Michigan Prosperity Initiative

The Michigan Prosperity Initiative (MPI) was an innovative effort by Michigan State University, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG), the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the Michigan Association of Regions, the Michigan Municipal League, the Michigan Townships Association, the Michigan Association of PlanningMichigan State University (MSU) Extension, the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; the Michigan Agricultural Experiment StationMichigan Citizen Planner; and the Planning & Zoning Center to help return economic prosperity to the state. The Land Policy Institute led this effort, which took place in 2010.

The Michigan Prosperity Initiative consisted of three Phases. Phase One engaged about 3,000 Michigan citizens in a series of 99 training programs in 63 days on the New Economy. Phase Two involved working with the state’s 14 Regional Planning Commissions to create regional growth strategies based on LPI economic research, which leveraged the region’s assets to make each region more globally competitive. Phase Three built upon the regional strategies created in Phase Two to create draft strategies to guide new state economic development initiatives.

Training Programs

In Phase One, the MPI provided the state of Michigan and its citizens, businesses, local governments and other stakeholders with information and training on economic strategy development. The training was based on MSU and other university and think-tank research. Three separate levels of training programs led by LPI and MSU Extension educators were provided in 100 sessions between mid-April and mid-June, 2010.

New Economy 101: Fundamentals of the New Economy

This program described how Michigan's present economic circumstances developed, and emphasized that because Michigan has many assets there is good reason to be hopeful about our economic future. Thirteen actions Michigan could take to move the state forward are also presented. This program was of interest to all audiences.

New Economy 201: Place-Based Regional Economic Planning

This program focused on a simple common vision and basic goals for prosperity; it described in detail Michigan's critical assets, and then identified place-based strategies to help us create new prosperity on a regional basis. This program was targeted to those that attended New Economy 101, and professionals and representatives of local government and other key stakeholder groups.

New Economy 301: Strategies to Bridge the Gap

This program addressed detailed economic analyses that could be performed to help inform regional strategic growth plans and the key strategies necessary to implement those plans. This program was intended for those that attended the first two programs, and planning and economic development professionals.

Research: Regional Strategic Growth Plans

Phase Two began with LPI providing three major reports to the fourteen regional planning commissions to assist them with their regional economic development planning efforts.

Sister Region Benchmarking Analysis Reports

The area served by each Regional Planning Commission was compared to the area served by other Regional Planning Commissions around the country based on total square miles, population and density (with special consideration to like mixes of urban and rural places). About 50 demographic and economic variables were presented for each of the comparable areas.

Gazelle, New Business and Resiliency Analysis Reports

These reports examined the resiliency of businesses in each regional planning area in two different years over the last decade, as well as examined the performance of companies that had grown rapidly.

Cluster Analysis Reports

About two-dozen clusters of industries were examined on a statewide basis to identify regions where particular clusters could be targeted for future job growth and investment.

Regional Plans

In addition, staff at LPI helped Michigan’s Regional Planning Commissions develop strategies they could use to embellish the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) most Commissions prepare or update annually. These strategies were prepared in the context of regional strategic growth plans, which were strategic regionally focused plans with place-based strategies to guide future public and private investment decisions. Each regional plan opened with 10 or fewer priority strategies identified as important in moving that region forward. These strategies provided new opportunities for local governments, business organizations and non-governmental organizations to make future investments and engage in future activities that synergistically combine to significantly improve the quality of places in the region. Subsequent investments and activities will make regions more attractive to talented knowledge workers and position the region to more effectively compete in the global New Economy.

Capstone Event: State Strategy Development

In the final phase, DELEG, MEDC and LPI, used the priority strategies that arose out of the 14 regional strategic growth plans, along with ideas from a number of other sources to create a set of 71 draft state strategies organized around 14 strategy categories. These strategies were vetted at a special event on October 7, 2010, at the Lansing Center. These draft strategies:

  • Provided direction on future state economic development activities and initiatives, so that regions, local governments, private companies and nonprofits all had opportunities to help “plug into” and help implement those strategies.
  • Served as a rallying focal point for regional and state attempts to attract both programmatic and targeted federal implementation funding assistance.
  • Were shared with staff of Governor-Elect Snyder in the hopes that they would help serve as a point to begin internal and external discussions about moving Michigan forward in ways that achieve renewed and lasting economic prosperity for Michigan’s citizens, businesses and organizations.




  • Draft State and Regional Strategies Reports – Oct. 7, 2010.
  • Cluster Analysis Reports – Jun. 17, 2010.
  • Gazelle, New Business and Resiliency Analysis Reports – Jun. 4, 2010.
  • Sister Region Benchmarking Analysis Reports – Apr. 28, 2010.