2010 Census Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QACs) have officially opened this week. Many nonprofits in Michigan have opened their doors to serve as a local QAC or Be Counted Center. If you have community members seeking assistance, please help them find a QAC. You can do so by going online to 2010census.gov and selecting “Questionnaire Assistance Center or Be Counted Center” from the home page. This will take you to the Take 10 map where you can enter your zip code to find the closest QACs and Be Counted Centers.
Questionnaire Assistance Centers provide in-person information and language assistance in completing your 2010 Census form. Be Counted forms also available at all locations.
Be Counted sites have Be Counted forms available for anyone who did not receive a 2010 Census form or believes they were missed on their household’s form. Be Counted forms are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Vietnamese.
Individuals can also use the Census Bureau’s Telephone Questionnaire Assistance:
Telephone Questionnaire Assistance (TQA)
* ENGLISH – 1-866-872-6868
* Chinese: 1-866-935-2010
* Korean: 1-866-955-2010
* Russian: 1-866-965-2010
* Spanish: 1-866-928-2010
* Vietnamese: 1-866-945-2010
* TDD (Telephone Display Device for the hearing impaired): 1-866-783-2010
* Puerto Rico (in English): 1-866-939-2010
* Puerto Rico (in Spanish): 1-866-929-2010
For more information about the 2010 Census and how nonprofits can help ensure a complete and accurate count, visit www.MNAonline.org/census.asp.
I had the opportunity to attend last week’s State of the State address as the guest of Rep. Mark Meadows (D-East Lansing.) There was much speculation prior to the speech on how Governor Granholm would use her last address to the people of Michigan. Little did I know her speech would be so focused on the very things that make up the strategies of NEI.
Her speech was titled “A State in Transition: Crossing to the New Michigan Economy.” The speech touched on a number of topics like governmental reform, balancing the budget and outlining the past seven years of her agenda but the bulk of the speech focused on transforming the State’s economy to a knowledge-based economy. The speech tackled all three areas of NEI’s work—building the entrepreneurism eco-system, strengthening the workforce development system and building off of the region’s assets.
She spoke about expanding services and resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners. She even highlighted the work of the NEI funded FastTrac trainings that are taking place through Wayne State University’s TechTown. After entrepreneurism, she focused on workforce development and helping businesses make the transition from the auto industry to emerging sectors like alternative energy, defense and homeland security.
From my perspective the speech was on target and made a convincing argument for what many of us in the field have been working on for the past few years. However, I was disappointed that the Governor didn’t spend more time talking about specific details on how to balance the state’s budget which has another projected deficit of more than $1.6 billion. I guess everyone will have to wait for the Governor’s budget message to answer the important question of revenue increases and budget cuts.
If you are interested in reading the speech, you can find it here.
One of the things that I love about social media and Facebook is the opportunity to connect with friends that I have lost touch with over the years. I am constantly amazed about the things that they are doing. Over the past year, I have been following my high school friend, Charity Beck, as she and her friend, Jen Hellman, launched a new magazine and website called Positive Impact Magazine
I just received the inaugural issue this past week. It is a sharp publication that highlights charitable activity both domestically and internationally. I hope that it catches on. You can take a look at their first issue on their website at http://www.positiveimpactmagazine.com.
Charity and Jen describe their venture as a desire to impact the world through inspiration and a positive message.
“It is our mission and vision to reach out through Positive Impact Magazine to inspire, encourage and foster the creative ideas that will result in a long-lasting positive impact on the world.
Online and in future printed issues you will find stories about, artists, athletes, authors, celebrities, children, teens, musicians, and heroes; information about micro community efforts and international initiatives; and reviews of books, music, events, sports, charity, business and more, all that cross gender, geography, culture, and generation.
A pretty lofty goal, isn’t it? We know. But we’re going to try, and we are going to have an effect, because we believe that the smallest action, done with positive intent, is life-altering, even if just for the person taking that action. A single raindrop creates a ripple causing an effect, no matter its size, and no matter the size of the body of water it impacts.”
Yes, Charity it is a lofty goal but one that is needed in a world that often dwells too much on negativity and tragedy. This venture reminds me of the quote–
“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible. —-Anonymous”
Did you know that one in three tech start-ups in the last decade in Michigan were started by an immigrant?
Today, when one mentions immigrants and immigration we think of the political hot button issues that everyone wants to avoid.
The reality is that immigrants and foreign-born Americans are often an untapped economic resource. The New Economy Initiative (NEI), in partnership with the Skillman Foundation and the Detroit Regional Chamber, is investing in Global Detroit to study the economic opportunities and strategies that we should employ in southeast Michigan to fully realize the economic potential of our immigrant population. The study is being led by former State Representative Steve Tobacman.
Global Detroit, through its initial work, has identified four strategic goals for the southeast Michigan region. The four goals are:
Make the region welcoming to the international community and immigrants.
Attract international investment and businesses that create jobs.
Strengthen, grow, and revitalize neighborhoods in the city of Detroit and in the region’s core communities.
Attract and retain international talent in the region.
Steve Tobacman’s research is being finalized into a report that we will share through the NEI Web site and blog in the near future.
One of the national partners that Global Detroit has connected with through their work is Welcoming America. Welcoming America is a national, grassroots-driven collaborative that works to promote mutual respect and cooperation between foreign-born and U.S.-born Americans. The ultimate goal of Welcoming America is to create a welcoming atmosphere – community by community – in which immigrants are more likely to integrate into the social fabric of their adopted hometowns. There are exciting discussions occurring at the moment to bring this initiative to Michigan.
