FRIDAY, May 29 — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created a new advisory board today geared toward growing Michigan’s workforce as businesses work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We must all work together to ensure paths to opportunity for everyone,” Whitmer said. “This board will be vital in continuing our efforts to grow both our workforce and our economy.”
Whitmer said the 24-member board, created under another executive order, will work to ensure Michiganders can acquire the skills and credentials needed to secure and advance in jobs that provide family-sustaining wages and help Michigan “succeed in a global economy.”
“Preparing the state’s workforce for jobs of the future and making sure that Michigan wins on talent will be incredibly important as we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Jeff Donofrio, the director of the state’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.
Whitmer was required to establish the board under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Today’s executive order abolishes the existing workforce development board, the Michigan Future Talent Council, and creates the Michigan Workforce Development Board.
Its members act as advisers to assist Whitmer in developing a four-year plan toward helping at least 60% of the state’s workforce get a college degree or certification over the next 10 years. The support is vital as Michigan looks to restart its economy amid the pandemic, Whitmer said.
Among its members: Matthew Wesaw, of Lansing, the tribal council chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and chairman of the Pokagon Gaming Authority Board. Both houses of the state Legislature will be tasked with appointing a member to the board as well.
Whitmer didn’t offer specifics today, but in response to questions from reporters had said that additional segments of the economy could reopen on a limited basis within the next week.
In an effort to help safely reengage the economy and allow Michiganders to track potential COVID-19 symptoms, state departments have launched the MI Symptoms Web Application.
Designed primarily for employers and employees, the online tool is also available to all Michigan residents. The idea: Users enter information daily to help identify symptoms that might be caused by the virus and to make decisions about when to seek appropriate medical care.
Health officials will also use the data to identify the potential for new outbreaks of the disease.
Users are asked to enter basic physiological data — like the presence of fever or other COVID-19 symptoms. Security efforts are in place to protect personal information and users are not tracked by GPS through their phone using Bluetooth or GPS, state officials emphasized.
Whitmer warned yesterday that Michigan will have to dramatically cut spending and services if the federal government doesn’t send block grants to Michigan and other states facing massive budget shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports from Bridge Magazine.
Michigan faces a budget shortfall of $3.2 billion this fiscal year and $3 billion in the next fiscal year as tax collections drop and unemployment payments skyrocket due to the coronavirus. The total shortfall is more than half of the $11 billion general fund budget for this fiscal year.
Attorney General Dana Nessel threw support behind several Democrat-introduced bills today aimed at improving workplace safety.
Those bills include:
Whitmer also signed an executive order this week to extend the deadline for Michigan residents to pay back taxes and avoid foreclosure on their property during the pandemic to June 29, 2020 — yet another extension to an already extended deadline of May 29, 2020 set in a prior order.
Federal officials are allowing United Airlines to suspend service to Lansing through Sept. 30, according to reports in the Lansing State Journal. United Airlines cited plummeting demand because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
It's not clear how soon United will choose to halt its trips from Lansing to Chicago.
East Lansing Mayor Ruth Beier extended today the city’s state of emergency through June 12. Most city offices, including the 54B District Court, will remain closed during this time while essential services continue to be maintained, including police, fire, EMS, trash and recycling.
City Hall will reopen on June 15. Starting Monday (June 1), residents with billing questions can reach the Treasury Department from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday by calling (517) 337-1731. The DPW recycling drop-off site will also remain closed until further notice.
The Hannah Community Center and Prime Time Seniors Program reopens July 13. The East Lansing Public Library plans to begin curbside delivery June 22 and reopen July 13.
Starting June 7, the East Lansing Farmers Market will open for its 2020 season on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Oct. 25 at Valley Court Park. Staff have implemented several necessary safety precautions for sanitation and distancing at the market.
Families who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can now buy their food online from two national retailers. Additionally, the state is rolling out some new “quarantine care kits” with essential goods for low- and moderate-income families in quarantine or isolation.
Those families receiving benefits may now buy food online at Amazon.com and Walmart.com using their Electronic Benefits Transactions or Bridge cards. Delivery fees cannot be paid using SNAP benefits. Curbside pickup is available at Walmart.
In the numbers…
Eight new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Greater Lansing today, with no additional deaths tracked since yesterday. The regional death toll stands at 41 with 1,059 confirmed cases. At least 563 of those patients have fully recovered across Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties.
Michigan tracked at least another 607 coronavirus statewide cases this afternoon with another 34 virus-related deaths, pushing the case count past 56,500 with more than 5,400 reported dead. About 59% of those cases, or 33,168 patients, have tracked a full recovery from the virus.
Cases — 735 (+6)
Recovered Cases — 400
Recovery Rate — 54.4%
Deaths — 25 (No change)
Fatality Rate — 3.4%
As of this afternoon, zip code 48911 tracks 221-230 cases. Zip code 48910 tracks 81-90 cases. Zip code 48823 tracks 71-80 cases. Zip code 48854 and 48906 tracks 51-60 cases. Zip code 48864 tracks 41-50 cases. Zip codes 48842 and 48912 each track 31-40 cases. Zip code 48915 tracks 21-30 cases. Zip codes 48917, 48840, and 48895 each track 11-20 cases. Zip codes 48285, 48819, 48827, 48892, 48933, 49251, 49264 and 49285 each track 10 cases or fewer.
Cases — 185 (+2)
Recovered Cases — 163
Recovery Rate — 88%
Deaths — 6 (No change)
Fatality Rate — 3.3%
Cases — 139 (No change)
Deaths — 10 (No change)
Fatality Rate — 7.2%
The Mid-Michigan County Health Department does not report recovery statistics.
Cases — 56,621 (+607)
Recoveries — 33,168 (as of 5/22/20)
Recovery Rate — 58.6%
Deaths — 5,406 (+34)
Fatality Rate — 9.5%
Cases — 1,734,986
Deaths — 102,286
Fatality Rate — 5.9%
As of today, Michigan reports the eighth most cases of any state, behind New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Texas. Michigan ranks fifth in the country in virus-related deaths, behind New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.