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Creating Jobs and Wealth in Distressed Michigan Communities

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This month the REI team is looking forward to its first 2023 Consultative Panel meeting. As experts, Consultative Panelists assist REI in the development and selection of Co-Learning Plans. We are excited with the many competitive applications received and look forward to announcing the 2023 projects in the next month! REI would also like to thank Diane Rekowski past Executive Director of North East Michigan Council of Governments and MSU's Dr. Ruben Martinez for their time and expertise as consultative panelists. Wishing them both a happy retirement! REI would also like to welcome our New Consultative Panelists:

Dr. Francisco Villarruel, University Outreach and Engagement Senior Fellow & Professor:

Dr. Francisco Villarruel is the HDFS Associate Chair for Education, a University Outreach and Engagement Senior Fellow and Professor. He is a founding faculty member of the GPI-Youth Development program - an online asynchronous master's program for prospective youth professionals.

Dr. Villarruel has worked with numerous communities, state, and federal agencies to address the involvement of Latino youth in juvenile justice systems programs. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Campaign for Youth Justice and is also working with colleagues across the nation to establish The Alianza for Latino Youth Justice – a consortium of practitioners, advocates, funders, families and scholars that seek to engage in culturally relevant practices to address the needs of Latino youth secure placements. He has authored numerous policy reports that seek to contribute to a fair and equal justice program for youth. He has also been involved in research that focuses on youth development and what communities can do to foster the development transitions of youth to adulthood. 

Dr. Villarruel teaches two graduate seminars for the GPI-Youth Development Program: Youth Policy and Cultures of youth.


Chris Miller, Special Projects Consultant, PlanWave; Chair, National Coalition for Community Capital:

Chris Miller has 20 years of community and economic development experience and has worked with many communities and entrepreneurs to help them raise local capital for community projects. He is a recipient of the Michigan Municipal League Outstanding Service to Michigan Communities award. Chris is a founding board member and current board chair for The National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3). In Adrian MI where he currently lives, Chris was appointed and elected city commissioner, served as the city’s economic developer for 11 years, served in leadership positions in a number of organizations, and currently serves as Special Projects Consultant for PlaneWave Instruments, global leader in high-tech research telescope design and manufactu

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