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Planning and Economic Development

 Focus Macomb


October 2022

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Message from Vicky Rowinski





Welcome to our Macomb County Business Insider! 

One question we always seem to be asked is what is happening in Macomb County? 

The challenge to this response is, where do we start?  Our Planning and Economic Development team is constantly on the go, and I promise you there is an art to their "spinning plates." Behind the scenes, everything we touch, including this newsletter, requires planning and flows into a bigger strategy that keeps the Macomb County engine running.

Whether it is planning for our 10th annual Macomb Business Awards celebration or reaching out to host sites for the biggest Manufacturing Day showing, our department is deeply committed to the success of these programs.  

In each edition of the Business Insider, you will receive a snapshot on what is trending in Macomb County, hear news on expansion projects, and learn more about developments and events coming to your community. 

But more importantly, you will see our five core values in action: 

  • Teamwork
  • Passion
  • Making a Difference
  • Respect for people
  • Integrity

We have a phenomenal team dedicated to making our communities thrive and our businesses grow. Through these efforts, we are happy to report a post-pandemic recovery rate at 94% and unemployment holding below 4%. These are strong indicators that we are in a resilient market. But just like the spinning plates, we are always keeping a watchful eye on economic trends. There will be more to come on our economic development action plan in 2023, but please enjoy this edition and please reach out if we can provide a helping hand for your business.


Vicky Rowinski
Director – Macomb County Planning and Economic Development


Recent Successes

Eclipse Mold gains an apprenticeship program - and so can you


Eclipse Mold, a mold-making and related services company located in Clinton and Chesterfield townships, recently launched a state-approved apprenticeship program.

In recognition of the alarming number of highly qualified toolmakers set to retire across the region, the company took a proactive approach to “growing their own” workforce.

According to Karen Helfrick of Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, “It takes anywhere from one to six months to establish a registered apprenticeship with the U.S. Department of Labor. Multiple factors go into the timetable, including the type of occupation, how much time does human resources/management staff have to develop and implement the training and what level of educational support required.”

On the front end, assistance is available to help with selecting a curriculum and the associated paperwork. However, this investment in effort pays off in terms of the ability to attract new employees and retain and upskill existing workers.

So far, Eclipse Mold has hired one apprentice and is ready to hire three more.

Economic Development Specialist Hali Lenney said Macomb County is home to many popular apprenticeship programs.

“Macomb County’s most popular apprenticeship programs include CNC machinist, toolmaker, nurses aid, and medical assistant,” Lenney said. “We can help your business set up a registered apprenticeship, too.”



Economic development team helps secure tax abatement in Chesterfield Township


National Research Company (NRC) was able to expand its operation in Chesterfield Township with the help of Curt Chowanic, senior economic developer, who helped them secure a tax abatement.

NRC, a recycling, waste materials recovery business located in the electric, gas and sanitary services sector, was able to obtain an eight-year tax abatement, saving the company about $212,000 over the life of the term.

Chowanic assisted the company to secure an Industrial Development District (IDD) with Chesterfield Township which helped secure the tax abatement for the company from the township, The proposed 26,250-square-foot addition will expand NRC’s metal recovery and strategic minerals business and allow for the production of electric vehicle and battery ready materials. The expansion will serve as a pilot plant and testing center for new production and future expansions, allowing the company to remain competitive in the industry.

The expansion will also create 10-15 new jobs for NRC, and real and personal property investment is estimated at $2.25 million.

Businesses looking to expand or open new locations in Macomb County can always turn to MCPED and its economic development team early in the process to handle the abatement process, ensuring maximum tax savings at no cost to them.


Department Happenings

Manufacturing Day has record success


Our ninth annual Manufacturing Day event was the best year in our history.

We saw an estimated 2,455 students tour 56 different companies with 79 tours completed.

As traditional manufacturing has evolved to advanced manufacturing, Macomb County has been at the forefront of ensuring the workforce has the enhanced skill level needed to compete in a globally competitive marketplace. The county has seen a 31.8% job growth in advanced manufacturing since 2010. Manufacturing Day, which grew into Manufacturing Week this year, and the efforts made by our businesses, have created opportunities for students to see industry in action. And that has helped fuel the talent pipeline locally.

The post event surveys that students are submitting are returning positive responses. The consensus is that they loved the event, and many are considering the manufacturing field for their future careers.

Nearly 82% of the students indicated they found the tour very interesting or extremely interesting. And after experiencing their tour, more than 48% said they could definitely see themselves working in manufacturing, with an additional 40% saying that maybe they could find themselves in a manufacturing career.

As planning now begins for the 10th annual Manufacturing Day in 2023, Macomb County wants to say thank you to all of the host sites and sponsors for making this such a successful event. We hope to see you all again next year.


Jim Ahee retires


For those who may not have heard, Jim Ahee has retired from the department. Jim was with the department for 16 years, most recently as program director for Economic Development Services. 

Jim’s legacy of service was acknowledged during this year’s Macomb Business Awards, where he was honored as a “Beacon of Economic Development.” 

