REI E-Update

November, 2017

Share, Learn, Create Innovative Economic Development Ideas!

A diverse and dynamic network that develops and implements innovative economic development ideas, tools, models, policies, and practices for Michigan.

In This Issue

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.

Co-Learning Plans

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.


Photo of Jason on a computer

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!

Bottom-Up Economy

       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!

Innovation Fellows

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!

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Innovation Fellows Samantha Farr and Bill Stough at the 2017 Innovate Michigan! Summit

What Have You Missed?

Innovate Michigan! Summit 2017 Recap

2017 Innovate Michigan Summit Video Thumbnail

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!

MSU Center for Community and Economic Development, University Center for Regional Economic Innovation, 1615 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48912
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