Virtual Training Programs

2021 Fall Virtual Training Program Agenda

MPELRA is pleased to present the agenda for its 2021 Fall Virtual Training Program.  The program consists of four half-day sessions scheduled on Fridays, September 17 and 24, and October 1 and 8, 2021.  Two different topics will be presented on each day from 12 Noon to 2:45 PM.  You can attend all eight sessions or select as many as you are interested in and accommodate your schedule.  Registration is FREE and open to members and non-members so please share the agenda and invite your colleagues/co-workers to attend.  Although there is no charge, registration is required. A brief synopsis of each session and information regarding the speakers is provided below.   HRCI and SHRM Credits Available


Friday, September 17, 2021

12 Noon to 1:15 PM Negotiating from a Distance
Valerie Colbert-Osamuede, Deputy Director-Labor Relations, City of Detroit
The COVID-19 pandemic curtailed face-to-face negotiations. Yet, the duty to bargain did not stop with COVID-19. Thanks to an array of communication media, negotiations continued through virtual platforms such as Zoom. This presentation discusses the advantages and disadvantages of remote virtual negotiations and best practices for negotiating at more than an arm’s length.
Presentation Handouts: 2021-09-17-01 Negotiating from a Distance – Handout
Powerpoint Presentation: Negotating from a Distance 2021-09-17

1:30 to 2:45 PM Workers’ Compensation Issues in a Remote Workplace
William Buie, Shareholder, Conklin Benham
Having our employees work from home, or other remote locations does not eliminate potential workers’ compensation claims. However, all injuries that occur during remote work are not
necessarily work-related. This presentation will provide insight into key issues and concepts regarding workers’ compensation claims by remote workers, including:

    • Burden of proof
    • No-fault system
    • Intentional misconduct
    • Negligence
    • Dual-purpose activities
    • Changes in pathology
    • Mental disabilities
    • Claims while working out of state

Presentation slides: 2021-09-17-02 – Workers’ Compensation – Handout

Friday, September 24, 2021

12 Noon to 1:15 PM Employees Mental Health in American, Pre, During and Post COVID-19
Kent Sharkey, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ulliance, Inc.
Employers and, therefore, human resource professionals are facing historic impacts on their emotional health and well-being. New research shows that stress and uncertainty are increasing
already high instances of behavioral health issues in the workplace. Almost half of your workforce is suffering from mental health issues as compared to pre-pandemic 2019. So what is your organization going to do about it? In this interactive session we will focus on the following:
What HR and employers can do to assist or hinder progress:

      • The 5 dimensions of well-being;
      • Aren’t personal issues just that, personal? HR mind your own business;
      • The cost of not paying attention to emotional well-being;
      • Impact on employers;
      • HR is listening, the Dr. is in; and
      • Effective tools and strategies to implement and utilize

1:30 to 2:45 PM Constructing a High-Performance Health Plan
Jonathan Trionfi, CEBS®, Partner, Plante Moran
The health care and health insurance industries are changing rapidly due to advancing technologies, changing regulations, and unsustainable cost increases. In turn, employers have an
increasingly difficult task to offer benefits that are both affordable and valued by employees. This session highlights the inefficiencies that must be addressed by employers to meet their objectives,
and offers creative suggestions on how to construct a high-performance health plan. A high-performance health plan is one that helps patients navigate the complex health care system while
driving lower costs and better health outcomes.

Friday, October 1, 2021

12 Noon to 1:15 PM Initiating and Maintaining an Effective Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program
Tonya C. Bailey, Ph.D., Chief Diversity Officer, Lansing Community College
Today, many companies have gone from considering how to achieve diversity in the workplace to realizing the critical importance of building all three of these elements. Research shows that
companies who prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have better retention, more satisfied employees, better internal decision making, more innovation, and better financial returns. The
diverse perspectives brought by different groups are proven in multiple studies to benefit both workplace satisfaction and the bottom line. You probably already have DEI initiatives in place, but
how do you build on them to take your organization to the next level? This interactive session will provide attendees with nine tools to initiate and maintain an effective DEI program as well as
provide actionable steps to ensure DEI thrives in your organization.

1:30 to 2:45 PM The Benefits of Implementing an Informal or Formal Mentoring Program to Enhance Succession Planning
Lee E. Meadows, Ph.D., Leadership Consultant
The focus on mentoring, as part of succession planning, has emerged as primary factors in the sustainability of organizations through talent retention and leadership development. As employees
exercise a range of career options, brand and longevity are not the singular long-term attractors of talent that existed in previous years. Professional and personal commitments by the organization to the growth and development of its employees have emerged as critical to the mindset of career advancement. Research points to mentoring programs or processes as strategies for improving talent retention, nurturing a talent pipeline, and providing a seamless transition for succession planning. This workshop will focus on the critical elements needed to create, implement and sustain a mentoring process that builds the organizational pipeline and improves its succession planning.

Friday, October 8, 2021

12 Noon to 1:15 PM A Year in Review: Critical Cases and Legislative Updates Affecting Michigan Public Employers
Courtney Nichols, Shareholder & Labor and Employment Practice Group Leader, Plunkett Cooney
This presentation will review notable state and federal cases and legislative updates that impact
public employers throughout the state of Michigan. Topics will include: evolution of rules and
requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, wage and hour updates, equal employment
opportunity reporting mandates, medical leave and accommodation obligations, and notable United
States Supreme Court decisions.

