Effort to observe Disability Employment Awareness Month

Effort to observe Disability Employment Awareness Month

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Press Release


CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, [email protected]

MiDDC joins national effort to observe Disability Employment Awareness Month in October

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council (MiDDC), part of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, is celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an awareness campaign that takes place each October.

The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate the public about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of all workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Advancing Access and Equity.”

Throughout October, MiDDC will be engaging in a variety of activities to educate the public on disability employment issues and its commitment to an accessible and equitable work culture. MiDDC will also coordinate with the Self-Advocates of Michigan (SAM) organization to raise awareness of how employees with disabilities contribute to their communities.

“MiDDC is proud to take part in this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” said Dr. Yasmina Bouraoui, MiDDC executive director. “This month is a celebration of the contributions of employees with disabilities, and also an opportunity to showcase how inclusion and diversity in our workforce create a stronger society that amplifies the true potential in every individual.”

Activities during Disability Employment Awareness Month include:

  • Employment Success Stories: Interviews with people with disabilities on how their experiences with competitive, integrated employment positively impacted their lives.
  • Take Your Legislator to Work: MiDDC is partnering with SAM to share firsthand employment experiences of people with disabilities. SAM members who participate in Take Your Legislator to Work will host their state legislators at their workplace to show how they contribute to their community.
  • Community Outreach: MiDDC will launch a digital awareness campaign to engage the community and promote how employment positively impacts the lives of people with disabilities. Tools and resources for employers and employees to foster a disability-inclusive workplace will be shared on its Facebook page and website. The public is invited to participate and follow on Facebook using the hashtag #NDEAM2023.

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages during October and throughout the year by visiting Michigan.gov/DDCouncil.

Effort to observe Disability Employment Awareness Month

Michigan to keep kids safer by embedding resource specialists

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Press Release


MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112, WheatonB@michigan.gov

Michigan to keep kids safer by embedding family resource specialists with child protection staff to connect Michiganders to resources
Risk of maltreatment drops as families have greater access to food, childcare aid

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will keep children at risk of neglect safer by making sure their parents are connected to department programs that can meet their basic needs.

MDHHS is announcing the Family Impact Teams project, which embeds family resource specialists with child protection and foster care staff to so they can support families in applying for benefits such as food assistance and Medicaid and connect them to other economic supports. The first phase of the project begins this month.

“Many families that come to the attention of the child protection system need help with providing their children with housing, food, health care coverage, quality childcare and other necessities so that they can be safe and healthy,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “Our family resource specialists can immediately connect them to the resources they need so their families can stay together safely. We must help families who love their children but struggle to meet their needs due to economic instability.”

Family Impact Teams are part of MDHHS’s Keep Kids Safe Action Agenda, the department’s ongoing efforts to improve the safety and well-being of Michigan children.

Family resource specialists will engage with families face-to-face, determine their eligibility for assistance programs offered by MDHHS, and refer them to other local agencies that can provide them with resources to meet the families’ needs.

“One of MDHHS’s top priorities is to remove barriers to family success,” said Lewis Roubal, chief deputy director for opportunity. “Providing additional supports to the families of at-risk children will keep them safer.”

The first phase of the project is in the following counties: Allegan, Barry, Chippewa, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Luce, Mackinac, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair and Wayne. The second phase of the project will roll out statewide throughout 2024.

There are 19 Family Impact Teams family resource specialists who are currently being trained.

“When family resources specialists visit parents along with Children’s Protective Services or foster care staff, we will provide positive support to families in need by ensuring they have access to economic resources which will help to remove financial barriers. Working with Children’s Services staff, we can provide families the support they need to remain together or the support they need for reunification,” said Amethia Sellers, who will be one of the new embedded specialists in Wayne County. “Having been a part of the foster care system as a child, I had an amazing social work team who made a difference in my life and I too want to have that same impact in the lives of others who are experiencing barriers within their lives.”

Sellers has worked for the department as an eligibility specialist for more than three years. She applied for the new position because she is excited to work with families in children services and has a background servicing children in foster care.

