reWorking Michigan

Kevin Lavery / WKAR

On Tuesday, arts educators will come to Michigan State University for an annual breakfast meeting at the Wharton Center. 

Scott Pohl / WKAR

This week from reWorking Michigan, our Monday report looks at a program that helps Lansing high schoolers get ready for successful college careers and the jobs that follow.

Photo of Michigan apples.
courtesy / Michigan Apple Committee

Michigan apple farmers suffered their largest crop loss since the 1940's this year. Early spring warmth followed by hard frosts killed fruit tree buds. The harvest is not all in yet, but state officials predict a 90 percent reduction in apple yield. WKAR's Melissa Benmark spoke with Michigan Apple Committee executive director Diane Smith about how farmers are coping.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

This week from reWorking Michigan, our Monday report looks at efforts to promote the new Broad Art Museum at MSU as a tourist destination. Gearing up for next month’s opening of the Broad Art Museum entails much more than the completion of construction and the mounting of artworks. Getting the word out about the design by world-famous architect Zaha Hadid has been a major focus.


A recent study finds some 108,000 K-12 students in Michigan have no access to arts curriculum in their schools.  The state mandates at least one credit in the arts as a requirement to graduate.

WKAR’s Kevin Lavery looks at how those who advocate for the arts and those who regulate its instruction might fill the gap.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

This week from reWorking Michigan, our Monday report looks at caring for the elderly.         


Business leaders from more than 20 Michigan companies are traveling to China this week on a trade mission.  The six-city tour is one of the largest overseas events Michigan economic development officials have ever sponsored.  It’s an opportunity to match Michigan farmers, automakers, engineers and manufacturers with potential customers in China.

Mark Bashore / WKAR

Data often show a clear connection linking employment back to education.  In Lansing, the executives of a new public school academy are going a step further by focusing its curriculum on entrepreneurialism and leadership. 

Scott Pohl/WKAR

On this Labor Day from reWorking Michigan, our Monday report looks at the future of training in the skilled trades.

WKAR’s Scott Pohl spoke with Lawrence Hidalgo Junior, training director for the Lansing Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee.

It’s a joint program between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and NECA, the National Electrical Contractors Association. They work with young electricians to prepare them for careers in the field, both in labor and in management.

That training has evolved in recent years.

WKAR File Photo

Cities around the world are competing for new businesses and talented workers.  Lansing is no exception.  Cultural initiatives can and do play a role in economic development.  With that in mind, a new program strives to tell the stories of artists, musicians and business owners along Michigan Avenue.

WKAR/Scott Pohl

This week from reWorking Michigan, our Monday report looks at a small, family-run Lansing business that produces an all-natural gun cleaning product.

WKAR’s Scott Pohl has the story of "Gunzilla."


Immigration experts in Lansing are planning a major outreach project this week.  Starting Wednesday, thousands of undocumented immigrants in Michigan who arrived in the U.S. as children will be eligible to file for work permits. 

WKAR file photo

A new program is offering talented college grads the chance to learn entrepreneurialism on the front lines. It also aims to help perk up job creation in some of America’s most economically challenged cities, including Detroit.

Mark Bashore / WKAR

A unique mid-Michigan business is succeeding in keeping it loose at work.  Baker Drive Train in Haslett has carved out a profitable niche in the motorcycle business with cutting edge transmissions it designs and sells all over the world.  WKAR’s Mark Bashore reports on a married couple who left their buttoned-down GM jobs to embrace the rowdier culture of high performance motorcycles. 

There’s energy on the shop floor to start the workday at Baker Drive Train.  A little ‘liquid metal’ with your caffeine of choice is just the ticket for clearing out the morning cobwebs.

Kevin Lavery / WKAR

In 2007, the city of Lansing closed the Red Cedar Golf Course near the Frandor shopping center for budgetary reasons.  Now, an economic development team is studying five proposals to revitalize a portion of the 61-acre tract.  Regardless of which plan is selected, the land will undergo a major engineering project to keep pollutants from storm water runoff from spilling into the Red Cedar River.   

