reWorking Michigan

Mondays on 90.5 during Morning Edition and All Things Considered, online all the time

 reWorking Michigan examines our evolving economy, as citizens of the Great Lake State explore new ways to make a living and build a future for their families. A project of WKAR NewsRoom, WKAR-TV and WKAR Online.

Kevin Lavery / WKAR

On Tuesday, arts educators will come to Michigan State University for an annual breakfast meeting at the Wharton Center. 

Scott Pohl / WKAR

This week from reWorking Michigan, our Monday report looks at a program that helps Lansing high schoolers get ready for successful college careers and the jobs that follow.

reWorking Michigan: Fall Apple Tradition Hit Hard

Oct 15, 2012
Photo of Michigan apples.
courtesy / Michigan Apple Committee

Michigan apple farmers suffered their largest crop loss since the 1940's this year. Early spring warmth followed by hard frosts killed fruit tree buds. The harvest is not all in yet, but state officials predict a 90 percent reduction in apple yield. WKAR's Melissa Benmark spoke with Michigan Apple Committee executive director Diane Smith about how farmers are coping.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

This week from reWorking Michigan, our Monday report looks at efforts to promote the new Broad Art Museum at MSU as a tourist destination. Gearing up for next month’s opening of the Broad Art Museum entails much more than the completion of construction and the mounting of artworks. Getting the word out about the design by world-famous architect Zaha Hadid has been a major focus.


A recent study finds some 108,000 K-12 students in Michigan have no access to arts curriculum in their schools.  The state mandates at least one credit in the arts as a requirement to graduate.

WKAR’s Kevin Lavery looks at how those who advocate for the arts and those who regulate its instruction might fill the gap.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

This week from reWorking Michigan, our Monday report looks at caring for the elderly.         


Business leaders from more than 20 Michigan companies are traveling to China this week on a trade mission.  The six-city tour is one of the largest overseas events Michigan economic development officials have ever sponsored.  It’s an opportunity to match Michigan farmers, automakers, engineers and manufacturers with potential customers in China.

Mark Bashore / WKAR

Data often show a clear connection linking employment back to education.  In Lansing, the executives of a new public school academy are going a step further by focusing its curriculum on entrepreneurialism and leadership. 

Scott Pohl/WKAR

On this Labor Day from reWorking Michigan, our Monday report looks at the future of training in the skilled trades.

WKAR’s Scott Pohl spoke with Lawrence Hidalgo Junior, training director for the Lansing Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee.

It’s a joint program between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and NECA, the National Electrical Contractors Association. They work with young electricians to prepare them for careers in the field, both in labor and in management.

That training has evolved in recent years.

Michigan Avenue, Lansing
WKAR File Photo

Cities around the world are competing for new businesses and talented workers.  Lansing is no exception.  Cultural initiatives can and do play a role in economic development.  With that in mind, a new program strives to tell the stories of artists, musicians and business owners along Michigan Avenue.

WKAR/Scott Pohl

This week from reWorking Michigan, our Monday report looks at a small, family-run Lansing business that produces an all-natural gun cleaning product.

WKAR’s Scott Pohl has the story of "Gunzilla."


Immigration experts in Lansing are planning a major outreach project this week.  Starting Wednesday, thousands of undocumented immigrants in Michigan who arrived in the U.S. as children will be eligible to file for work permits. 

Mark Bashore / WKAR

A unique mid-Michigan business is succeeding in keeping it loose at work.  Baker Drive Train in Haslett has carved out a profitable niche in the motorcycle business with cutting edge transmissions it designs and sells all over the world.  WKAR’s Mark Bashore reports on a married couple who left their buttoned-down GM jobs to embrace the rowdier culture of high performance motorcycles. 

There’s energy on the shop floor to start the workday at Baker Drive Train.  A little ‘liquid metal’ with your caffeine of choice is just the ticket for clearing out the morning cobwebs.

Kevin Lavery / WKAR

In 2007, the city of Lansing closed the Red Cedar Golf Course near the Frandor shopping center for budgetary reasons.  Now, an economic development team is studying five proposals to revitalize a portion of the 61-acre tract.  Regardless of which plan is selected, the land will undergo a major engineering project to keep pollutants from storm water runoff from spilling into the Red Cedar River.   

Scott Pohl / WKAR

A growing number of people carrying smart phones means companies that develop apps need to find skilled employees. People filling those jobs in Michigan are staying in the state, or even moving back to Michigan.