On Friday, August 25, Governor Rick Snyderwas hosted by the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance at the U.S.S. Silversides Museum in Muskegon. Almost 100 people were in attendance to hear updates on WMPA projects such as the Regional Dashboard, Watershed Sustainability, and Broadband. Additionally, the group was briefed on the Governor’s Infrastructure Asset Management project, a pilot program involving the 13 county West Michigan Region 4 area and the SEMCOG area in eastern Michigan. Governor Snyder highlighted the work that is being done and relationships that are being built not only throughout West Michigan, but also with eastern Michigan.
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley joined GVMC and the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance at the Debut of the West Michigan Regional Dashboard - Over 150 people gathered February 17 at the Frederick Meijer Gardens to witness the debut of the West Michigan Regional Dashboard, a single source of information for
business, government and the public which includes 34 economic, social and environmental indicators. Click here to connect to the Dashboard. Click here to view the M-Live story. Click here to view WOODTV Story. Click here to view the Grand Rapids Business Journal story.
On October 3rd, The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance hosted a Public Engagement and Grant Prioritization meeting at the L. William Seidman Center of Grand Valley State University in Downtown Grand Rapids. The event was attended by over 120 people representing business, higher education, community development, adult education, transportation and planning organizations, economic development, the philanthropic community, and local officials, as well as members of the general public. Special guest U.S. Senator Gary Peters was the featured speaker.
Attendees viewed presentations and voted to prioritize grant requests previously submitted and deemed to be of regional significance based on established criteria. Voting results will help determine priority for over $200,000 in grant funding.
The event was the culmination of the 2016 grant cycle for the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance which represents the 13 county Region 4 of Governor Snyder’s Regional Prosperity Initiative. Over the past three years the Regional Prosperity Initiative has brought over $700,000 in funding to West Michigan. Click here to view the presentation and results.
The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance will hold a Public Engagement and Grant Award Meeting October 3, 9:00 a.m. at the L. William Seidman Center of Grand Valley State University. For More Information Click Here.
U.S. Congressman Bill Huizenga Meets with West Michigan Prosperity Alliance - June 2016
John Weiss, GVMC Executive Director and Chair of the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance, hosted over 70 people at the June 20 Regional Prosperity Initiative meeting in Ludington featuring special guest, Congressman Bill Huizenga.
The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance is seeking nominations for 2016 project funding. Please review the nomination form and nominate any project you feel meets the criteria. All nominated projects will be considered. This effort seeks to find projects that will impact West Michigan and help us to focus our efforts on a regional basis. We are looking for the “big idea” projects that will have significant impact on West Michigan and allow the region to prioritize and coalesce our efforts in the future. This email is being distributed to over 400 individuals in the 13 county region. We encourage you to distribute it to anyone you feel might be interested.
Lt. Governor Brian Calley Meets with West Michigan Regional Prosperity Alliance 6/22/15
Lt. Governor Brian Calley praised west Michigan cooperation as a means to serve citizens and get beyond the many artificial borders that exist in our state. The Lt. Governor praised our area as a place where cooperation across political boundaries had a head start over other areas of Michigan. Click here for full report.
The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance (WMPA) is pleased to announce funding in the amount of $230,250 for five projects of Significant Regional Economic Importance. The WMPA was formed in January 2014 as part of Governor Snyder’s Regional Prosperity Initiative. The Alliance serves a 13 county region in West Michigan. It is one of the largest regions in the state with 130 miles of Lake
Michigan Shoreline, over 90 school systems, 13 colleges and universities, 431 units of government, and a geography roughly the size of New Jersey. The population exceeds 1.5 million residents. Over 10,000 employers create $5.7 billion in economic output. To see full story click here.
Governor Snyder has challenged the 10 economic development regions to develop comprehensive plans to better coordinate and integrate investments around economic development, workforce development and infrastructure. To advance the development of a plan for the 13-county West Michigan economic development Region 4, a work group representing several organizations assembled in November of 2013 and submitted a $250,000 grant proposal to the State of Michigan.
In its application, the work group proposed the completion of a 5-year Regional Prosperity Plan by October of 2014. Program and project initiatives leading to enhanced cooperation and collaboration of workforce, infrastructure and economic development efforts will be the outcome of the planning effort. In essence, the plan will identify efforts that will improve the economic competitiveness of the region. Metrics of accomplishment and success will be developed to track the implementation of the proposed 5-year plan that will commence in 2015.
A 30-person Steering Committee was designated to prepare the 5-year plan which began meeting in January of 2014. In seeking out the representatives to the Steering Committee, it was necessary to include representation in economic development, workforce development and infrastructure expertise and geographic balance from the entire 13-County region. The representatives and their affiliation are provided below:
MPO and Planning Commissions
Grand Valley Metropolitan Council – John Weiss
Macatawa Area Coordinating Council – Steve Bulthuis
West Michigan Regional Planning Commission – Dave Bee
West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission – Erin Kuhn
Economic Development Agencies
Barry County Economic Development Alliance –Open
Lakeshore Advantage –Jennifer Owens
Muskegon Area First – Ed Garner
West Michigan Works! – Jacob Maas
Michigan Works! West Central – Paul Griffith
Muskegon Community College – Dan Rinsema-Sybenga
Grand Rapids Community College – Bill Pink
West Shore Community College – Crystal Young
Allegan Adult and Alternative Ed - Brenda Nyhof
Holland/Zeeland Adult Education – Michael O’Connor
Kent ISD - Pat Walstra
8Cap - Dan Peterson
Muskegon-Oceana Community Action Partnership - Kiesha Guy
Paula Huyser – Ottawa County
Michigan Department of Transportation – Erick Kind
Talent 2025 – Kevin Stotts
West Michigan Chamber Alliance – Andy Johnston
GVSU - Simone Jonaitis
Kathy MacLean - Ludington / Scottville Chamber of Commerce
Mecosta County Development Corporation – Jim Sandy
The Right Place, Inc. - Rick Chapla
Bob Chapla - Community Foundation for Muskegon County
This type of integrated and collaborative planning effort has never been undertaken before in the 13-County Region 4. However, the design and efforts of the West Michigan Strategic Alliance certainly inspired in-part the Governor’s vision for greater regional collaboration among the many organizations that impact economic development efforts. This initial planning effort can and should set the stage for an even bigger initiative in the future, especially involving private sector interests who need to embrace and support the value of this type of initiative as essential to their economic success.
This planning initiative is voluntary and not mandated by any legislation or executive order issued by the Governor or anyone else. Our success will be determined by an openness to listen, learn and consider doing economic development differently than in the past. The stage is being set for a high profile, public process that results in greater service delivery efficiencies, a better trained work force and new entrepreneurial efforts.