Providing resources for communities and entrepreneurs to create and retain jobs in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan & Emmet Counties.

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    The Mobile CNC FAB LAB Launch

    Several hundred individuals participated in the launch of the CNC Mobile Lab Ribbon Cutting at North Central Michigan College in March. After repeatedly hearing area manufacturers indicate the urgent need for employees with Computer Numeric Control (CNC) skills, Northern Lakes Economic Alliance was anxious to find a solution. By developing a mobile lab, the unit can travel throughout the region and service manufacturing facilities and schools in a much broader area. This is a model that can be implemented throughout rural Michigan. After learning about a new Mobile Manufacturing Lab operating in Wisconsin, Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) staff traveled to Wisconsin and toured the mobile lab. They were so impressed; the NLEA immediately started an effort to develop a similar program to serve northern Michigan. The initial visit began a two year journey leading to the mobile CNC “Fab Lab” launch.

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    Manufacturing Skills Training Now Available

    ACAT Global, a partner of Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, has been collaborating with Baker College, Northwestern Michigan College, and North Central Michigan College to expand educational and job training opportunities in Manufacturing throughout Northern Michigan. Baker College, along with Charlevoix High School, started an advanced manufacturing and CNC (Computer Numerical Control) program this past fall at the Charlevoix High School manufacturing lab.

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    Short’s Brewing Company Continues to Grow

    Short’s Brewing Company is initiating expansion plans in two locations. This project is expected to total $1.2 million and create 18 new jobs. The Northern Lakes Economic Alliance has been working with the company and communities on these projects for the past several months and has been hired by the Village of Bellaire to assist in administering the CDBG grant.

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    Community Receives $583,519 Downtown Grant

    Boyne City will soon see several upgrades and it won't cost taxpayers another dime. The city's Part I application for the 2013 Downtown Infrastructure Grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation was approved and the grant total is $583,519. “These grants will improve Michigan downtowns and spur additional economic growth in the surrounding areas,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “The DIG program helps make our communities more attractive for investments that create places where people want to live, work and play.”

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    Entrepreneurs Win With Business Resource Center Grand Opening!

    Through the cooperative efforts of several organizations, Northern Michigan’s unique Business Resource Center (BRC) Network has expanded. On Friday, January 24th, a Grand Opening was held at the North Central Michigan College library. NCMC became the 10th BRC in Northern Michigan’s four county region, which includes Emmet, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Antrim counties. The event was hosted by Tom Erhart Entrepreneurship Director at Northern Lakes Economic Alliance and featured NCMC President Cameron Brunet-Koch and Terence O’Neil from the MSU Business library.

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    Public Outdoor Recreation Grants Available

    Now is the time to be thinking about outdoor recreation projects in your community and how to get grant dollars from the MI DNR. Development and acquisition projects can receive grant funding from $7,500 to $300,000 through three different programs with a match of as little as 25%. Don't wait...application deadline is April 1, 2014.

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    CNC Training Right at Your Doorstep

    Our new Mobile Digital Fabrication Lab to be known as the “Fab Lab” is being built in Southeastern Michigan and will be delivered to Northern Michigan in February. North Central Michigan College will own and operate the Mobile Lab which will deliver Computer Numeric Control (CNC) training to high school and college students, manufacturing employees and those seeking to gain a marketable skill leading to high-paying career jobs.

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    Michigan Business Network Radio Hosted by Andy Hayes

    Northern Lakes Economic Alliance; President, Andy Hayes interviews experts on timely topics to put the spotlight on several business leaders who are making a difference in their communities.

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    Precision Edge To Hire 30 New Employees

    Precision Edge, a medical instruments manufacturer in Boyne City, with headquarters in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan, took the lead in supporting the funding of a Mobile Digital Fabrication Lab in Northern Michigan. North Central Michigan College agreed to own and manage the Mobile Digital Fabrication Lab and provide the CNC training to accompany it. They were awarded a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the MEDC, with the commitment to hire an additional 30 employees and invest $2 million in their Boyne City business. Charlevoix County was the actual applicant for this grant and will receive and pass along the funds to Precision Edge when they meet their objectives. Representatives from Precision Edge, NLEA and NCMC traveled to Lansing to receive the approval for this grant.

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    New Mobile CNC Lab Hires Director

    In collaboration with its Manufacturing Advisory Team partners, North Central Michigan College hired a new director for the Mobile Digital Manufacturing Lab, the “FAB LAB”. Kevin Glines has been selected to lead this new and innovative program.

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    ACAT Global to Invest $7M & Train 100 New Employees

    Advanced Clean Air Technologies (ACAT) Global in Charlevoix’s Marion Township recently acquired three additional companies; Oliver Racing Parts, ACAT Canadian Co. and California Coating Technology. Over the next couple years, they plan to invest $7,000,000 in the company to include such new equipment and expansion of their current office space. The investment and expansion will necessitate the hiring of 100 new employees. In addition to all the new jobs, this investment is expected to generate $230,000 in new taxes over the next 12 years.

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    Training for In-Demand Jobs Planned for 44 Northern Michigan Employees

    Ryba Marine Construction, of Cheboygan, and Moran Iron Works, of Onaway, have received Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF) grants, which is intended to provide needed training for in-demand jobs. The STTF is 2014’s $10 million employer-driven training funds to be obligated by September 30, 2014. The grant programs are administered by the Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium.

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    "Fab Lab" Becoming a Reality

    Manufacturers in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan have expressed an urgent need for trained Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machine tool operators. To solve this challenge, a collaborative effort was started to bring a unique way of training students and potential manufacturing employees to Northern Michigan. Patterned after a successful program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, a Mobile Digital Manufacturing Lab was envisioned to travel to high schools in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties, which would provide much needed training to students interested in high-tech manufacturing as a career path. In addition, this Mobile Lab will provide on-site training at the manufacturing facilities in this region.

NLEA Service Provider Program

Time is Running out to Participate in the NLEA Service Provider Program
Contact Tom Erhart at the NLEA Today!

The Service Provider Program is designed to assist Clients/Entrepreneurs in paying for services which are inhibiting them from moving forward with establishing or expanding their business. As an example: attorney fees, CPA fees, accountant fees, architectural fees, marketing/website development fees and such fees associated with the business endeavor. Qualifying clients then receive these services at one-quarter of the typical price by working with an approved provider, who agrees to work at one-half of their typical rate. That rate is then split between the Client and the NLEA. Funds to provide these services are thanks to a generous donation from the Charlevoix County and Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundations.

The program is designed for specific projects and needs of the Client, not on-going services. For example, a Client needing help setting up their books could be an eligible activity, rather than on-going bookkeeping work.

Any Client or potential client of the NLEA business counseling program is eligible for this program. All participants must be approved prior to starting the program. Click here for a printable flyer about the program.