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Five ways to wow members: take a look at some of the work the Chamber is most proud of.

We improved the region's workforce

The Southeast Michigan WIRED Partnership got its program to help transform the region's economy off the ground after the first of the year, following approval of our action plan by the program's funding source, the U.S. Department of Labor, in December. Our plan funds initiatives in three areas intended to help spark economic transformation in the region: Workforce Development, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development based on promoting Innovation.

Twenty-five schools in the region will participate in Project Lead the Way, which is a nationally recognized, applied math and science curriculum. WIRED funds were used to train teachers at Eastern Michigan University over the summer, and they are now using the curriculum in their schools.

A state-wide internship program is being developed to help connect college students to employment opportunities in Michigan before students decide to leave the state.

The Chamber also secured a one year, $100,000 Skillman grant and engaged a contractor to begin working full time to create business partnerships with schools in Detroit.

For more information, visit www.detroitchamber.com and click on workforce.

We brought young professionals into the conversation

If a theme came out of this year's Mackinac Policy Conference, it was the importance of the young talent in the region. So it came as no surprise that the Mackinac Policy Conference attendees from Fusion, the Chamber's young professional program, were welcome participants on the last day of the conference before hosting their own YP track on Saturday.

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This was the first time that this generation was given such a strong presence and the opportunity to interact with key decision makers, and those who attended deemed the Mackinac Policy Conference Fusion track a resounding success. Each of the sessions provided an engaging and, insightful view into the needs of today's young professionals for the business owners and reporters present. Four priority areas emerged from the discussions: transit, leadership development, jobs and the image of the region. Fusion is currently planning follow up forums that will dive further into these priorities areas and involve the greater community.

For more information, visit www.fusiondetroit.org.

We attracted new business and money to the region

By meeting with over 2,000 companies a year from around the world, the economic development arm of the Chamber is making great progress in strengthening and diversifying our economy. As a unique example of the region's public and private sectors working together to improve Southeast Michigan's overall economy, the Partnership's business attraction efforts are paying off in the fields of automotive research, design and marketing; alternative energy; life sciences; advanced manufacturing; and transportation research, development and logistics.

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The results include new jobs for residents and additional tax base for the region. During the 2007-08 program year, the Partnership assisted 67 companies in either locating or expanding in the Detroit Region, representing a total of 2 billion in new business and 1,500 new jobs for the region. These new jobs, along with the spin-off jobs created, will bring $204 million of purchasing power annually into the region's economy.

This regional approach to economic development has brought significant economic benefit to our entire community.

For more on the partnership's impacy, visit www.detroitchamber.com/drep.

We mobilized our membership to affect change

On October 1, 2007, the Michigan legislature and Governor Granholm passed a sales tax on numerous business services literally in the dark of night. This action took place without holding committee meetings or acknowledging the concerns of the business community. The tax would have severely impacted the cost of doing business in Michigan through both direct and indirect costs. Our government relations team immediately went to work, helping form a coalition of business organizations to 'Ax the Tax.' They were at the table with leadership in Lansing working to repeal the tax and find a budget-balancing solution without additional anti-business ramifications.

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As the days drew closer to the scheduled December 1, 2007 implementation date, Chamber staff set up a phone bank and called over 2,100 members who would have been negatively impacted by the tax. Members generated upwards of 3,000 e-mails to their legislators urging them to repeal this tax.

The action of the entire Chamber team in opposition to this business killing proposal truly signaled the commitment of our staff to work together in support of our members. As a result of these efforts, the tax was repealed--businesses were not forced out of state and thousands of jobs were saved.

For more information on other Chamber advocacy efforts, visit www.vote4biz.com.

We created a groundbreaking new forum for small business owners

The Chamber debuted its latest benefit for members at a reception in May. The Detroiter Online is an interactive online community that features Detroiter articles and web exclusives, a free classifieds service to sell unwanted items and promote member-to-member discounts and discussion forums where members can exchange best practice advice and discuss regional issues.

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Members can submit their own articles and vote for and comment on other articles and submit press releases and event listings. The site includes a comprehensive photo gallery of various Chamber events from around the region, and members can also send in their own photos from events for inclusion.

The Detroiter Online offers exclusive coverage of Chamber events, such as the Mackinac Policy Conference, and access to the eDetroiter Weekly's polls and articles.

With eventual capabilities to syndicate member-generated blogs, this Web 2.0-style internet community offers a first-of-its-kind forum for members to interact with each other.

See for yourself at www.detroiteronline.com.
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Title Annotation:YEAR IN REVIEW
Publication:Detroiter
Geographic Code:1U3MI
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Words:935
Previous Article:A year in review: keeping members posted on our progress.
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