Category: Business - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins
Centric Design Studio was selected to design and build the main floor at Tech Town. A process that started in May with responding to the public Request for Proposals from Tech Town, resulted in Centric Design Studios being awarded a contract in which the firm will design and construct a roughly 20,638 square foot office space.
“All of Tech Town’s operations will be on the first floor, enabling Tech Town to hold larger events,” said co-owner Saudra Little, “we are very excited about the project.”
Little and her partners at Centric Design beat out several highly qualified firms to secure the contract.
“Centric offered a whole series of competitive ideas and qualities that we looked for. They had competitively-priced bid, minority business which is line with our mission, and Detroit based,” commented Leslie Smith, president and CEO of Tech Town, “[The company] is actually graduate of Tech Town programs. [With this contract], they’ve come full circle.
Saundra Little and her partners Damon Thomas and Chris Bruner were all students at Lawrence Technological Institute in Southfield. In 2008, after being laid off within two weeks of each other, the trio decided to embark on a full time venture, and thus Centric Design Studio was born.
Little is the Architect, Thomas is the Design Director and Bruner is the Urban Planner. Together, they have worked on a multitude of projects, including: Wayne County Justice Complex, DMC’s Cardiovascular and Multispecialty Building, Northeast Guidance Center, New Baptist Church in Inkster, among many others. Their projects range from $160,000 to $500 million. Taking advantage of technological advances, Centric offers their clients a 3-dimensional look at the total space, affording their clients an opportunity to get a feel for the space. In addition, Centric Design Studio is committed to developing eco-friendly, LEED-certified buildings. Their portfolio is extensive.
“Saundra and her partners are qualified and seasoned architects,” Smith said regarding Centric Design Studio.
Follow Amber L. Bogins on Twitter @AmberLaShaii
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 12:03
Category: Business - Original Written by Cornelius Fortune
VOLUNTEERS help to load some e-clutter items.
Think of it this way: there’s always clutter around you, and in the digital world, this holds as true as in the real world.
eTitle Agency, Inc. in Troy, recently announced that the E-Clutter for Kids Recycling Program’s Spring Drive will run through the end of June, providing people the ability to donate electronic waste that will later be re-purposed or recycled. Each tax-deductible donation benefits the Beaumont Children’s Hospital’s First Words Society, a nonprofit organization and affiliate of The Children’s Miracle Network, providing treatment scholarships for under-served children with speech and language disorders.
eTitle has been involved with this program for the past two years, helping to raise over $20,000 in donations. During the first E-clutter drive, volunteers at drop-off locations across Metro Detroit filled 10 semi trucks, six dumpsters and recycled more than 100,000 pounds of potentially toxic waste material that would have ended up in landfills.
People interested in donating their unwanted electronics can drop them off at Statewide Recycling & Recovery, 40251 Schoolcraft, Plymouth, MI. Make sure to mention the donation is being made as part of the Beaumont E-Clutter program. Additionally, companies or individuals that have large donations may arrange for a pickup by contacting Statewide Recycling at (734) 453-0600.
“This program has so many positive benefits,” said eTitle CEO Linda Orlans, who is also a founding member and president of the First Words Society. “It’s the environmentally correct way to dispose of electronic waste, participants get a tax deduction for getting rid of unwanted stuff and, most importantly, money is raised to help support the needs of speech and language-challenged children.”
For more information, contact Katie Groves at (248) 551-3609.
Last Updated on Monday, 01 April 2013 18:57
Who's Who in Black Detroit: Legal Aid CEO believes that all people should have access to legal representation
Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
(Photo: Deierdre L. Weir, president and chief executive office, Legal Aid Defender Association.)
For close to three decades, Deierdre L. Weir, president and chief executive officer of Legal Aid and Defender Association (LAD), Inc., has successfully headed Michigan’s oldest and largest non-profit public interest law firm. Her success is based on the premise that all people – regardless of their socioeconomic status – should have access to legal advice, counsel and representation in civil and criminal matters on both state and federal levels.
To effectively operate LAD, Weir oversees an annual budget in the neighborhood of $18.5 million that allows the organization to render legal services to about 12,000 cases annually in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb Counties and the Eastern District of Michigan. In addition, she renders great leadership to approximately 140 employees, the majority of whom are attorneys and other legal personnel.