The Family Impact Teams approach strengthens collaboration between MDHHS’s Economic Stability Administration – which provides public benefits such as food assistance and Medicaid – and its Children’s Services Administration, which protects children and provides services to their families.

Providing childcare subsidies decreases child neglect by 31%, according to a study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, while referring homeless families to permanent housing decreases foster care placement by 50% and connecting families to food assistance decreases child maltreatment by 11%.

Family Market Days promote healthy eating

Family Market Days promote healthy eating

Oakland County’s Family Market Days promote healthy eating

Post Date:07/25/2023 11:00 AM

Pontiac, Mich. – The Healthy Oakland Partnership (HOP) encourages Oakland County residents to participate in their annual Family Market Days. Five-dollar coupons to purchase produce from local farmers are available to residents with a State of Michigan Bridge/EBT card or who are enrolled in Oakland County Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

“We are connecting residents with locally grown, fresh produce and familiarizing them with farmers markets around the county,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, director of Oakland County Department of Health and Human Services. “Family Market Day events reflect our commitment to helping increase the amount of fresh produce residents’ purchase, and they also support our local farmers.”

Family Market Day this week is 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 26 at the Oak Park Farmers Market in the Oak Park High School Parking Lot, 13701 Oak Park Blvd., Oak Park.

Coupon distribution ends 30 minutes prior to the market’s closing. Distribution is on a first-come, first-served basis. Coupons must be used during the event. No registration is necessary.

In addition to $5 coupons for produce, a variety of activities for families will be available including face-painting, a petting zoo, and prizes. Various resources will also be on-site, including breastfeeding support, and WIC Project FRESH.

WIC Project FRESH coupons will also be available at Family Market Days for eligible WIC clients – pregnant or breastfeeding women, and children ages 1-5 years old. Only one coupon book per family. No appointment is needed to attend WIC Project Fresh. Coupons are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The Oak Park Farmers Markets also offer Double Up Food Bucks, which matches money spent at a farmers market using a Bridge card/EBT up to $20.

Family Market Days are made possible in part by Henry Ford Health System, Humana, and Trinity Health.

For more information, visit www.oakgov.com/health, @publichealthOC on Facebook and Twitter, or contact Kelsey Merz at [email protected] or (248) 365-8954.

New Agreement with Ontario to Strengthen Economic Ties

New Agreement with Ontario to Strengthen Economic Ties

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July 25, 2023


Gov. Whitmer Signs New Agreement with Ontario to Strengthen Economic Ties, Support Increased Trade and Job Creation Between Countries


LANSING, Mich. — Today Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Ontario Premier Doug Ford signed a new economic agreement building on our longstanding economic relationship through a new partnership that will increase trade, attract investment, and encourage job creation in both jurisdictions. The new strategic investment and procurement agreement (SIPA) will support joint initiatives and the creation of new programs for businesses in priority areas, including electric vehicles and related supply chains.

“As home to the busiest border crossing for goods between the U.S. and Canada, Michigan and Ontario have deeply shared economic interests on issues from future mobility to agriculture,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Canada was the top destination for Michigan exports last year, putting $27 billion into our economy and creating thousands of jobs across our state. Today’s Memorandum of Understanding will reaffirm our partnership and foster greater collaboration on trade, technology, cybersecurity, agriculture, and more. Let’s continue to work together to grow our economies, invest in our people, and usher in a bright future.”

“Ontario and Michigan share deep economic ties as partners, neighbours and friends,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This agreement will help open even more opportunities to work together and drive further economic growth. As we navigate global uncertainty, now is the time to strengthen this important relationship to build our economies, further integrate our supply chains and create good-paying jobs on both sides of the border.”

