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Program & Resource Update

Below is an update from Lakeshore Advantage on resources and opportunities that may be of interest to your business.  The Allegan Area Chamber of Commerce thanks Lakeshore Advantage for preparing this briefing and is proud to partner with them in sharing this information to our members and local businesses.


American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

Guidance on ARPA funding is starting to trickle out from the U.S. Department of Treasury. In the meantime, many of our local government partners have already begun preliminary discussions about how to best utilize the funding. Below are a few resources that may be helpful as you have those discussions in your community.

MI STEM Forward Internship Opportunity

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is partnering with the Ann Arbor Spark to offer post-secondary internship opportunities to students across the state of Michigan. Final details of the program are still being developed. However, students are already being encouraged to apply here.

  • Internships will last 10-12 Weeks with minimum wage of $15/hour
  • Internships must be in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics
  • Applicants will be matched with local companies offering the internships
  • MI STEM Forward hopes to be able to launch the program in the next few weeks so that students can take advantage of the paid internship opportunity over the summer. (Note: The application for employers who are interested in participating in the program is not yet available.)
  • Visit the MI STEM Forward website for more information

COVID Update & Resources
While there are preliminary signs indicating the latest COVID surge may be slowing, vaccination efforts across the state and here in West Michigan continue to increase. Recent studies have shown that employers are a more trusted source of information on coronavirus than government agencies. Therefore, the State of Michigan is asking all employers, including government and community employers, to help get the facts out about vaccination.

  • Lakeshore Advantage recently polled 15 Allegan and Ottawa County employers about their vaccination policies. Check out the attached 2021 Vaccine Policy Survey results!
  • There are a variety of tools available to help employers educate their employees on the benefits of becoming vaccinated.
  • The CDC has put together this reference tool to reinforce confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The toolkit on the Protect Michigan Commission site provides a lot of valuable information and resources for employers.
  • The Health Action Alliance has a ton of great material, including a Quick Start Guide to prepare your company for COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Meijer has released guidelines for setting up onsite vaccinations as well (see attached)
  • Vaccinate West MI and VaccineFinder websites are fantastic resources for locating a vaccine.

CDBG Water-Related Infrastructure Program

The CDBG WRI program is designed to assist Units of General Local Government (UGLGs) in making necessary improvements to their existing public infrastructure systems. Note: Projects must be located in a Community listed on the CDBG Low/Mod Income Community Customers and Project Areas list and the project must benefit the entire community. No new surveys will be accepted during the application process.

  • Apply HERE
  • The extension of existing utilities for future growth and/or transportation only projects will not be eligible. Entitlement Communities are not eligible for WRI funding. UGLGs who received a 2018 Frozen Water or 2020 Infrastructure and Resiliency Grant are not eligible to apply.
  • Deadline to Apply: May 31

Initiate Training Cohort

Communities, DDA’s and other local local small business support organization interested in increasing their support of place-based businesses at the local level will learn how to establish a consistent business retention program locally, how to use available tools to understand business needs, and where to direct businesses using an online small business learning platform offered by MEDC in partnership with Northern Initiatives, called Initiate.  Three training cohorts are being offered, including one launching in May, followed by a fall 2021 cohort and a Winter 2022 cohort. Space is limited.  For additional information and to register, visit: https://www.miplace.org/small-business/training-series/

Small Business Resources

    • Michigan Makers Go Global
      • Makers of products such as apparel, craft beer, and or other consumer goods are invited to this interactive webinar on April 28 to learn about digital strategies and resources to help expand sales online to include overseas markets. Registration is free.
    • Michigan Furniture Industry Symposium (Event: 5/13; Supplier application open to meet with buyers from Michigan and beyond)
      • MEDC’s Pure Michigan Business Connect is partnering with Lakeshore Advantage and The Right Place to host a virtual Michigan Furniture Industry Symposium, strengthening Michigan’s position as a leader in the commercial furniture manufacturing industry. This no-cost event will include an educational session on industry trends, followed by one-on-one buyer-supplier meetings to discuss procurement opportunities.
      • Suppliers can submit an application to meet with buyers at https://pmbc.connect.space/mfis/forms.
    • Consumers Energy has purchased a new online small business tool that they will be making available to all Michigan small business customers (even if they are not Consumers Energy customers).
      • Tool will provide businesses access to research and data on their specific industry and competition such as wages and demographics.
      • A webinar for small businesses interested in utilizing the tool will be held on Friday, April 23 @ 2pm; Zoom link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88571754859
    • Making It In Michigan Matchmaking (Event: 5/6; Food businesses should apply by 4/21 to meet with buyers in 1:1 meetings)
      • Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) are excited to partner with the MSU Product Center on the 2021 Virtual Making It In Michigan event.  As a part of the Making It In Michigan event, PMBC & MDARD will host one-on-one matchmaking meetings bringing together purchasers including grocers, retailers, distributors, institutional buyers, or anyone looking to procure Michigan-made food, with Michigan food and agriculture businesses from around the state – all with one common goal to strengthen Michigan’s food supply chain.  Michigan food businesses interested in getting products in front of buyers should submit an application at https://pmbc.connect.space/miim-matchmaking/forms.Consumers Energy Small Business Intel Webinar

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