West Michigan Region now consists of 13 Counties
Regional Service Delivery Project
The purpose of the Regional Services Delivery Project was to accelerate regional collaboration in West Michigan targeted at services related to jobs and workforce development.
Michigan’s economy has been in recession since 2001. Over the course of a decade, Michigan lost nearly 900,000 jobs—one in every six jobs, gone. This job loss has led to a state-level population loss of 130,000 people. Michigan’s rank for per person income fell from 16th to 39th. Resources from federal and state government to support these systems have declined for the past decade.
As jobs and income have declined so has the state budget and with a balanced budget requirement, expenditures must also fall. In 2001, the state budget was about 27% federal sources. Now nearly 50% of the state budget is from federal sources. The kinds of fiscal challenges faced by local, regional, state and federal government at the present time are unprecedented. The next several years promise dramatic cuts totaling one trillion dollars at the federal level.
In cooperation with the Business Leaders for Michigan, the West Michigan Strategic Alliance began an investigation into systems that affect workforce development and jobs including: Economic Development, Workforce Development, Adult Education and Transportation. These systems were reorganized under the MEDC by Governor Snyder, earlier in 2011.
Aligning economic development, workforce development, adult education and transportation systems all serving a common regional geography would make more efficient use of resources and result in more value-added synergies.
With the help of Michigan State University Land Policy Institute and the Local Government Program, the Regional Service Delivery Project conducted a study of the issues associated with a shift to a common geography for provision of regional services related to jobs. The MSU study examines both the structure and resource flow to the various systems. A copy of the MSU research is available on the Publications tab. The study included basic research, interviews and a stakeholder forum where we vetted the information and engaged 60+ people representing these systems in the region to determine the best approach to doing more with less.