June 13, 2016
A report detailing analysis of state and regional services that currently, or could potentially, support Networks Northwest’s Framework for Our Future Regional Prosperity Initiative is now available from the MSU Land Policy Institute. The Northwest Michigan Regional Services Recommendations report includes an assessment of overlaps, gaps and inefficiencies in the funding or implementation of targeted programs available to the northwestern counties of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. This report was prepared by LPI for Networks Northwest.
According to the report, “aligning government services at the local, regional, state and even federal level is necessary to achieve cost savings, to avoid duplication of services, to prevent working at cross purposes, and to realize goals in a timely fashion, foremost of which is the enhanced prosperity of the Northwest Michigan region.”
The study analysis included a number of programs within five major categories: Workforce Development, Business and Economic Development, Community Development, Transportation and Housing. These categories align with several chapters from the Framework Plan.
Multiple strategies from the Regional Prosperity Plan were examined, along with federal, state and regional programs currently available to support these strategies. Gaps, barriers and opportunities related to effective implementation of each strategy are outlined, as well as recommendations for improved alignment between federal, state, regional and local programs and the Framework for Our Future. As part of the study, LPI conducted interviews of key leaders associated with each program highlighted within each category area.
While significant alignment already exists within the region, and between the region and state agencies, this report is intended to suggest possible improvements to regional and state service delivery, and to begin the conversation to achieve that goal. The recommendations identified in this report fall into four main categories. Recommendations include:
This report also includes several suggested next steps, as the study has limitations to achieving a comprehensive understanding of better service efficacy, efficiency and alignment for the Governor’s Regional Prosperity Initiative (RPI).
Mary Beth Graebert, Mark Wyckoff, Lauren Bretz and John Parcell