$75,000 donation goal will be matched by Michigan Works! to provide laptops to underemployed and unemployed individuals to assist with virtual learning

Media Contacts: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, barbara@eafocus.com, 248.260.8466; Nicole Kampe; kampen@automationalley.com; 248.457.3301

TROY, Mich.—August 25, 2020—The Automation Alley Fund, a nonprofit charitable endeavor of Automation Alley that was created to financially support economic development programs throughout the state that align with the organization’s focus as Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, is partnering with Michigan Works! agencies across Southeast Michigan to solicit corporate monetary donations and deliver much-needed laptops to unemployed and underemployed individuals enrolled in education programs who do not have access to a computer for online virtual learning. Announcement of the program, Laptops for Learning, was made by Automation Alley Fund President Jake Sigal.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended Michigan’s economy. Since March 14, 1.2 million unemployment claims have been filed by Michigan residents, or 25% of the state’s labor force. Many of these individuals, who previously relied on computer labs which are now unavailable, are in immediate need of a laptop to upgrade their skills or be trained in a new career. This includes people that have financial hardships, those that have a home computer being used by children enrolled in online schooling, or those sharing their computer with another person in the home for work or job searching.

“With so many challenges facing student workers, we want to eliminate the cost barrier to accessing technology,” Sigal said. “When we reached out to the Automation Alley member community about Laptops for Learning, we had an immediate response in partnership with Michigan Works! to keep Michigan adult students on the path to success.”

As a reflection of the urgent need, the donation goal of $75,000 for Laptops for Learning will be matched by a $75,000 contribution from Michigan Works!

Manager of Oakland County Michigan Works! Jennifer Llewellyn explained the organization’s support of the effort.

“The Michigan Works! partners from Southeast Michigan are excited to work with the Automation Alley Fund and encourage the business community to make this investment in the skilled workforce of tomorrow,” Llewellyn said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of our adult learners who no longer have access to the technology they need to upgrade their skills or acquire new ones to advance their careers. This is an investment that will pay immediate dividends for both the adult learners and our businesses.”

Laptops for Learning has already received generous donations from Kelly, IPS Technology Services and General Dynamics Land Systems, and will be soliciting additional donations through August 31. To donate, contact Jake Sigal, Automation Alley Fund President, at jake@1detroit.com.

About the Automation Alley Fund

The Automation Alley Fund was created to financially support economic development programs throughout the state of Michigan that align with our mission to fuel Michigan’s economy and accelerate innovation for companies during a time of rapid technological change. As Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, Automation Alley, through the Fund, matches Michigan businesses with benefactors to support workforce training, upskilling and other business development initiatives to help position Michigan as a global leader in Industry 4.0.

About Michigan Works!

The Michigan Works! system is the first unified workforce development system in the United States and is a key leader in developing Michigan’s economic future. Serving over 4 million businesses and job seekers annually, the statewide system is demand-driven, locally responsive, and ready to meet the needs of each community. For more information, call 1-800-285-WORK or visit www.michiganworks.org

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is a World Economic Forum Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) and a nonprofit Industry 4.0 knowledge center with a global outlook and a regional focus. We facilitate public-private partnerships by connecting industry, education and government to fuel Michigan’s economy and accelerate innovation. Our programs give businesses a competitive advantage by helping them along every step of their digital transformation journey. We obsess over disruptive technologies like AI, the Internet of Things and automation, and work hard to make these complex concepts easier for companies to understand and implement. Visit automationalley.com.

The mission of Automation Alley is to help businesses stay in business by equipping them with the necessary knowledge to leverage the intersections of advanced technologies, systems and people to jumpstart or accelerate a digital path to strategic success.