The governor and premier were joined by Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Quentin L. Messer, Jr., the CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Michigan and Ontario share the busiest northern border crossing for goods in North America and are each other’s largest trading partner with total trade valued at $80.6 billion last year. Under the new Michigan-Ontario SIPA, the two jurisdictions will work together to identify opportunities for strategic partnership and joint trade promotion, improve access to information and facilitate more efficient border crossings. In addition to collaborating on electric vehicle adoption and related supply chains, other priority sectors include advanced technology, cybersecurity, agriculture and rural development, alternative clean fuels and travel and tourism.

As part of the SIPA, Michigan and Ontario will establish a Procurement Cooperation Council. The council will support an open dialogue on government procurement, improving transparency and engagement on government purchasing for businesses from both jurisdictions.


  • Michigan and Ontario have the largest trade relationship between any Canadian province and U.S. state. In 2022, over 8 per cent of the annual trade between the U.S. and Canada was between Ontario and Michigan.
  • Last year, total trade between Michigan and Ontario was valued at $80.6 billion (CDN), with imports from Michigan totaling $31.3 billion (CDN). The trade relationship between the two jurisdictions supports thousands of jobs on both sides of the border.
  • Combined, Michigan and Ontario are responsible for approximately 22 per cent of North America’s automotive output. The state and province share a highly integrated automotive supply chain, with vehicle parts crossing the border several times before rolling off the assembly line in finished vehicles.
  • On August 18, 2021, Michigan and Ontario signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the implementation of a cross-border testing environment that will further support the commercialization and adoption of auto and transportation technologies in Ontario.

To view the full MOU, please click the link below:

Michigan-Ontario Memorandum of Understanding

CNBC Ranks Michigan a Top 10 State for Business

CNBC Ranks Michigan a Top 10 State for Business

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July 12, 2023

Contact: [email protected]


ICYMI: This Just In: CNBC Ranks Michigan a Top 10 State for Business

Governor Whitmer celebrates as Michigan climbs in national economic competitiveness ranking, building on strong job growth, advanced manufacturing leadership, low cost of doing business & living


LANSING, Mich. — Yesterday, CNBC released their rankings of America’s Top States for Business in 2023. Michigan cracked the top 10 for only the second time since the list was launched, powered by strong job growth, advanced manufacturing leadership, and a low cost of doing business and living.


“Michigan is on the move and more and more people are starting to notice,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am proud that our hardworking people, innovative businesses, resilient communities, and strong protections for fundamental rights have made Michigan a top ten state for business. This is validation of what we are seeing in our communities—new manufacturing plants, housing developments, community revitalization projects, and so much more. Businesses are relocating and expanding in Michigan as we continue leading the future of advanced manufacturing, standing up for people’s rights, and making bipartisan investments in the kitchen-table issues that ensure anyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan. Let’s keep our foot on the accelerator so we can climb even higher.”


“As Team Michigan, we are proud that our efforts to grow the state’s thriving economy have been recognized with a Top 10 ranking in CNBC’s Top States for Business list,” said MEDC CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. “While encouraged, we know that our work continues. To position Michigan in the top spot, we remain resolutely committed to working alongside Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature, as well as our regional and industry partners, to build on our momentum over the last two years and ensure all Michiganders across our two peninsulas know that they can Make it in Michigan.”


Reasoning Behind Ranking Michigan as a Top 10 State for Business

CNBC lists several criteria they use to determine a state’s ranking. This includes “ten broad categories of competitiveness” and “86 metrics.” These are broad categories businesses use when making site selection decisions and states invest in to lower costs and improve quality of life for residents and businesses alike.


Michigan comes in at 10th overall, while ranking higher in two categories and making strides in others, including:

  • 6th for cost of doing business, up from 9th last year.
  • 7th for cost of living, up from 12th last year.
  • 12th for technology and innovation, up from 15th last year.
  • 15th for business friendliness, up from 20th last year.


  • The unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% in May, continuing to inch down towards the all-time recorded low of 3.2% in February 2000.
  • Since the mid-1970s, Michigan’s unemployment rate only fell below 4.0% during three periods: periodically from 1998-2000, from November 2019 to March 2020, and now, from April 2023-present.
  • The state recorded 4,440,000 payroll jobs, an increase of 15,000 over the month and 82,000 over the year.
  • Labor force participation rate climbed to 60.5 percent this month, the highest since July 2020.


