The Michigan Opportunity

Through dynamic discussion, The Michigan Opportunity markets the state and promotes Michigan as a world-class business location. The podcast serves as a forward-thinking voice for Michigan as a conduit to global trends and applications in the new global economy.


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The Michigan Opportunity Podcast Now Airing on WJR’s The Great Voice

The Michigan Opportunity Podcast

Season - 1 Episode 38

Dr. Bill Pink, President, Grand Rapids Community College

President Dr. Bill Pink ardently guides us on the grand path of the future workforce, through the prism of Grand Rapids Community College and the constantly evolving opportunities

Join Dr. Bill Pink, President, Grand Rapids Community College and host Ed Clemente, to discuss multiple workforce issues from certificate training, degrees and stackable certificates. Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages the opportunity to gain credits for degrees and to transfer to in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. Dr. Pink is making great progress bringing a lot of energy to a very evolving learning atmosphere. Learn about his career advice to all and about his non-traditional sports and coaching path to his current position. Dr. Pink is a member of the MEDC Executive Committee.

Season - 1 Episode 36

Ryan Hundt, Chief Executive Officer, MichiganWorks! Association

How the 16 Michigan Workforce Boards across Michigan are adapting to the New Economy, employment opportunities and current challenges being faced by employees and employers.

Join Ryan Hundt and host Ed Clemente, as he explains the ever-changing world of the modern workforce responsibilities through the professional organization representing the MichiganWorks! Network. MichiganWorks! Association is committed to advocating for workforce development issues throughout its system, for the employers they serve and for job seekers alike. Find out about the difference between skills and competencies and how the workforce is evolving in this digital transformation era. Also hear about how these organizations are adapting and brokering to meet the needs of the workforce of today and of the future.

Season - 1 Episode 34

Jeff Donofrio, President and Chief Executive Officer - Business Leaders for Michigan

What does it take to make Michigan a top 10 state in today’s dynamic world? Business Leaders for Michigan has the map for us on this podcast.

Join Jeff Donofrio, President and CEO for Business Leaders for Michigan, and host Ed Clemente as they discuss this influential business organization, and their myriad of initiatives. Business Leaders for Michigan, a state business roundtable, is dedicated to making Michigan a Top Ten state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy.

Season - 1 Episode 29

Naheed Huq of Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) and Metropolitan Affairs Coalition (MAC)

How SEMCOG & MAC will change the face of southeast Michigan for Shared Prosperity, Economic Development and expose its New Future!

Join Naheed Huq and host Ed Clemente as they discuss a wide variety of topics from what are SEMCOG and MAC and what they’re doing to support communities and workforce development in southeast Michigan. They discuss the challenges facing talent training, retention and attraction, digital divide, and other workforce issues, including how local governments are handling disruption and change in the new economy. Also, a discussion about Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and how and why it was created. They touch on the region’s shared prosperity for a resilient economy and how it is being implemented. Additionally, how they are approaching the New Future of Southeast Michigan series. Listen in to hear all of the work going into building a more resilient, diverse, and equitable economy in the state’s seven-county southeast region.

Season - 1 Episode 15

Dr. Rebecca Cunningham, Vice President for Research, University of Michigan

VP Dr. Cunningham walks us through life sciences, mobility, Tech Transfer and much more at the nation’s largest public research university.

With a mission and responsibility as the nation's largest public research university, the University of Michigan Office of Research (UMOR) aims to catalyze, support and safeguard U-M research, with the bigger vision for research to serve the world. Join Dr. Cunningham as she walks us through the wide range of research that falls under her department ranging from animal care to Tech Transfer. She helps explain what Mcity and mobility research is doing for the future, as well the vast life sciences research. She also dispenses some real sound advice for future talent and how she and her department navigated Covid-19, for both operations and research.

Season - 1 Episode 13

Marty Fittante, CEO, Invest UP

Invest UP has a big job bringing prosperity to the 15 counties of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Hear how they’re doing it from the iron range to the Soo Locks!