”Jim has been a trusted voice, a mentor, an industry expert, and most importantly a true friend,” Deputy County Executive John Paul Rea said during the awards ceremony. “From weathering economic uncertainty, to helping create a 21st century economic development strategy for Macomb, he has had a monumental impact on our community.”

Department Director Vicky Rowinski acknowledged that during Jim’s tenure, the department saw more than $4 billion in capital investments, created 15,000 new jobs and retained nearly 22,000 jobs across Macomb County. Aside from impressive expansion projects, Jim was also instrumental in other important projects, including the Tool & Die Recovery Zone and the distribution of millions of dollars in CARES Act grants to thousands of businesses. 

We wish Jim well in his retirement!


Fueling the Talent Pipeline

MCPED welcomes Jennifer Weot to lead the fueling talent pipeline program


Please join us in welcoming Jennifer Weot to our team as the new senior outreach specialist. Weot will be connecting businesses with educators to provide meaningful career exploration activities for students.​​​​

Her background is in building client relationships at Veterinary United and Baker College.  in talent acquisition, and she loves working on behalf of her community. MCPED is thrilled to have her on our team and we are so excited to see her hit the ground running. To learn more about Jennifer and this initiative, check out our latest newsletter, Talking Talent.


Explore careers in manufacturing and technology in December


Local manufacturers have the opportunity to meet with hundreds of students who will be attending the Explore Careers in Manufacturing & Technology event Thursday, Dec. 1 at the Sports and Expo Center in Warren.

Students in grades 6-12 and their parents or guardians are invited to attend the event, which  will take place between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. The Center is located at 14500 E. 12 Mile Road in Warren. It is presented by Macomb Community College along with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) partners. 

Through local businesses participating in the event, students will have the opportunity to: 

  • Learn about job skills that are in high demand
  • Hear from recent graduates who found good-paying career employment
  • Meet local businesses and learning who employers are hiring
  • Discover the career pathway that’s right for you
  • Learning about apprenticeship programs, including the Michigan Apprenticeship Program Plus (MAP+)
  • Explore apprenticeship, internships and work-based learning 

There is no cost to attend the program. Interested students can register here

If your company would like to participate in the event, you can apply by filling out this form. Companies must sign up by Nov. 11 to be in the program.

For more information, call (586) 445-7117.


Current Opportunities

Free technology assessments

Are you interested in preparing your business for the next industrial revolution - I4.0? We can assist your business with planning for the digital transformation.

The technology assessment  includes answering 40 quantitative and qualitative questions. Drawing from data and information provided by your company, our partner ranks each response according to how strong your current practices are for each category. Reach out and we can set up a meeting to discuss your business's future.

The assessments are free, and spots are still available for your company’s assessment. Contact Economic Development Senior Todd Seibert at, or


Grants to enhance worker protections

Michigan small businesses with 250 employees or less can now apply for a Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) matching grant up to $5,000 to make improvements to their workplace health and safety.

The grants will enable employers to purchase safety- and health-related equipment and training that will support safer, healthier work environments and reduce the risk of injury and illness to workers in Michigan. For more information about the MIWISH grant program and how to apply, visit


Funds available to small businesses through MI-STEP

Michigan small businesses may be eligible to receive funding through the U.S. Small Business Administration State Trade Expansion Program (MI-STEP) for the upcoming year.

Small businesses that meet eligibility requirements can gain up to $15,000 in assistance to offset 75% of approved expenses.

Some approved uses include:

  • Participation in foreign trade missions
  •  U.S. Department of Commerce services
  •  International website design, development, and translation; search engine optimization and localization maintenance and monitoring; e-commerce fees including hosting and maintenance 
  • Design and translation of international marketing media, including social media and digital ad placements 
  • International trade show participation 
  • Foreign sales trips 
  • U.S.-based international trade show participation 
  • Participation in export training workshops 

Applications are accepted through Sept. 15, 2023, for MI-STEP grants to small- and medium-sized businesses. For complete details on how companies can apply for assistance, including eligibility requirements and the application process, visit or complete the online intake form to start a conversation with an International Trade Manager.

Michigan has received $1.4 million in federal grant funds, the maximum amount awarded by the SBA – to help Michigan small businesses grow in the state through increased access to global markets. 

The Michigan Strategic Fund is providing an additional $466,666 as the state match to support MI-STEP, now in its 11th year of supporting financial assistance for exporting activities of eligible Michigan businesses. MI-STEP offers financial assistance for exporting activities to eligible Michigan small businesses, enabling access to global markets and buyers while increasing the dollar value of Michigan exports.

To date, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) MEDC’s International Trade program has facilitated more than $4.7 billion in export sales through federal and non-federally funded programs. In fiscal year 2021, export sales generated a total of $558 million for Michigan businesses working with the MEDC.


What's next?

Look for us at these upcoming events where we will be working to improve our services to Macomb County:


Macomb Business in the news

Macomb students see a future up close on Manufacturing Day

Local companies honored at Macomb Business Awards ceremony

Macomb Sees Boost in Emerging High Growth Jobs


Blogs about business

Velocity Center makes its identity and goal crystal clear

Lanzen Inc. becoming a model for fueling the talent pipeline -- introducing students to potential careers



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