The COVID-19 pandemic shook up the world in ways we never expected. But even in these trying times, humanity’s willpower and desire to cooperate showcases its ability to survive and pay it forward.
A powerful demonstration of this sentiment comes from the combined efforts of the Economic Development Corporation Michigan City (EDCMC) and the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce (MCCoC) to provide support and resources to the business community during this time of crisis. Businesses, particularly small, locally-owned ones, were heavily impacted by the pandemic, so these two organizations stepped up to ensure their survival and prosperity.
The initiative began with the corporation reaching out to the Chamber of Commerce and releasing a survey to local businesses in order to gauge their current situation and status when the quarantine took effect. As expected, the ones that were hit the hardest were restaurant and retail businesses, with most having to reduce their offerings or close their doors entirely, overall affecting employees and revenue.
Over the past 5 months, the EDCMC has coordinated bi-weekly conference calls with Michigan City senior business and community leaders to share updates on the pandemic, access resources and share information on where and how to assist both the local businesses and residents. The EDCMC then hosted a workforce recovery team tasked with keeping people working during this tumultuous time. This culminated into a general business info series where the EDCMC talked about updates made to the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), mental health resources, ways to get back to work safely, and so on.
“Despite all that’s been going on, striving to meet the needs of the community has motivated so many people to help with this recovery phase,” said Jenilee Haynes-Peterson, Economic Development Manager for the EDCMC. “We want to ensure that our residents have a safe and comfortable place to work and are taking care of themselves.”
The EDCMC and the MCCoC have also created a COVID-19 webpage dedicated to providing businesses, employers, employees, and the community as a whole with resources and information for dealing with these uncertain times. Everything from pandemic community services info to links to important webpages can be found at www.michigancitycovid19.com
“A crisis like this demonstrates the importance of having an entity like the EDCMC in your community,” said Clarence Hulse, Executive Director of the EDCMC. “We are here to unite the people, coordinate with business and community leaders and help them adapt to current events by providing guidance through our various and expansive resources.”
As of now, the EDCMC and MCCoC are still responding to emails and phone calls from the local business community and doing whatever they can to provide resources and other types of support to help the city and its people recover. Both agencies collaborated to survey the business community twice in an effort to find avenues to provide business assistance and resources to local businesses thru webinars and sharing up to date resources on the COVID19 website.
“I am very happy to be a part of a community willing to go above and beyond to get the job done,” said Hulse. “It’s really a great feeling to see community leaders cooperate and work together for a common cause. It’s been an amazing learning experience for everyone here in Michigan City. We are not out of danger yet but we are united in beating this disease and continue work on our economic recovery.”
For more information about the EDCMC and a portal to the COVID-19 page mentioned above, please visit www.edcmc.com