Share, Learn, Create Innovative Economic Development Ideas!
and dynamic network that develops and implements innovative economic
development ideas, tools, models, policies, and practices for Michigan.
Student-Led, Faculty-Guided Projects
Call for Spring 2018 Student-Led, Faculty Guided Projects
Due Date for Applications is November 27th, 2017
Student-Led, Faculty-Guided projects
provide assistance to Michigan communities in completing local and
regional economic development initiatives. Work is completed by students
at colleges and universities throughout the state, under the
supervision of experienced faculty. Through these projects, students
gain firsthand and practical experience in the application of previously
studied theory, and economic development professionals receive
technical assistance that might not otherwise be available. Projects
typically include data collection, analysis, and the development of
plans and implementation strategies.
Technical Assistance selection is a competitive
process. REI typically funds ten or more semester-long projects each
year. Students are expected to write a report, conduct a webinar, and present at the annual Innovate Michigan! Summit Visit the Submit an Application page to apply for funding.
Call for 2018 Co-Learning Plans
Due Date for Applications is December 8th, 2017
Co-Learning is a process in which multiple parties collaborate to generate new knowledge. In a Co-Learning Project,
innovative economic development tools, models, strategies, policies,
and practices are researched, and the findings and recommendations serve
as a key resource for economic development practitioners and
policymakers in Michigan. Co-Learning Plans can be written by
practitioners, decision-makers, community leaders, entrepreneurs,
scholars, or other stakeholders. Co-Learning authors are expected to
conduct research, engage in Co-Learning with peers, write a Co-Learning
Plan, develop a dissemination plan, identify potential Innovation
Fellows, and present at the Innovate Michigan! Summit.
Jason Ball presenting his Co-Learning Plan at the 2017 Innovate Michigan! Summit
Co-Learning Plan selection is a competitive process.
REI typically funds up to four Co-Learning Projects each year, and
authors receive up to $8,000 in support. Visit the Submit an Application page to apply for funding.
Potential Co-Learning Plan Project Ideas for 2017 - 2018 Project Year
These are our topic ideas for the next round of projects!
Barriers to Employment
An aging population and declining school age
population is likely to create a labor shortage in the state which will
impact future economic growth. To ensure that the region has the
workforce it needs to support economic growth, we need to grow our
workforce by helping individuals overcome barriers to employment. This
includes people that have been disconnected from the workforce due to
transportation, education or skill challenges, those with disabilities,
returning citizens, veterans, and others. Identifying the particular
needs of each group and connecting them to state, federal and local
resources is the first step towards bringing nontraditional workers into
the workforce. Apply now!
Too Many Governments in Michigan
The discussion in Michigan that there are too many
local units of government has been ongoing. During the past two
gubernatorial administrations (Granholm and Snyder), efforts have been
made to provide funding incentives through the state revenue sharing
program to encourage local units to consolidate services. Other cities
across the country such as Indianapolis and Louisville have consolidated
local units and formed regional governmental structures in the name of
furthering economic growth. Has it worked? What can Michigan cities
learn from the experiences of Indianapolis and Louisville and the impact
of the concept of home rule and furthering economic development? Apply now!
Most of our economic policy and practices over the
past thirty years have been top down, or "trickle down" in nature, based
upon this belief: If we free up a small group of job creators at the
top - wealthy investors and large corporations - they will create wealth
which will trickle down to the rest of us. After decades of believing
this theory it has been proven to be deficient. This Co-Learning Plan
would examine what "bottom-up" economy policies and programs would look
like at the state and federal levels. Apply now!
Implement Capital Improvement (CIP) and Master Plans
Actually implementing a Capital Improvement (CIP)
/Master Plan and providing realistic funding for them is a difficult
challenge for communities these days. CIPs which identifies capital
projects and equipment purchases, provides a planning schedule and
identifies options for financing the plan. Unfortunately, many
communities are neglecting and under-funding their CIPs which is
contributing to infrastructure degradation. What is the extent of this
issue in Michigan? What are the impediments to implementing a CIP? And,
what strategies can be employed to overcome these? Apply now!