Interestingly, Weir is not an attorney, yet she is a national trendsetting executive in the field of law. Weir explains that many similar law firms across the country are beginning to look at non-lawyers as chief executive officers to oversee respective firms. “One reason is because there needs to be a skill-set that lawyers don’t typically bring in terms of efficiently and effectively managing a law firm as a business,” says Weir. “So more than 25 years ago, my board decided that it wanted me to run the business aspect of LAD.”
While Weir’s job is extremely demanding, she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love the work that I do and the people I do it for … as well as the people I work with,” says Weir. “I always wanted to work in a non-profit or educational environment where I knew I could make a real difference.”
Prior to serving as LAD’s top officer, Weir was a special education teacher in the state of California, as well as owned a private practice in speech-language pathology. To prepare for what has been a fulfilling career, she earned a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Michigan, and holds two master’s degrees: speech and language pathology (the University of California Santa Barbara) and human resources administration (Central Michigan University.)
Weir has a great love for education and teaching, but saw a greater need to help people who could not afford legal representation. Ultimately, LAD won out over teaching. “When you think about how important the legal system is and how important it is for people who can’t afford legal assistance to have access to justice, it poses a great challenge,” says Weir, the mother of one adult son. “So my experience at Legal Aid and Defender Association has been a constant reminder that lives can be hanged for the better or worst based on what happens when a person is in the legal system.”
While Weir is constantly busy with executive responsibilities pertaining to LAD, she makes time to give back to the community and her church. She is most committed to Black United Fund (BUF), where she serves as a board member. In addition, she is a trustee and serves on numerous committees at Plymouth United Church of Christ. One of her greatest passions is mentoring and empowering women. In 2011 Weir authored the riveting fictional novel, “Women are Like Teabags.” She is working on a follow-up to the novel due out in the summer of 2013.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 00:00
Category: Business - Original Written by Patrick Keating
Individuals age 18-24 who live in Detroit, Highland Park or Hamtramck; and who are chronically unemployed or had been formerly incarcerated, can enroll in a free program to help them get a job and learn a skill.
The program is called Earn and Learn and is being offered through the Dearborn-based non-profit organization, ACCESS. Training sessions begin monthly. The next class starts Monday, April 1.
According to Hassan Bazzi, the ACCESS Earn and Learn program coordinator, the program started at the end of summer 2011 and the first work readiness class began in September 2011.
Bazzi said the program is a partnership between private foundations and the state. ACCESS is the service provider.
“The private foundations don’t deliver these types of programs; they basically put up the money,” Bazzi said.
He also said the target population are people disconnected from employment and training.
“So they could be folks who never completed high school, or completed high school and never had an education beyond that,” Bazzi said. “And also folks that are disconnected from employment.”
People disconnected from employment could either be those who’d never had any work experience or those who’d been unemployed for some time. According to Bazzi, someone would have to be unemployed for six months or more to be considered chronically unemployed.
Bazzi said there’s probably an even split between participants who are chronically unemployed and those who’d formerly been incarcerated.
He also said not everyone who comes into the program qualifies.
As an example, he said someone who’s had two semesters of college or has held stable employment wouldn’t qualify because he or she isn’t disconnected from employment or training.
Bazzi said ACCESS didn’t make the decision to limit participants to 18-24 year-olds in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park. Rather, that was part of the design of the program. He also said he’s familiar with Earn and Learn programs out of both Flint and Saginaw.
The first stage of the program is work readiness training, which takes place in Hamtramck for four weeks, Monday- Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Bazzi said participants learn employability skills, such as how to put together a resume, and how to conduct themselves at job interviews. They also learn what’s expected of them in the workplace.
“We focus on attitude, attendance and appearance,” he said. “So one of the main focuses during those four weeks is to get individuals back into a structured environment and reporting at a specific time every morning.”
He added that they’re very strict on attendance, saying participants are limited in the amount of times they can be absent or tardy in the four weeks.
Bazzi added that during those four weeks, the participants also obtain three industry-recognized certifications: an OLHSA 10 hour certification, a CPR first aid certification; and a customer service certification.
He added that participants are being prepared for entry-level positions across various sectors.
“We focus on opportunities that are in demand,” he said. “There are jobs in the transportation industry; there are retail jobs; we’re working with various recycling centers, so there are green jobs. There are manufacturing positions, general labor. So it really runs the gamut. It’s all across various sectors. But primarily they are entry-level positions.”
