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Planning and Economic Development

Focus Macomb


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Message from Mark





Hello and welcome to the July edition of Focus Macomb. This month kicked off with some exciting news that I’m thrilled to again share. Macomb County was awarded more than $50 million in the 2023 State of Michigan budget for two vitally important local projects - Innovate Mound and the Macomb County Health and Community Services Complex. These are transformational initiatives and I’m thankful to the state leaders who recognized this and awarded the funds. It’s an investment in our County’s future and one that will bring these projects closer to completion.

This month also saw the return of the Selfridge Open House and Air Show at our hometown air base in Harrison Township. As always, it was an incredible event and I’d like to thank the organizers for working hard and putting together a fantastic line up. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

And just a reminder, the Macomb County Health Department, along with our community partners, is looking for your feedback on the health and well-being of your community. We want to hear about what is impacting you locally and personally so we can make community-informed, public health decisions for the next five years. Here is a link to our survey

Finally, there’s so much to enjoy right now in Macomb County. We’ve got the Armada Fair, Romeo Peach Festival and Richmond Good Old Days all on the horizon, which is incredibly exciting. And outside of planned events, we’ve got weeks of beautiful weather ahead of us. So it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy all the amenities that make Macomb a great place to call home. From our parks and trail systems, to our clean, clear and connected waterways, there’s something for everyone.

So let’s enjoy the rest of this summer. It will be fall before we know it.

Thank you and take care.








Free career training program sees first graduates, assistance still available


Macomb County and Macomb Community College have marked their first wave of graduates through a free career training program launched in January 2022. The program, which is funded by a $515,000 Regional Talent Innovation Grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and $320,000 from the Community Development Block Grant, has seen 86 approved applications with 62 students currently enrolled in coursework. The classes provide training for income-eligible individuals in high-demand fields like health care, engineering and advanced technology.

“Companies across our region are in need of skilled and qualified individuals to fill a variety of important positions,” said Vicky Rowinski, director, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development. “This training program will help us get a new wave of employees out into the field to apply for and fill those job openings. It’s a proactive solution to a problem facing many employers, and a real opportunity for individuals looking to change careers or take a new professional direction.”

Keona is a recent graduate of the training program. She is a single mother of two young children who was able to pursue a certificate as a certified nursing assistant at no cost.

“I am grateful to be able to have access to these programs in my community, especially a nursing program free to me,” she said. “My goal is to become a registered nurse, so I chose the nursing assistant program. This experience gives me a firsthand look into what RNs do daily, which will help me once I start an RN program.”

In addition to the knowledge and insights, Keona gained employment opportunities through the career training program.

“I had so many job offers within two weeks of my completion of the program,” she said. “I accepted a job offer with great benefits and great pay while doing what I love  – caring, nurturing and assisting people with compassion and skills gained.”

The opportunity to apply for the free training program was recently expanded through updates to income requirements. The program is now available to Macomb County residents with a current income of $50,150 and below. 

“Eligibility is now based on the student's income only, not the combined income for the household,” said Stephanie Burgess, program manager for community development with Macomb Community Action. “With rising housing costs and other economic challenges bubbling, we worked to revise the rules for this program so we could accommodate as many individuals as possible.”

Applicants must also have experienced a financial hardship related to COVID-19. Once approved, they can start their coursework in one of several high-demand fields, including:

  • Health Care: Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Dental Assistant, Laboratory Assistant, Phlebotomy, Pharmacy Tech
  • Engineering & Advanced Technology: Controls Technician, Industrial Maintenance Technician, Robot Programmer, Robot Technician, and Marine Maintenance Technician

The ability to earn a credential in each of the offered programs ranges from 4-17 weeks. Tuition assistance also covers the costs of any needed books, supplies and/or testing fees.

Enrollment for the fall semester at Macomb Community College is now open. Individuals interested in learning more about the program and accessing and application can visit





10th Annual Macomb Business Awards to be hosted at The Emerald Theatre


With less than two months until the event, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) has announced that the 10th annual Macomb Business Awards presented by Consumers Energy will be held at The Emerald Theatre in downtown Mount Clemens. The iconic location, which is more than 100-years-old, will play host to the more than 130 nominees and 400 guests who will gather to see local businesses announced as winners in the following categories:

  1. Hidden Gem
    A business with up to 50 employees that offers a unique “made in Macomb” product or service that more people should know about.
  2. Hometown Hero
    An organization that goes above and beyond to help their community by providing assistance, donations, volunteer and/or promotional support to a cause or for a local need.
  3. Manufacturer of the Year
    A manufacturer or supplier of any size in any industry that is achieving success through its efforts to diversify its customer base and implement new technologies or efficiencies, including Industry 4.0 practices.
  4. Small But Mighty Award
    A microbusiness or small operation with less than ten employees that has identified an important community need and addressed it through their service or offerings. Must have a brick and mortar presence.
  5. Trailblazer of Future Talent
    A company that c​reates opportunities for the next generation of Macomb County’s workforce to explore career possibilities and experience work-based learning.
  6. Workforce Champion
    A company that demonstrates agility and creativity in response to workforce needs, including talent attraction, employee retention and making a conscious effort to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace for all.

