GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —
This week marks one year since covid was first detected in Michigan, and while it’s been a long year for most everyone, Fox 17 is taking a look back at some of the positive steps that were made that can helps us rebound and thrive as we go forward.
In February, GVSU Director of Supply Management Research Brian Long said the pandemic could provide a silver lining in future jobs coming back or “re-shoring” to west Michigan because many firms got burned with their supply chains stretched all over the world. “It is entirely possible that we will end up with more business as a result of this pandemic, particularly in the case of automotive, they’ve identified some low cost producers in west Michigan,” Long told Fox 17.
Gig-it-Done is a one year old Facebook group, started in west Michigan by Chas Shekell, just before covid arrived. It’s a place where people showcase work they need done, which in turn is a great place for people to find side gigs. Gig-it-Done has eleven different groups for the various west Michigan counties, and the Kent County page alone has nearly six thousand members. Shekell says, “There really is no end to what can be found on gig it done,” explaining the jobs vary from snow removal, to handy work like plumbing, to essentially everything in between.
Imagine working for the company of your dreams without having to relocate? The founder and CEO of Aquent, John Chuang, who has been placing people with some of the most well-known companies for the past 35 years, says we have seen a generation’s worth of change in one year. “Companies that have never really hired from outside their area are going full on remote where they are more than happy to interview folks from different parts of the country. One way to look at it, a third of jobs will go back to normal, a third of jobs will be fully remote, and a third is in between and will be hybrid, which means approximately 50% of jobs will stay remote,” Chuang told Fox 17, encouraging job seekers to apply to their dream job regardless of the location.
The popular Incubator Kitchen in downtown Grand Rapids came in handy in 20-20 for food and drink entrepreneurs, like Eric MacAulay who turned his job layoff into a full-time company, “Lets Stay Home Cocktail Kits”, which are now available at retailers on both sides of our state. “Our whole approach is to reduce down overheard, that’s one of our man goals because that is so crucial for any small business, especially in their first year,” explained Ryan Bolhuis, the culinary operations manager of the Downtown Market. The Incubator Kitchen program has helped launch 85 businesses and consulted more than one thousand businesses over the past seven years.
SCORE Grand Rapids, a national non-profit started by the Small Business Administration, saw their mentoring activity jump in 2020 according to Rick Walker, one of SCORE’s mentors. He told Fox 17 that they anticipate helping even more entrepreneurs and business start-ups with future video workshops that they used during distancing guidelines.
Spectrum Health saw its already popular virtual health visits jump immensely in 2020. They performed approximately 216,000 on the year, trained an additional 1,200 clinical staff to deliver virtual care going forward, and thanks to their new partnership with TytoCare, visits are even more in-depth and capable of getting heart and lung sounds and performing inner ear and throat exams.
Speaking of health, Dr. Liam Sullivan, D.O. of Infectious Disease at Spectrum said thanks to mitigation efforts, flu numbers were at record lows when we spoke in February and he expects masks could become more common during future flu seasons. “I would not be surprised Derek if some people going forward, during flu season you’re going to see more people wearing masks in public,” Dr. Sullivan told Fox 17.