A Bipartisan Budget to ‘Make it in Michigan’

A few weeks ago, the Michigan Legislature passed a balanced, bipartisan budget to lower costs, continue growing Michigan’s economy, and deliver on the kitchen-table issues that matter most to families. There were several investments in the budget powering ‘Make it in Michigan,’ a comprehensive strategy for economic development that focuses on 1) winning projects, 2) investing in people, and 3) revitalizing places. Here’s a breakdown on the investments secured in the budget to continue growing Michigan’s economy:



  • $500 million for the Make it in Michigan Fund to continue competing with other states and nations to bring home advanced manufacturing projects.
  • $350 million for the Make it in Michigan Competitiveness Fund to win federal resources from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Sciences Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • Michigan is set to receive over $1.5 billion (4th highest in the nation) through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to expand high-speed internet access to over 200,000 Michiganders in unserved and underserved areas across the state.



  • Taking the first steps towards offering Pre-K for All with a $72.6 million of the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) free preschool program for up to 5,600 kids. $230 million to expand GSRP to 5 days a week and open new classrooms.
  • $70 million to temporarily lower the age for Michigan Reconnect—tuition-free associate degrees or skills training—from 25 to 21, expanding eligibility to 350,000 people.
  • Funding the recently established Growing Michigan Together Council so they can focus on growing our population and economy while protecting our natural resources.



  • $50 million in sustainable, recurring funding for the Housing and Community Development Fund to build thousands of housing units, house thousands of families, and support thousands of jobs. Builds on $150 million investment in the fund earlier this year.
  • $50 million in sustainable, recurring funding for Revitalization and Placemaking Grants, used to make communities more attractive places to live and work by building housing, parks, and beautifying other places. This builds on $100 million investment in the program earlier this year.
  • A 5% increase in revenue sharing to help counties, cities, villages, and townships improve quality of life for residents. Additional, dedicated funds for local public safety initiatives.


Novavax COVID-19 vaccine now available for Michigan residents

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine now available for Michigan residents

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Press Release


CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, [email protected]

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine now available for Michigan residents ages 18 and older

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan residents ages 18 and older now have another COVID-19 vaccine option – Novavax – to help protect them from serious illness and death due to the virus.

On July 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for use among people ages 18 years and older for a two-dose primary series. This was followed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendation for use of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine in this population and endorsement by CDC.

“Having multiple types of vaccine offers more options and flexibility for people receiving COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “COVID-19 vaccines remain our best defense against the virus, helping prevent serious illness and death. We continue to urge Michiganders who have not yet been vaccinated to get the vaccine as soon as possible.”

The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is the first COVID-19 protein subunit vaccine recommended for use in the United States. During clinical trials, it was found to be over 90% effective in preventing serious illness from COVID-19. Adults ages 18 years and older should receive a two-dose primary series separated by three to eight weeks. A shorter interval of three weeks between the first and second doses is recommended for:

  • People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.
  • Adults ages 65 years and older.
  • In situations in which there is increased concern about COVID-19 community levels or an individual’s higher risk of severe disease.

Currently, a booster dose using any COVID-19 vaccine is not authorized for adults in this age group who receive a Novavax primary series. A limited number of doses of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed and not all providers are expected to carry Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. In Michigan, about 100,000 doses are available for order by vaccine providers. To locate providers offering Novavax, visit vaccines.gov.

To date, over 6.7 million Michiganders ages 5 and up have gotten at least their first dose of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Eligible Michiganders are encouraged to stay up to date on vaccinations, which includes booster doses that provide extra protection, and residents of long-term care facilities where outbreaks can spread quickly and extra protection is strongly recommended.

MDHHS also encourages Michigan residents to pay attention to local guidance as some communities may be at a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.

To schedule a primary or booster dose of the COVID vaccine, visit vaccines.gov.

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.

For more information about COVID-19 in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/coronavirus.