He said the idea is to get your foot in the door and build your way up from there.”
Tony Smith recruits clients for the program. He said he approaches doing so from a couple of different levels. The first is the grassroots level.
“I identify places that might be high traffic places that come into contact with people,” Smith said. “So those are places like gas stations, libraries, barber shops, supermarkets. And I post fliers.”
Another level involves developing a “pipeline” by going to different organizations and institutions which serve populations that would benefit from the Earn and Learn program. Smith said that involves him going to places like the Department of Human Services, various shelters, or other such institutions that serve young people who would benefit from the program.
According to Bazzi, two classes run concurrently. Each class has 30 participants. Once participants finish that first four-week work readiness class, they’ll receive their certifications and earn a $250 stipend. Then they enter the next phase of the program, which is employment and training.
Participants must be at a sixth grade level or higher in reading and math to get into the program.
“Once they finish the four weeks, if they have tested at sixth grade to eight point five, the they’re required to go into another component of training which helps raise their grade levels,” Bazzi said.
This other component would either be a program called Skills at work, or Fast Track, which is offered at Focus: HOPE.
“A lot of employers conduct employment tests and the base level is eighth grade,” Bazzi said. “So they’re requiring individuals to test at least at eighth grade.”
He said by sending them to these program, they’re trying to get them to raise their grade levels, so they can pass the employment tests.
Bazzi said Skills at Work is offered at some job sites, which means participants don’t have to leave work to go to training.
He said the short-term goal is for the program to get renewed. Right now it’s a pilot program that ends in December.
Bazzi also said one objective of the Earn and Learn program is to get participants who don’t have a high school diploma or GED into GED prep classes, so they can earn their diploma or GED.
Another objective is to get them to go into vocational training, so they can earn a certificate that’s recognized by an industry, and subsequently make a higher-paying wage.
Bazzi said they want everyone who comes into the Earn and Learn program to be in a better position six months or a year after starting the program.
Last Updated on Friday, 29 March 2013 08:40
Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
Have you ever wondered if credit repair was something you needed? And if so, should you learn to do it yourself or hire a professional?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. Following are insights on both options that may clear up some things about credit repair.
According to the Federal Trade commission (FTC) “everything a credit repair professional does legally to remove negative items from your credit report you can do yourself” and while that is agreed upon with the FTC, most consumers do not have the time, patience or know how to repair their own report, which is what makes credit repair specialist so attractive. You know you could change your own oil in your car, but one thing for sure is that most people will not do it.
Although some things are done better yourself, only you can determine if doing your own credit repair will work for you, which is why understanding the advantages of both sides is important.
1) REFERENCES: Any legitimate company or professional should be able to provide you with a least six references, and if local you should be able to call them. Ask friends or family members if they know a credit professional or company that has had positive results. Also, if your credit repair specialist is not attorney assisted or supervised, it may take longer to improve your credit rating since all correspondence will be looked at by clerks, not by decision makes.
2) CONTRACT: Unlike painting a house or doing some handy work, credit repair or restoration will vary in results of a very broad scale. Therefore, the use of a contract is important. Most likely your credit issues did not occur overnight and they will not be improved overnight. A good contract protects you as well as the credit professional or company by outlining what is to be expected from the service you are paying for.
3) PAYMENT: Those companies or individuals that have a monthly fee are falling well within the guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that regulates credit repair professions and companies in mandating that payment be made after work is complete with the exception of an initial nominal set up fee.
4) CUSTOMIZATION: The most advanced and successful credit restoration practice is to customize all dispute letters and not use “boiler plate” correspondence. While this is the most effective approach, it normally comes with a higher cost.
If you cannot find someone to meet all the above criteria, then it is suggested that you take matters into your own hands and learn all you can to repair your own credit like a professional.
If you want to learn more or receive a free credit repair book, go to: www.goodcreditnow.com.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 00:00
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!
- Detroit Begins A New Chapter as Detroit Bankruptcy is Allowed to Proceed (1)
- Joyce Hayes Giles retires after 35 years with DTE (2)
- Sarah Palin accuses Obama of Libya ‘shuck and jive’ (1)
- Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy, pension cuts (2)
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network among lowest priced health plans on Michigan’s ACA health insurance marketplace (1)