Industrial diversification summit Oct. 21 in Muskegon

October 3, 2009
| By Pete Daly |
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MUSKEGON — Muskegon Area First is hosting a West Michigan Diversification Summit Oct. 21 for manufacturers interested in diversifying into industrial markets with growth potential — aerospace, defense, medical devices and alternative energy equipment.

Representatives from companies and organizations already active in those expanding industries will explain what it takes to get in — details that are expected to be of particular interest to auto industry suppliers that need to diversify tout de suite.

Attendees will also learn what it takes to qualify for Economic Development Job Training matching grants of up to $10,000 from the state of Michigan, to help prepare their workers for new jobs in the growth industries.

"We are expecting a huge turnout," said Muskegon Area First’s Eugenia Brown, who is the summit’s coordinator.

Because space is limited, companies are limited to two representatives in attendance. The fee for attending is $60.

Speakers at the event, which runs 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Muskegon Harbor Holiday Inn, will include:

—Christophe Sevrain, CJPS Enterprises LLC, a medical device manufacturing consultant.

—Ron Moffett, Michigan Defense Contract Coordination Center (DC3).

—Rob Hess, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center.

—Stan Pruski, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center.

—Stephanie Little, UM Surviving to Thriving.

—Gavin Brown, Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association.

—Sam Hogg, Next Energy.

Eugenia Brown said companies that could qualify for the worker re-training grants must employ at least 25 people "and their product has to be made in Michigan. That's key."

Companies will be screened to determine if they meet the qualifications and are actually able to convert easily to a new type of manufacturing. The training provided would be specific to one of the four growth industries.

The meeting is presented by the Keep Michigan Working coalition announced last winter by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The organization partners with local economic development organizations to host diversification summits somewhere in the state each month.

The Keep Michigan Working summits are targeting more than 2,500 companies around the state with a goal of winning $1 billion in contracts for them.

Companies that attend the summit will be asked to complete a comprehensive questionnaire as part of the process to identify those that may qualify for the $10,000 matching grant from the Economic Development Job Training program.

To register, go to www.muskegonareafirst.org/events.php, or call Eugenia Brown at (231) 724-3179.

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