oct. 19, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Troy Community Center, 3179 Livernois, Troy
  • Nov. 1, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Costick Center, 28600 11 Mile Road, Farmington Hills
Community outreach clinics are walk-in only, pre-payment and registration are not necessary.

Payment options include cash, credit (Visa, MasterCard), Medicare, and/or Medicaid, and some insurance. Credit card fees apply. Please bring picture identification and all insurance cards to the clinic.

Health Division offices are located at the following addresses:
  • North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac
  • South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield
For up-to-date information, visit www.oakgov.com/health, follow the Health Division on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC, or call the Health Division’s Flu Shot Hotline at 800-434-3358. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at 800-848-5533.
 

The Oakland County Executive's Elite 40 Under 40 program in search of "best of the best" for 2017

If you know a young entrepreneur, community leader, teacher or any person who has made significant contributions to their chosen field and the quality of life in the region and you want them recognized for their good work, here is your chance.
 
Starting Wednesday at 9:01 a.m., nominations are being accepted for the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2017. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson started the program in 2012 to honor young professionals and thought leaders who excel in their field and have demonstrated dynamic leadership.
 
“There is a sea of engaged, eager and passionate leaders who are committed to making a difference in business, the community and in people’s lives,” Patterson said. “We are blessed to have so many talented young people who are vital to Oakland County and the region. If you know one or more of these young men and women – or you want to nominate yourself – I encourage you to submit a name for consideration.”
 
Nominees must live or work in Oakland County to be eligible. To submit a candidate, go to www.AdvantageOakland.com/Elite40 where two entry buttons can be found – one for those who want to nominate someone else and one for those who want to enter themselves. Nominations must be completed by Nov. 1. If you enter yourself, you have until Nov. 4 at noon to submit a completed entry.
 
A panel of former Elite 40 class members will review and score all completed applications from Nov. 17 – Dec. 1 and reduce the number to the top 60 entrants. An independent panel of judges will choose the top 40 from Jan. 8 – Jan. 6, 2017. Of that group, three candidates who scored the highest will be placed before the public from Jan. 23 to Jan. 27, 2017 for an online vote to determine the winner.
 
The winner will be announced in February. All class members will be invited to participate in a host of county events. Past members have joined the Oakland County Business Roundtable and other advisory committees within the county.
 

Oakland County Michigan Works! helps companies get share of expected $15 mil in job training funds

Oakland County Michigan Works! is holding two free informational sessions to assist employers interested in getting a portion of an expected $15 million the state has available through its Skilled Trades Training Fund.

The sessions run from 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 1 and Sept. 7 and are being held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. Representatives from Oakland County Michigan Works! offices will meet with interested employers to answer questions and help them apply for the funds. Companies interested in receiving funding must apply through a Michigan Works! office in the state to be considered.

Online registration is available at www.advantageoakland.eventbright.com.

“This program creates a significant return on investment for the state and the businesses while helping our workforce acquire the skills needed to succeed,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “I encourage companies to take advantage of this important opportunity.”

The application deadline is Oct. 14. Awards will be announced in early November, said Jennifer Llewellyn, manager of Workforce Development for the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. Funding approval comes from the state’s Workforce Development Agency.

Workers are trained in occupations such as software programming, computer-aided design, welding and robot operations.

In 2015, 44 Oakland County companies shared $1.3 million in training funds, allowing them to hire 242 employees and provide training for an additional 1,300. Companies who receive funding agree to contribute matching job training funds to help prepare their workforces.

Coupled with funds received beginning in 2013 from the state, Oakland County employers – through Oakland County Michigan Works! – have received more than $2 million to retrain their existing workforce and hire new employees.

Oakland County Michigan Works! provides talent attraction, management and retention services for businesses, and career management, training and placement for job seekers at eight locations in Oakland County. They are located in Ferndale, Highland, Novi, Oak Park, Pontiac, Southfield, Troy and Waterford.
 

Community Choice Credit Union launches new grant program, seeks nonprofits to apply

In order to strengthen ties with community organizations and expand the reach of its Give Big culture, Community Choice Credit Unionis issuing its first open request for grant applications through the Community Choice Foundation. Each quarter the Foundation will award a grant of up to $3,000 to a nonprofit in Michigan.

“Since launching the Foundation in 2008 Community Choice has awarded $880,000 in scholarships and staff has donated over 17,000 volunteer hours to local charities,” said Steven Hernandez, Foundation Development Coordinator. “The new grant program will now allow us to help fund the nonprofits we’ve spent so many years volunteering with and believing in. With four grants to be awarded per year there is plenty of love to go around, and awardees just might also benefit from our annual Give Big volunteer weekend.”

Nonprofits must be located in Michigan and address one of the Foundation’s four priority areas: health and human services, projects or programs  that address the physical and or mental well-being of children and adults; capacity building, which would support staff or board trainings, financial audits or strategic planning; basic needs, for organizations who provide food and shelter for the most vulnerable residents of Michigan; and neighborhood safety/community development, which would support  organizations who are fighting blight and beautifying their communities. Eligible organizations must also have their own 501(c) 3 legal status.

Community Choice is accepting letters of inquiry on a rolling basis. The first winner will be announced in December. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and awarded quarterly.

The Give Big Grants program is made possible through the credit union’s payroll deduction program, in which more than half of Community Choice’s 244 employees have elected to donate a portion of their pay.

To apply, interested organizations are asked to contact the manager at their nearest Community Choice Credit Union Member Center to ensure eligibility and begin the application process. Community Choice has 15 locations across Michigan. To find the member center nearest to you, visit communitychoicecu.com/locations.

For more information on Community Choice Credit Union visit CommunityChoiceCU.com.

About Community Choice Foundation: Since 2008 Community Choice Credit Union has put its Give Big philosophy into action through the Community Choice Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The Foundation is committed to improving the communities served by Community Choice Credit Union through donations and volunteerism, as well as a scholarship program that that helps the best and brightest students pursue higher education and build their careers in Michigan. To date, the Foundation has donated more than $880,000 to local charitable programs and events.

About Community Choice Credit Union: Established in 1935, Community Choice Credit Union offers a wide variety of financial products and services for both consumers and businesses. Any individual who lives, works, studies or worships in the following counties is eligible to become a member of Community Choice Credit Union: Allegan, Genesee, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Ottawa, St. Clair, Washtenaw or Wayne County, Michigan. Since 2008, Community Choice has invested more than $992,623 and 17,294 volunteer hours into its charitable Give Big efforts throughout Michigan. If you’re looking for an experience that’s different from your current banking relationship, let’s get together. For more information, visit CommunityChoiceCU.com.
 
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