Scott Pohl / WKAR

A growing number of people carrying smart phones means companies that develop apps need to find skilled employees. People filling those jobs in Michigan are staying in the state, or even moving back to Michigan.

iPocrates / flickr

Last week’s historic Supreme Court decision upholding President Obama’s Affordable Care Act clears the way for some 32 million people to receive health insurance under Medicaid.  But many health experts fear there may not be enough doctors to serve everyone.  The nation is in the midst of a shortage of primary care physicians. 

In this week’s reWorking Michigan report, WKAR’s Kevin Lavery looks at how those who train tomorrow’s health care providers in mid-Michigan are getting ready for the influx of patients.

WKAR File Photo

At more than 700,000, Michigan has one of the nation’s largest military veteran populations.  That’s a number any state would be proud of.  But Michigan also has America’s highest rate of unemployed veterans.

Scott Pohl / WKAR

Michigan law governing the sale of fireworks has changed since Independence Day last year. It used to be illegal to sell anything that exploded or left the ground. Such products can now be sold here, despite opposition from those with safety concerns. WKAR's Scott Pohl reports on what the change means to one Lansing business known for its fireworks.

Kevin Lavery / WKAR

Economic gardening -- helping local entrepreneurs grow their own jobs rather than recruiting new workers from outside -- is building strong roots in Michigan. KI Technology Group recently took part in Michigan's economic gardening pilot program.

Photo: Scott Pohl / WKAR

Some local entrepreneurs in need of start-up funding are turning to Kickstarter.  It's a website for raising those crucial first dollars that can get a project started.

NyShell Imari is a young poet from Lansing who needed to raise money so she could publish some of her work. To do that, she turned to Kickstarter.

“I was hoping to raise $700,” Imari says. “That was to go towards the publication and distribution of the book. Online, within the 30 days, I was able to raise $825.”

Photo courtesy of Such Video.

A new television series called LRN 101 is airing on WKAR TV.  It’s the brainchild of Keep Learning, a non-profit group committed to promoting education in the Lansing area.   Our reWorking Michigan report looks at how the show can influence the perception of education.  

Kevin Lavery / WKAR

Earlier this year, Michigan State University created the MSU Innovation Center.  The university has long paired inventors with private sector businesses whom it licenses to turn their ideas into products.  Now, the new center will help create new start-up companies around MSU inventions. 

Scott Pohl / WKAR

Michigan’s new law allowing motorcyclists to ride without a helmet is affecting insurance companies and agencies.  A major provision of the law requires a biker to add at least $20,000 of medical coverage to their policy.

That has led to new activity for insurance companies. WKAR’s Scott Pohl reports that the extra work doesn’t seem to be adding much to the bottom line.

Whenever Michigan resident Robert McGeorge used to ride his motorcycle across the Indiana state line, he would stop at the first rest area to take his helmet off, where it was legal to do so.

Photo courtesy of the Autism Alliance of Michigan

Therapy for children with autism can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Until now, that kind of treatment was unaffordable for many parents of autistic children.  But a new Michigan law will soon require insurance companies to cover autism diagnosis and treatment for children and teenagers.  This law is also expected to create  hundreds or perhaps thousands of new jobs for people who are trained to treat autistic children.

Kevin Lavery / WKAR

Last week, Mayor Virg Bernero announced that a series of small wind turbines would be installed on the roofs of City Hall and the Lansing Center in June.  Generating electrical power from wind energy is part of Michigan’s overall renewable energy strategy.  But there’s some debate as to whether the urban core is the best laboratory in which to try it out.  

Scott Pohl / WKAR

This week from reWorking Michigan, our Monday report looks at a local business that has moved within the walls of another business.

Photo courtesy of Michigan State University.

This week from reWorking Michigan, we look at the first project under development at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.   The Land Grant Project will stretch the museum’s mission, bringing artists into the classrooms at MSU.

Our report this week looks at safety in the workplace.  In 2011, the state of Michigan created the Workplace Safety Advisory Rules Committee.  For months, its members combed through volumes of health and safety rules applying to a wide range of industries.  The committee recommended eliminating hundreds of regulations it deemed obsolete or burdensome.  State lawmakers are now considering that report.  In the meantime, some labor groups say the recommendations go too far.

This week from reWorking Michigan, we look at efforts to facilitate international trade at the Port Huron and Sault Ste. Marie border crossings.