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Amid national declines in the number of people applying to MBA programs in recent years, business schools in West Michigan are reporting mixed results. While applications to the MBA programs dropped at Michigan State University and Western Michigan University, both Grand Valley State University and Central Michigan University reported receiving higher numbers of applications in recent years. Likewise, MBA enrollment trends were all over the map, with MSU and GVSU reporting more students while both WMU and CMU saw the opposite.

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids Community College plans to use a $100,000 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to try to convince more middle school and high school students to consider a career in health care. The college plans to reach out to schools to encourage eighth-, ninth- and 10th-grade students to enroll in a trio of week-long “Health Care Scrubs Camps” scheduled for this summer that will introduce them to health care jobs in the region.

Buying a site in the Grand Haven area gives Muskegon Community College a permanent campus location in northwestern Ottawa County. MCC took possession this month of a former funeral home location on Lincoln Street in Grand Haven Township, just west of U.S. 31. The college paid $378,000 for the property, where it plans to invest another $432,000 in renovations and start hosting classes beginning this fall.

When Steve Huizenga seeks to recruit the next generation of tradespeople, he stresses to young candidates that the industry is “not your grandpa’s trade” anymore. Huizenga, president of Allied Mechanical Services Inc., a Grand Rapids-based mechanical contracting firm, said promoting the technology used in the construction trades has been key in recruiting men and women to join his company.

The organization that represents Michigan’s 15 public universities hopes the new governor and legislature will raise state financial support for higher education. In repeating its case for more support, the Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU) cites state data showing a greater need in today’s economy for a college education. Of the top 50 high-demand occupations in Michigan, 36 require at least a four-year degree.

Recent research has indicated the so-called skills gap of the past decade may have been associated more with expectations of employers than the qualifications of the workforce. Millions of jobs were lost in the U.S. during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, and for years after the economic decline officially yielded, high unemployment rates persisted. Even with large pools of job seekers, employers reported difficulty in finding candidates with acceptable skills, credentialing or postsecondary education. Many experts dubbed the phenomenon a “skills gap.”

GRAND RAPIDS — Steve Heacock admits to having a level of discomfort about being the focus of the Grand Rapids Whitewater project. Heacock left his job as a senior vice president with Spectrum Health to take the position of president and CEO with the nonprofit organization earlier this month. He said everything he has done in his career has prepared him for this new role.

Ken Sikkema and three former state legislative colleagues created the Michigan Consensus Policy Project to offer solutions to pressing problems in the state in an era of what he calls “intense” political polarization. The bipartisan group’s first proposal is a 47-cent increase in the state gas tax over nine years to generate the $2.7 billion annually that’s needed to fix Michigan’s roads.

Trillium Ventures MSV LLC, a Grand Rapids-based multifamily investment and property management firm, has acquired two Kalamazoo apartment complexes.

The Republican-led state Legislature has rejected an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that would have abolished a pair of controversial environmental review boards.

Office furniture manufacturer Haworth Inc. reported an increase in sales for 2018.

Pending finalization of the building’s purchase agreement, Gaia Cafe and the Division Avenue Arts Collective LLC have a clearer path to opening in Grand Rapids’ Creston neighborhood.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Feb. 4, 2019.

GRAND RAPIDS — Mike Hughes, founder of Doorganics LLC, heard loud and clear what his customers wanted, which has the organic grocery delivery service announcing a new partnership. Hughes and his team recently unveiled a partnership with Alan Hartline, a veteran of the grocery industry and owner of Kingma’s Market, located at 2225 Plainfield in Grand Rapids. The new alliance is designed to beef up the Doorganics product line.

Grocery chain operator and food distributor SpartanNash Co. plans to open a small-format Forest Hills Foods store in the Grand Rapids suburb of Ada.

For the first time in four years, sales for direct-selling giant Amway Corp. have grown on a year-over-year basis.

BELMONT — Filter and Coating Technology Inc., a supplier of filter and coating solutions for the automotive and industrial markets, is under new ownership.

GRAND RAPIDS — Three Grand Rapids women on a mission to “keep Creston funky” have entered into a partnership to bring back Gaia Cafe and The Division Avenue Arts Collective LLC, this time in the city’s north quarter neighborhood. The partners are under contract to purchase a vacant 4,972-square-foot building at 1553 Plainfield Ave. NE, which has commercial space on the ground floor and a two-bedroom apartment on the second level.

GRAND RAPIDS — A strip shopping center along 28th Street has new owners. Grand Central Plaza, located at 2035 28th St. in Grand Rapids, was sold to an undisclosed Michigan-based firm, according to NAI Wisinski of West Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — West Michigan investment banking firm Charter Capital Partners led a $18.3 million financing round in Malvern, Pa.-based Trice Medical Inc. The Series C capital round will go to expand Trice Medical’s commercialization and accelerate the development of its product portfolio.

Former Democratic legislator Dan Scripps has been appointed to the Michigan Public Service Commission, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced today.

The Grand Rapids Whitewater nonprofit has secured $4.4 million in new public and foundation funding for its restoration efforts of the Grand River through the city.

A co-op hopes to open a grocery store as part of a larger mixed-use project just south of downtown Grand Rapids.

Kendall Electric Inc. acquired an Ohio-based distributor of electrical equipment.

Novi-based I.T. firm Red Level Group LLC has acquired West Michigan business and technology consultant C/D/H.

After nearly a century in Michigan, Harsco Corp. plans to permanently close its only manufacturing facility in the state, starting April 1.

The state will help fund the cleanup of a contaminated former dry cleaner in Wyoming to make way for a redevelopment project.

For years, the city of Hudsonville wanted to encourage developers to create a more traditional downtown for the Ottawa County community. Officials often found themselves in a Catch 22 in trying to spur those kinds of development projects. Because the city lacked what’s traditionally classified as a downtown area, the local government was unable to seek funding incentives for developers, which in turn hindered the growth of a centralized urban area.

MUSKEGON — A deal to redevelop the former Ameribank building is making headway, but the project remains contingent on incentives from the city and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Muskegon developer John Essex, managing partner and president of Core Development LLC, submitted a formal purchase agreement to the city prior to the Jan. 30 deadline. If the project goes ahead, it would transform a partially demolished building into a new use in the core of the city’s downtown.

At first glance, the 2019 Health Check report published by Grand Valley State University seems to suggest that medical innovation in Michigan and nationally slowed dramatically in recent years. But health care and legal experts say the medical patent numbers in the report don’t quite reflect reality. They cite an array of factors that likely drove steep declines from 2014 to 2017 in the number of medical patents issued and assigned, both nationwide and in Michigan.

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