Photo of 4700 South Hagadorn Rd. in Meridian Township where Wayfair planned to set up its call center. Credit: Asya Lawrence
Although Wayfair, an online store for furniture, decor, housewares and more, was not clear about why exactly they changed their minds about opening a call center in Meridian Township on South Hagadorn Road, city officials speculate it was due to COVID-19.
“They did not say exactly what the reason was, but they let us know as soon as they knew that they were not looking for long-term locations,” said Amber Clark, Meridian Township’s Neighborhood and Economic Development Director.
“Like other organizations due to the Covid-19 crisis they aren’t looking for in person locations, that’s our speculation,” said Frank Walsh, Township Manager, who explained that though this decision came as a surprise, it was expected. “We were surprised, but we also had our doubts once Covid-19 hit five or six months ago. We could see that it was going to be easier and safer for people to work out of their homes rather than putting 500 people in the building.”
“Although the news is devastating, we certainly understand it’s a safety and health issue here,” Walsh said.
Under normal circumstances, getting a job is challenging for college students. Between updating resumes and cover letters, applying for jobs and trying to stand out from other applicants, things can be overwhelming. Work opportunities became even scarcer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over six months after the start of the pandemic, there’s challenges for students still looking for work experience. MSU’S Career Services Network said that it will add more virtual events this spring.
On this edition of Focal Point, a look at the recently announced changes to the Spring Semester and how MSU plans to keep students healthy while slowly reopening. Due to the pandemic, one East Lansing business is forced to close its doors, and graduating students struggle to find jobs. Big Ten football is back, but two MSU linebackers will not take the field after being arrested in September. Other varsity sports will not return at all after the Athletic Director announced swimming and diving have been cut. Those stories and more on Focal Point.
Getting a job is hard enough for college seniors and when a worldwide pandemic is thrown into the mix, it seems almost impossible. Gloria Kobler has applied to 100 jobs in the past three weeks alone and has had several interviews canceled, and even a job offer rescinded. For many companies, hiring new employees is on hold, putting many college seniors and graduates in a tough place as they enter the job market. As many states continue to enact stay-at-home orders, it’s unclear as to when many of those entering the job market will be able to start working.
By BRIDGET BUSH
Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan lawmakers, university officials and local school systems have taken up the fight to improve how well the state’s students learn to be high tech producers and consumers. Just this fall, Michigan State University redesigned a course that will teach 175 student teachers to incorporate computational thinking into curriculum. And the university is offering a new graduate certificate in creative computing to about 250 teachers for professional development. Aman Yadav, MSU associate professor of counseling, educational psychology and special education and director of its Masters of Arts in Educational Technology program, sees the greater purpose of this new approach to be “moving students from consumers of technology to creators and producers.”
Meanwhile, lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow computer programming to count as a foreign language or arts requirement. The bill was approved by the House in May and is in the Senate Committee on Education.
By Shane Jones
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter
DEWITT — DeWitt is not a city that is filled with major corporate business or many different fast food restaurants. There isn’t a Starbucks on every corner and the downtown area is not filled with skyscrapers. DeWitt is just a small city. Even though the population of DeWitt is small, however unlike the rest of the United States there is no issue of unemployment for its citizens. According to the DeWitt City Administrator, Dan Coss, the unemployment rate is currently at 2.1 percent.
The rates of unemployment in Grand Ledge are lower than the rates of other areas in Michigan and nationally but they have increased over time. “A lot of people in Grand Ledge are looking for work and many are underemployed working part time or at jobs beneath their level of education and training,” said Kalmin Smith, mayor of Grand Ledge. Smith said he believes “many have stopped looking for work because of the dismal economy and inept leadership by Obama that unemployment numbers are deceptively low and very misleading.” Alex Seal, an employed Grand Ledge resident, said it isn’t hard finding jobs its hard getting them due to employers’ choice. “I don’t think there is much unemployment other than amongst young people,” he said.
Stephanie Vanis, born and raised in East Lansing and a junior at East Lansing High School, is starting her college search and hesitant to got to Michigan State University. “I don’t want to go to MSU because I think it’s a bad school or because I don’t like it, but rather because I’ve been here my whole life. I want to leave.” For Vanis, getting away from the family and what’s familiar is a draw just like for so many other people her age. While Vanis may just be starting to explore what her post-high school life will be like, she represents a similar mentality for area high school and college students
For many years, young professionals, college students and recent college grads have not seen the Ingham County area as anything more than a place to go to college for four years. This is something that the Ingham County area is trying to change perceptions about.
By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING – Federal courts have dealt a double defeat to the state in job discrimination-related suits by former employees. In one newly decided case, a judge in Detroit ruled that a legal secretary for the Unemployment Insurance Agency can pursue her allegation of a racially and sexually hostile workplace. U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain said Sonya Bradley, who is African American, presented enough evidence of harassment by supervisors and co-workers to let the claim against three white supervisors to proceed. In a separate case, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a new trial to retired State Police Sgt. Linda Mys.