Recently, Steve and the leaders of Welcoming America were on WDET discussing the Welcoming America Campaign and what we could be doing in Michigan to make the state more welcoming to immigrants and foreign investment. Take a listen to the interview here. If you’re having difficulty playing the podcast; Click Here to Listen.
Stay tuned to the NEI Blog for more information on the work of Global Detroit and how we can tap the economic potential of southeast Michigan’s immigrant population.
Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on the campus of Michigan State University. I was invited by the leadership of the student organization, Into the Streets. It was a full circle moment for me. I had been involved with a group of students in setting up the first Into the Streets activities while I was in school in early 1990’s. In the program’s second year, I coordinated the program with my friend, Mindy Nye. It was great to see this student run group still organizing volunteer opportunities for MSU students almost two decades later.
It was fitting that the group organized their event on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In 1994, President Clinton expanded the King Holiday by signing the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and Service Act. It was a fitting tribute to Dr. King to incorporate the art of service and community building into the Holiday. Across the nation, communities now celebrate the Holiday as a “Day On- Not a Day Off.”
Over 250 students came together to work on dozens of projects throughout the greater Lansing area. I had the opportunity to kick-off the event with a few remarks.
To learn more about “Into the Streets” check out their website at http://streets.msu.edu/. The MLK Day of Service was highlighted by The State News in this video segment:
This is a cross post from the blog that I am running for the New Economy Initiative. To learn about them go their website.
Entrepreneurism is all the rage these days. You can’t read an article about the economic recovery without hearing about the importance of entrepreneurs in creating new jobs. It is a badge of honor for an owner of a small business to call themselves an “entrepreneur.” Even network TV has created a reality show highlighting entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurism is everywhere.
The Obama administration is making its mark in the world of entrepreneurism as well. This past fall the administration announced the creation of an Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship with the mission “to unleash and maximize the economic potential of new ideas by removing barriers to entrepreneurship and the development of high-growth and innovation-based businesses.” In the upcoming months, Congress and the administration will be crafting a “jobs bill” that will have entrepreneurism as a central theme.
In order to help shape the national dialog and create a voice for entrepreneurs, our friends at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation launched a campaign called ”Build a Stronger America.” The campaign or “Entrepreneurs’ Movement” advocates for policy changes that levels the playing field between established businesses and start-up companies.
Check out their Web site to sign up to be part of the movement or to share your entrepreneurial story. One of the video stories on the site is from Chris Gardner, the entrepreneur, author and the inspiration behind the film Pursuit of Happyness. Check out the video–and if you watch very closely you will see your favorite 6′3 Indian-American blogger!
One of the projects that I have thrown myself into since I have been back in the country is around organizing nonprofits around the 2010 Census. The 2010 Census is important to Michigan because it will designate the number of seats we have in Congress as well as determine the amount of federal funding we will receive over the next decade. I will be blogging about my work over the next six months as we get closer to Census Day-April 1, 2010. I was interviewed about my work by Jack Ebling this past Friday on his talk show “Ebling and You” on AM-1320. The first two minutes revolves around my world-wide journey and the rest of the interview is dedicated to my Census work. Take a listen.
The election is over. Twitter and Facebook can go back to normal. I don’t need to read another post that says, “If you don’t vote–you can’t complain.” Though you might tweet it, they still are going to complain.
It was my first take at being a political talking head. The result? I still need to keep my day job. I was able to guess many races correctly but a few took me by surprise. The biggest surprise for me was the Kalamazoo Human Rights ordinance. I thought the last minute barrage of misleading ads would tip the scales. Kalamazoo voters proved me wrong and beat back the lies 2-1 with a resounding victory. Congrats K-Zoo!
It wasn’t a surprise that Virg won but the end result was much bigger than most pundits had thought. Well played, my friend. I had made the statement yesterday that the Mayor would not have coattails in the city council races and I was somewhat right. He was only able to pick up one of the two seats he targeted by helping Tina Houghton defeat incumbent Sandy Allen.
Detroit City Council
Overall, I was able to correctly guess the mayoral election and eight of the nine finalists for the Detroit City Council. My biggest surprise was that Charles Pugh still ended up the top vote-getter and now President-elect of the Council after the press coverage of his recent home foreclosure issue. I had thought that issue would have catapulted Gary Brown and Ken Cockrel, Jr. above him in the standings.
Just like I said yesterday, the national media and the political parties will pontificate on the results of the Governor’s races in NJ and VA and the Congressional NY-23 seat. The bottom line, in my opinion, voters were not voting on health care or Obama. They voted their pocketbooks and the economy. If anything that should send a signal to local and state politicians that the voters will be voting the economy in the next election. You better have a good message or candidate that can tackle that issue or you are toast in 2010.
I know I have taken an extremely long time off from blogging. There is really no excuse other than I was burned out. I am ready to get back on the laptop and letting people know what I am thinking and doing. It will be interesting to see how people react to my blog now that I will be more stationary in the world!
My goal is to blog about three to four times a week. I am hoping to have a revised website by the end of the year that will represent the new stage in my life while at the same time keeping the core of my incredible journey intact. I hope you will enjoy it!
I was asked by the publisher of the weekly newspaper in the Lansing/East Lansing area to write about my journey. It came out this week. This is what I had submitted to them. Read the rest of this entry »