Seeds for Change: Growing Local Prosperity
Washtenaw County Board of County Commissioners gets help from local leaders to pursue employment and economic development through a new commercial kitchen incubator and job training project. We are seeking input from residents interested in starting food-related businesses.
We are exploring a workforce development program that will provide training for unemployed workers and place them in jobs in the agribusiness and food services. To help us identify needs and opportunities for trained workers, we ask that you take a few minutes to respond to this CONFIDENTIAL survey. You will also be able to receive information as we move forward with this project by supplying your contact information. Take the Employer Survey!
A survey has been developed to identify regional demand for a commercial kitchen incubator facility and services. Help us respond to the community's needs and tell us what you think -- Take the Tenant Survey! ¡Tome la encuesta!
- Provide meaningful jobs for chronically unemployed workers in the growing agribusiness and food service sector, with opportunities to advance into other full-time employment opportunities.
- Improve health and nutrition for local low-income residents through the production of and access to local food.
- Improve the economic climate in the county by fostering agri-business economic development.
A new approach is needed to engage longtime impoverished residents who have not been successful in traditional workforce development and human service efforts to transition them out of poverty and into full employment. The Governor is looking for innovative strategies to address the income/employment needs of this population and Michigan Economic Development Corporation has offered to pilot a project in Washtenaw County.
Poverty and unemployment are on the rise in Washtenaw County and throughout the state. The state legislature’s recent action to limit cash assistance will create even more need in the community.
Other important goals include: enriching local sustainability efforts, including the burgeoning small-scale agribusiness industry in and around Ypsilanti and throughout Washtenaw County; and improving health and nutrition outcomes for local low-income residents.
Leadership Task Force
Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, Alicia Ping
Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Jim Durian, MEDC Talent Enhancement
Washtenaw County Workforce Development Board, Cindy Harrison WDB Chair
Food Gatherers, Eileen Spring, President/CEO
Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, Paul Saginaw
Food System Economic Partnership, Rodger Bowser
Ann Arbor SPARK, Lori Emerson, Incubator Manager
City of Ypsilanti, Paul Schreiber, Mayor
Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Area Chamber of Commerce, Andy LaBarre, VP of Government Relations
Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, Neel Hajra, Chief Operating Officer
United Way of Washtenaw County , Debbie Jackson, Director of Community Investment
Washtenaw Community College, Rose Bellanca, President
Eastern Michigan University , David Mielke, Dean Business School,
Eastern Michigan University, Larry Gates, Director of Dining Services
University of Michigan representative, TBD
Private sector representative (2), TBD
At-large representative (2),TBD
Amanda Edmonds, Growing Hope
Charlie Penner, Small Business & Technology Development Center
Eileen Spring, Good Gatherers
Frank Gublo, Michigan State University
Jennifer Fike, Food System Economic Partnership
Jim Durian, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Mary Jo Callan, Washtenaw County
Michelle Mueller, Washtenaw Community College
Rana Al-Igoe, Washtenaw County
Sandra Cochran, Small Business & Technology Development Center
Sharon Sheldon, Washtenaw County
Susan Sweet Scott, Washtenaw County
Teresa Gillotti, Washtenaw County
Tyne Lucas, Washtenaw County
Tony VanDerworp, Washtenaw County
Shared commercial kitchen space/ incubator and potentially acreage for food production.
Business support for local agri-business entrepreneurs.
Job training and placement to low income youth and chronically unemployed workers.
Supportive services to trainees to increase job retention.
Promote agri-business economic development.
Promote health and nutrition
Check out our recent powerpoint presentation HERE.
For more information, contact:
Mary Jo Callan
Director of Community & Economic Development