1:30 to 2:45 PM The Evolving E-Workplace
Clifford L. Hammond, Shareholder, Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith
The workplace is changing faster than ever before. With remote work and technological changes, employers have to find ways to manage the logistics and legal constraints of the modern e-workforce. Attorney Clifford Hammond will discuss how to deal with the intersection of employment law, wage and hour law, security concerns and the practical needs of addressing and adjusting to a flexible and remote work environment of the e-workplace as well.

Past Virtual Training Program Resources

June 25, 2021, 12 Noon to 1:15 PM
Legislative Update
Chris Hackbarth, Director, State & Federal Affairs, Michigan Municipal League
We are all affected by legislation in many different areas and it can be difficult to keep up – especially now. This session will provide an update on pending legislation that may impact our communities and our work so we can best anticipate and prepare.

June 18, 2021, 12 Noon to 1:15 PM
COVID 19 by Race: What is Behind the Health Disparities and How to Remove Barriers to Equitable Access to Healthcare
Denise Z. Fair, Chief Public Health Officer, City of Detroit Denise will discuss how the COVID 19 pandemic brought social and racial inequities to the forefront of public health, the importance of equitable access to health care in Black and Brown communities; the need to remove these barriers; and what the City of Detroit is doing to provide equitable access to health care through COVID 19 treatments, vaccinations and beyond.

Safe Path to Reopening the Workplace
Scott Withington, Environmental Health General Manager, Detroit Health Department.  Employers need a plan to bring workers back to the workplace. Scott will discuss the safe path to reopening the workplace through COVID-19 guidelines, vaccinations, and employee testing.

June 11, 2021, 12 Noon to 1:15 PM
Navigating and Preparing for Matters with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission

Craig S. Schwartz, Shareholder, Butzel Long
This session will provide guidance on how to prepare for the most common cases that Michigan public employers encounter before the Michigan Employment Relations Commission.  Craig will explain what needs to be done before you get to MERC, what to expect when you get there and how to give yourself the best chance of a successful result.

March 26, 2021, 12 Noon to 1:15 PM
Medical Update/Health Benefit Review
Dr. B. Keith English, M.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University
Chadd Hodkinson, Area Vice President, Gallagher Benefit Services

Dr. English will describe the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current understanding of the virus and its variants. Mr. Hodkinson will continue the focus on health with a discussion of health care benefits trends emerging in response to the pandemic and more broadly.
Presentation Slides1 Link:  Medical Update
Presentation Slides 2 Link: MPELRA Gallagher Health Trends Presentation_Final
Presentation links – 2 Videos:          Part 1          Part 2

March 19, 2021, 12 Noon to 1:15 PM
Panel Discussion on Remote Work Today and Tomorrow
Brandon Fournier, Attorney, Shifman Fournier
Ursula Taylor-Holland, Deputy Director of Human Resources and Chief of Employee Services, City of Detroit
Moderator: Valerie Colbert-Osamuede, Deputy Director – Labor Relations

This panel discussion will look at emerging issues surrounding remote work during the COVID pandemic and when a “new normal” emerges after the pandemic subsides.  Panelists will identify challenges facing public sector human resources and labor relations professions in Michigan and will suggest methods to address those challenges and offer insight on how to build and sustain employee engagement.
Presentation Link: 
Presentation Slides: Remote Work in the Public Sector3.15notes

March 12, 2021, 12 Noon to 1:15 PM
Mental Health/Substances Abuse Issues Presented by COVID
Dave Pankotai, Chief Executive Officer, Macomb County Community Mental Health
Traci Smith, Chief of Staff, Macomb County Community Mental Health

This session will explore how COVID has impacted employee mental health and affected substance abuse in our communities.  Speakers will share their perspectives and provide the information human resources professionals should know to help address these emerging issues.
Presentation Link:  Mental Health & Substance Abuse Resources Video
Presentation Slides: Mental Health Substances Abuse Presentation

2020 Virtual Free Fall Friday Programs

Ready, Set, Lead!  Leadership Skills through the Lens of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Date and Time:         Friday, September 11, 2020, 12 Noon to 1:15 PM
Presentation Link:  
Presentation Slides:  FFF – Presentation Hard Copy 2020-09-11

Flexible Work Schedules
Date and Time:         Friday, September 25, 2020, 12 Noon to 1:15 PM
Presentation Link:  
Presentation Slides:  FFF – Presentation Hard Copy 2020-09-25

Panel Discussion on Labor Relations During COVID-19 Pandemic
Date and Time:       Friday, October 9, 2020, 12 Noon to 1:15 PM
The October 9, 2020 session was not recorded.

Understanding Mental Health in the Workplace
Date and Time        Friday, October 23, 2020, 12 Noon to 1:15 PM
Presentation Link:   

Navigating Legal Requirements, Gender and LGBTQ Issues
Date and Time:       Friday, October 30, 2020, 12 Noon to 1:15 PM
Presentation Link:   (we apologize for the sound quality issues at the end of the program)
Presentation Slides:  MPELRA PowerPoint.10.30.20