The Sharing Economy
What is it, and in what sectors is it growing
(housing, transportation, food and others?) What are the potential
economic development impacts in terms of jobs and income growth and what
should professional economic developers know about it and if
appropriate do to support it in their regions/communities? Apply now!
Explore the Underground Economy in Michigan
Explore the pervasiveness of an "underground
economy" and how it plays within the current entrepreneurial engagement
efforts in Michigan. How has it contributed to the larger economy? What
are good and current examples of the Un1derground Economy in Michigan?
How does it work? Does it matter? What is virtual currency? How does it
work? How does this impact our current economy? Who benefits and who
loses from this growing network? Apply now!
Smart Cities in Michigan
A smart city is an urban development vision to
integrate information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of
things (IoT) technology in a secure fashion to manage a city's assets
(schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants,
water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, and other
community services). Smart Cities use urban informatics and technology
to improve the efficiency of services. ICT allows city officials to
interact directly with the community and the city infrastructure and to
monitor what is happening in the city, how the city is evolving, and how
to enable a better quality of life. Through the use of sensors
integrated with real-time monitoring systems, data are collected from
citizens and devices - then processed and analyzed. The information and
knowledge gathered are keys to tackling inefficiency. What would it take
to create "smart cities" in Michigan? Why does Michigan need to
consider it? Where are there other smart cities in the world? What steps
did they take to become a "Smart City"? This Co-Learning Plan would
provide research on infrastructure framework and recommendations for
Michigan leaders. Apply now!
Artificial Intelligence Impact on Michigan
What sectors of Michigan's economy are likely to be
impacted by artificial intelligence (AI) in the near term. What will be
the impact of AI on jobs? Will some employment sectors grow/shrink/be
eliminated? Who will gain, who will lose? What principles and practices
should guide professional economic developers in supporting AI with
public resources? Apply now!
Accountability for Community Investing
There should be a "wall street" like monitor that
folks can check to see where the investments are being made in their
community and by whom. The investments should be rated as to whether or
not they are quality investments that consider the health of the people
and the environment, etc. The cities could then be rated as to who is
making more quality investments. What could such a system look like and
what would be necessary to create it? Apply now!
In-State Tuition for In-Demand Jobs
Michigan's higher education system, like most
states, provides in-state tuition for residents. This discount is
provided regardless of the demand for that education or training in the
local labor market. This Co-Learning Plan would explore replacing
in-state tuition with in-demand tuition where students, regardless of
residency, receive a discounted tuition rate for pursuing an educational
field that is in demand in the labor market. Apply now!
Call for Innovation Fellows Coming Soon
Due Date for Applications is December 22nd, 2017
The Innovation Fellows
Program seeks to incorporate the tools, models, and policies identified
in Co-Learning Projects into practice in communities around Michigan.
The Innovation Fellows program was established in 2016 to attract and
support top champions in communities and organizations to tackle the
tough economic development issues that our distressed communities face
every day. Innovation Fellows provide on-the-ground support and
coordination to move concepts to actions, implementing new economic
development tools, models, and policies. Innovation Fellows, recruited
by REI, its partners, Economic Development Districts (EDDs), and past
Co-Learning Project leaders will identify recommendations in past
Co-Learning Projects to serve as current and practical information for
local and state economic development practitioners and policymakers as
they consider important decisions for Michigan communities and regions.
Innovation Fellows are funded through a competitive
award process to which only serious, dedicated individuals should apply.
The Submit an Application page to apply for funding will open shortly!
Innovation Fellows Samantha Farr and Bill Stough at the 2017 Innovate Michigan! Summit
Innovate Michigan! Summit 2017 Recap
Watch the Recap Now!
Friday, September 15th, was our annual Innovate Michigan! Summit
in East Lansing. We learned and shared with economic developers,
entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, scholars, students, local
and state government officials, and other community leaders at the
event, which featured presentations from REI's 2017 innovative economic
development projects, including current and potential tools, models,
policies, programs, student projects, and Michigan inventions. Keep
reading for a recap of what our Co-Learning Plan authors, Innovation
Fellows, and Student-Led, Faculty-Guided project leaders have researched
and discovered. For more information, visit our Summit page!