SET Program takes shape for Northwest Michigan

Collaboration invites participation in a multi-county initiative to help create, attract and retain jobs.

The “Stronger Economies Together” (SET) program is a national initiative collaborating with U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Michigan State University Extension, who will work with partners covering four counties, Manistee, Benzie, Grand Traverse and Kalkaska, to help identify and develop business sectors that hold the highest growth potential.

The leadership group is asking those living in those counties to consider appointing one or more people from a community or organization to participate in the initiative described in the following. Their task will be to help prepare a highly focused economic development action plan that targets specific types of business based on extensive analysis.

The SET program includes Manistee and Benzie Counties because of the Lakes to Land Regional Initiative and portions of Grand Traverse and Kalkaska Counties because of the Boardman River Watershed Prosperity Plan. While all counties have unique circumstances, they also share similar issues and opportunities.

This is a fast-track process with monthly meetings during the first half of 2016. Participants should attend meetings from 2-5 p.m. at Crystal Mountain Resort, Thompsonville, as follows:

  • Jan. 6, 2016: Session 1: Assess Regional Economic Snapshot & Identify Target Business Sectors
  • Feb. 3, 2016: Session 2: Identify & Prioritize Economic Development Priorities
  • March 2, 2016: Session 3: Evaluate Regional Capacity, Assets, and Barriers. Set goals.
  • April 6, 2016: Session 4: Finalize Goals and Action Plan
  • May 4, 2016: Implementation Training
  • June 1, 2016: Implementation Training

This project will be a “bottom-up” process with community participants creating the action plan. There is no financial obligation nor does your community or organization have to adopt the plan. You may, however, find that it will assist you in linking resources to grow your economy in a collaborative approach.

Please respond to Betsy Evans, Business Development Consultant, at the Alliance for Economic for Success by Jan. 4, 2016.

The Michigan State University Extension Government and Public Policy team offers training for elected and appointed officials for improved effectiveness in several areas, including various public policy issues and effects of government programs, regulation, incentives, strategies and more. By working together with local elected and appointed officials, and interested citizens, MSU Extension is able to provide education on critical local and state issues. The Michigan State University Extension Government and Public Policy team also offers professional training in Parliamentary Procedure. To contact an expert in your area, visit MSU Extension’s expert search system or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). 

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