Changing Gears is a public media project about the future of the industrial Midwest. Each week, reporters Dan Bobkoff in Cleveland, Niala Boodhoo in Chicago and Kate Davidson in Ann Arbor cover issues of interest to the Great Lakes region. Changing Gears also sponsors public events and conversations.
Over the past few years, Toyota’s world was Total Recall — not the movie, but the struggles it faced over defects. But this year, Toyota is back to its old self, adding jobs and making investments.
It’s already spending $400 million to hire 400 more people in Princeton, Ind., and it’s brought its Blue Springs, Miss., plant up to full staff. Now, Toyota is expanding again, at its newest Canadian plant in Woodstock, Ontario.
Toyota said today it’s investing $80 million (Canadian) and hiring 400 more people as it increases production of the small RAV4 sport utility. The company will go from building 150,000 RAVs a year to 200,000 annually.
Toyota has operations all over the Midwest, including its big design and research center in Ann Arbor, Mich., its headquarters outside Cincinnati and many suppliers scattered everywhere. So, any step Toyota takes is important to our region.
It was 30 years ago today that Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw opened the doors to Zingerman’s, a New York style deli on an Ann Arbor, Mich., side street.
Nobody knew if their concept of high quality, high priced and highly stuffed sandwiches would work. But it did.
Now, Zingerman’s is a $40 million collection of eight businesses with hundreds of people, all based in Ann Arbor, the only place where the company wants to be. And Weinzweig is out with a new book, “Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 2: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Being a Better Leader.”
Americans owe close to a trillion dollars in student loan debt. Changing Gears has been reporting on that debt, a lot of which comes from attending private, for-profit schools. They’re the fastest growing part of higher education, popular for non-degree technical training. Call them career colleges, technical schools or trade schools … just don’t call them cheap.
So I’m at Cobra’s the Grind, eyes-avoiding-buttocks, walking up dimly lit stairs to meet the manager. Steve is a big guy; he started here as a bouncer. He lays his gun down next to us as we talk. He had different life plans after graduating high school in 2006. Continue reading “Student Debt: When Fixing Cars Breaks The Bank”
Toyota put a lot of things on hold the past few years, when its sales were devastated by recalls, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and supply problems due to floods in Thailand. But now, it appears to be back on a production march that could affect the Midwest.
Last week, Toyota’s North American president, Yoshi Inaba, said the company was looking at expanding production in North America, including building more vehicles at its plants in Ontario, just a few hours from Detroit in southwestern Ontario.
According to the Globe and Mail, those steps would include producing its Prius hybrid models in North America for the first time and boosting production of Lexus models at its Cambridge, Ontario factory.
The Winter Classic on New Year’s Day has become a National Hockey League tradition. Now, the 2013 game is going to be played at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, with a barrage of accompanying events in Detroit.
The NHL said Thursday it expects 115,000 tickets to be available for the main event, pitting the Detroit Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs. That would break the previous record for attendance at a hockey game, set when The Big House hosted 104,173 fans at The Big Chill in 2010.
The Winter Classic game will be accompanied by the Hockeytown Festival, to be held in Detroit, about 45 miles away. Another rink will be set up at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, which like, the Red Wings, are owned by Michael Ilitch.
700 jobs short Google is celebrating its fifth birthday in Ann Arbor. When the company first opened its Ann Arbor office in 2006, it was huge news for the state. The company said it would hire 1,000 workers in the first five years. The actual number is closer to 300. (We tried asking Google: “Where are the rest of our jobs?” The search didn’t turn up anything useful.)
During the State of the Union speech, President Obama said higher education shouldn’t be a luxury, and he’s committed to funding it. That was the carrot for colleges and universities. This was the stick:
“Let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down,”
Local laws serve as the blueprints for their communities.
Zoning codes and other local ordinances control nearly every aspect of how we function in our environments – how we shop, live and move. Those local laws are being increasingly rethought as cities around the industrial Midwest look to reinvent themselves.