Martin (Marty) Fittante is the Chief Executive Officer for InvestUP. InvestUP is the lead regional economic development organization for Michigan's Upper Peninsula, with the mission of driving prosperity across the entire region through collaboration, proactively leveraging relationships, and thoughtful leadership aimed at producing results. Join host Ed Clemente for a conversation with Marty about all the unique opportunities involved by attracting, retaining, creating and expanding industries with intellectual property for talent infrastructure, defense, medical devices, electronics and pharma. With support from several Economic Development Organizations and partners, InvestUP is improving internet access, creating higher education, leveraging natural resources, promoting tourism and much more. Also, find out what is going on at the Soo Locks, and the other former military air bases. Either way, the UP has lot going on!

Season - 1 Episode 10

Dr. Britany Affolter-Caine, Executive Director of Community Affairs, University Research Corridor

What our three top research universities (MSU, UM & WSU) have in common: The University Research Corridor, one of the nation’s top university innovation clusters for research, talent, and innovation.

Dr. Britany Affolter-Caine is the Executive Director at the University Research Corridor (URC), an alliance of Michigan’s three leading research institutions: Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University. She discusses how the URC drives innovation for Michigan and the Great Lakes Region, increasing economic prosperity and connecting Michigan to the world. Some topic of our discussion include life sciences, infrastructure, mobility, talent, advanced manufacturing and more.

Season - 1 Episode 7

Birgit Klohs, Former President and CEO, The Right Place

A short history of how Grand Rapids & Western Michigan became an economic global powerhouse.

Former President and CEO Birgit Klohs worked at The Right Place, Inc. for over 33 years, with great success. During her conversation with us she discusses how she navigated the organization by collaborating with state and local leaders and business executives to create more than $5 billion in economic investment in the region and generate more than 50,000 jobs.

Under her tenure at the helm, she assisted the city of Grand Rapids become the beacon of business activity and high quality of life that it encompasses today. Her legacy impacted the creation of the bio-medical, scientific research, and growth of premier healthcare in the region and is coupled with a growth in higher education through out West Michigan.

About the Host: Ed Clemente

Ed Clemente joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in 2020 as the Senior Advisor for Trends and Development.

From 2012-2020, Clemente served as a two-term governor appointed Hearing Commissioner for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC). Executing over 7,000 judicial Orders/Decisions, over the tenure of service. Prior joining the MLCC, Clemente launched Michigan’s Energy Innovation Business Council (EIBC) establishing it as 501c3 and 501c6 entity and serving as its first President.

Ed Clemente was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2004 representing parts of southern Wayne County. During his three terms in the State House (2004-2010) he led task forces on electric vehicles, biosciences, film industry, Brownfield restoration, economic development, quality of life and advanced energy. Before his tenure as a public official, Clemente held several leadership roles at the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce, including President and Director Economic and Business Development. He also previously chaired the Economic Development Committee of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and was elected as a Trustee for Wayne County Community College District, serving four terms.

Clemente has earned degrees from Ferris State, Michigan State University and Sienna Heights Universities. Clemente was awarded with a prestigious fellowship to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and The National Judicial College for Administrative Law. He graduated from several political leadership development programs, including Leadership Detroit, Michigan Political Leadership Program, and Leadership 21. He is a previous small business owner and has taught at Northwood University. Additionally, he hosts a “Critical Conversations” podcast and is a member of the Workforce Advisors for Wayne County Community College. Ed serves on the Board of Directors for Global Ties Detroit and the Motor Cities National Heritage Area. An avid traveler, Ed has visited more than 80 countries and territories, 150+ UNESCO World Heritage sites, many to play rugby tournaments, others for professional exchange and some for just intellectual curiosity.

The Michigan Opportunity is brought to you by Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). In collaboration with more than 100 economic development partners, MEDC markets Michigan as the place to do business, assists businesses in their growth strategies and fosters the growth of vibrant communities across the state.