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Lake Michigan College Honors Program to hold annual Civil Discourse Forum on Jobs, Wages and Inflation

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Lake Michigan College Honors Program to hold annual
Civil Discourse Forum on Jobs, Wages and Inflation


The Lake Michigan College Honors Program will hold its 2024 Civil Discourse Forum on Jobs, Wages, and Inflation from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, in Fettig Lecture Hall (D-105) on Lake Michigan College's Benton Harbor Campus, 2755 E. Napier Ave.  

The forum offers an in-depth look at the implications and considerations for young adults starting careers and looking for jobs, housing, and opportunities in Southwest Michigan. Experts in legislation, business development, real estate, and economics will share their perspectives on the region's current state, including the cost of living, the job market, and what the future may hold.

"This Civil Discourse Forum is designed to hear from diverse voices about the issues students care about," Lake Michigan College Honors Program Director Amy Scrima said. "The student body is surveyed each Fall, and the Honors Program plans a forum to address those issues with experts and the community. The civil discourse series is all about helping students become engaged with the community in positive ways."

Past topics have included gun violence, healthcare, social justice, and student debt. 

Panelists scheduled to speak at this year's forum are Arthur Havlicek, President & CEO of the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber of Commerce; State Rep. Joey Andrews, serving Michigan's 38th District; Dr. Lisa Augustyniak, Lake Michigan College Economics Faculty; and Kyle Zelmer, Broker/Owner Horizon Realty Group.

Arthur Havlicek

Arthur Havlicek is the President & CEO of the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is responsible for leading the chamber's programming and personnel, advancing the economic interests of its members, and improving the overall regional business climate. Havlicek grew up in Bridgman, Michigan, and has lived in the area most of his life. He earned his political science and public administration degree from Grand Valley State University. He currently resides in St. Joseph Township with his daughter and wife. Havlicek will speak to our community's business and industry climate and what future demands and opportunities may look like.

Rep. Joey Andrews 

State Rep. Joey Andrews is serving his first term representing the 38th District in the Michigan House of Representatives. This district covers his hometown of St. Joseph and Allegan, Berrien, and Van Buren counties. Andrews has been appointed to several key committees, including Labor, Energy, Communications, and Technology, Criminal Justice, and the Economic Development and Small Business Subcommittee on Housing. He is a licensed attorney and former Policy Analyst for the Michigan AFL-CIO. His priorities in office are protecting the Lakeshore from environmental hazards like lead contamination and shoreline erosion, retaining local control over short-term rentals, and focusing on local employment and economic development. Andrews will speak about current legislative initiatives and possible future action related to jobs and wages.

Dr. Lisa Augustyniak

Dr. Lisa Augustyniak is the lead economics professor at Lake Michigan College, where she has taught for 25 years. She holds a doctorate in Higher Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University and an MBA from Central Michigan University. Augustyniak is a proud graduate of LMC and Siena Heights and resides in Kalamazoo with her husband and daughter. She has earned academic and professional awards from Beta Gamma Sigma and other service organizations. Augustinyiak will speak about the current and future economic outlook and its impact on our community.

Kyle Zelmer

Kyle Zelmer is the Broker/Owner of Horizon Realty Group of Southwest Michigan. He holds an MBA and currently serves as the President of the Niles Community Board of Education and the Vice President of the Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce. As Realtor of the Year and District 2 Director for the Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors, Zelmer will speak about the housing needs and challenges in the region.

Although questions for the panel come from the Lake Michigan College student body, the discussion is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Amy Scrima at 269-927-8777 or  

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