The Macomb Business Awards recognizes outstanding businesses that have made Macomb County their home. It will feature networking opportunities and presentations from leaders who will discuss relevant business topics. 

Tickets for the event will go on sale soon. In the meantime, MCPED is seeking sponsors at a variety of levels. For more information, please contact Maria Zardis at or click here to learn more.






Open enrollment continues for Macomb County Head Start ahead of school year


With the school year approaching, Macomb Community Action has announced the continuation of its open enrollment period for the Macomb County Head Start program, an initiative which provides free preschool to eligible families and children ages zero to five.

“Early education is one of the greatest investments we can make for our children,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. “It provides a foundation for lifelong learning and has a positive impact on health and behavioral outcomes. So enrolling in Head Start is something that parents should absolutely consider. It will give their children the right start in life.”

Head Start has a presence in 18 of 21 Macomb County school districts, with locations in schools, churches and other local facilities. The program offers individualized child education, research-based curriculum, support for dual language learners, parent/caregiver engagement, family goal setting, oral health and physical wellness support, caregiver/early literacy initiatives, nutrition and safety education, and mental health and disability support.

“This program focuses on the child and their parents, as we know they are the primary educators at home,” said Linda Azar, division director for children and family services, Macomb Community Action. “Our holistic approach works to ensure the success of the child at school and in life.”

Individuals interested in enrolling their child in Head Start must meet the following requirements:

  • Household income must be at or below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
  • Must be a pregnant mother or family with children ages zero to five

And this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Head Start announced that families currently enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would be automatically eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services,

Created through federal programming in 1965, Head Start has served more than 30 million children, growing from an eight-week demonstration project to now featuring full day/year services and many other options.

Additional enrollment information and an application for Macomb County’s program can be found here. A promotional video featuring County Executive Mark Hackel is available here as well.





MSU Extension's Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference coming this September


Michigan State University Extension will host like-minded community leaders to learn and share ideas that support entrepreneurial growth throughout Michigan at this fall’s Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) Conference. The unique event offers 22 breakout sessions in local businesses with presentations led by experienced entrepreneurs or persons working in economic and community development. This allows participants to learn, and more importantly, see, feel and taste what works in any sized community. Themes for the breakout sessions include entrepreneurship, development strategies, placemaking, government collaboration, talent retention, housing and tourism.

The 2022 CEC conference will take place throughout the city of Alma on September 14-15.  Participants can register for the conference at the early bird rate of $85 through September 1. Registration includes two keynote speakers, breakfast, lunch, a networking dinner and an opportunity to participate in five breakout sessions.

This national award-winning program is open to all and geared toward community development professionals, chamber of commerce staff, DDAs, planners, Main Street, government, education and those with an interest in supporting entrepreneurial communities.

To register for this conference, go to To learn more about the upcoming program, visit the CEC webpage, follow MSU-E on Facebook or contact a team member.




Deadline approaching for MFG Day Week participation


Mark your calendars for the return of Manufacturing Day, which this year, will be celebrated for an entire week! MFG Day Week 2022 will run from October 3 through October 7 and will provide opportunities for students to tour area advanced manufacturing facilities and meet people who make things. This ultimately connects classroom to career and inspires the next generation of our workforce. 

The 9th annual event is coordinated by Macomb County Planning and Economic Development and the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD). Their goal – to have 2,000 students from all 27 Macomb County high schools participate. It’s a big lift, which is why organizers are looking to lock in host sites by August 12. Are you interested in joining the effort? Learn more and sign up to get involved here.





Save the Date(s)



Sprint & Splash

Saturday, August 13 
Lake St. Clair Metropark 
Registration now open here!



Macomb Business Awards

Thursday, September 22
The Emerald Theatre
Tickets available soon!




Macomb in the News


Macomb County adds attorney for Community Mental Health

Macomb County exec named grand marshal for Clinton Twp. Gratiot Cruise





Macomb Business Blog


Velocity Center makes its identity and goals crystal clear

Local company wins 3D printer during pitch competition