LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder and advocates of regional collaboration are aligning Michigan’s statewide service delivery structure, which will create greater efficiencies and effectiveness, and strengthen local economies by providing communities with more opportunities to control their economic futures.
The effort is part of the Regional Prosperity Initiative, a voluntary, competitive grant process for existing state-designated planning regions and Metropolitan Planning Organizations. The initiative, unveiled in Snyder’s fiscal year 2014 budget, empowers local and regional partners to develop a consensus vision and implementation plan for economic success.
Under the initiative, the current system of delivering state services is being revamped by state departments, which was among the recommendations of a broad-based stakeholder group that came together to discuss how Michigan can support local partners by eliminating overlapping goals and competing priorities. For example, more than 80 state services now are provided in a regional fashion with almost none of the regions sharing common boundaries.
“We’re investing in the success of our regions and their local communities,” Snyder said. “This initiative does so in ways that are meaningful to the people who live, work, and play there every day. We recognize that local partners — not Lansing — are best equipped to create strong regional strategies for prosperity. By supporting our local partners and their visions for vibrant economies, we can help put them in the best positions for long-term success. I appreciate the outstanding work of our local and regional partners from across the state who volunteered their time to help move Michigan forward.”
The absence of a common economic vision and coordination of services for our regional economies creates both redundancies and gaps. This causes confusion for local, state, federal, private, and nonprofit partners seeking to support a region.
“Our experience in economic development over the last 18 months is that there is a real thirst for greater collaboration within the regions across the state,” said Michael Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “Community, education, and business leaders are seeing great benefits from working together to address the issues they face. If we are serious about increasing our state’s competitiveness, it is vitally important to foster greater regional collaboration. We have seen successes in places that only underscore that there’s much more we can accomplish with a broader adoption of this strategy.”
Under the initiative, all state government departments will begin serving ten regions across the state, enhancing service delivery, and encouraging communities to collaborate on a regional basis. The new regional map supports the governor’s vision that economic development must be viewed as a system that encompasses and coordinates talent and infrastructure along with traditional economic development strategies.
One of the key attributes of the initiative is that it does not add layers of government or bureaucracy, the governor said.
“This is about the most efficient and effective use of limited resources,” Snyder said. “This is a new, collaborative model that can bring existing groups together to better leverage local and regional assets. The result is a more globally competitive Michigan.”
To qualify for Regional Prosperity Initiative grants, applicants must collaborate with businesses and nonprofit representatives as well as representatives from local and regional economic development organizations, work force boards, adult education providers, and the higher education community.
Visit www.michigan.gov/regionalprosperity for more information on the Regional Prosperity Initiative.