2020 Fellows Strategic Planning Meeting Recap

Posted in Blog on September 10, 2020

2020 Fellows Strategic Planning Meeting Recap

At our Fellows Strategic Planning Session on September 10, we reviewed the four economic indicators you helped us choose last year as the indicators most important to influence for our region’s economic health. They are:
  • Average Annual Pay
  • Total Employment Growth
  • Median Household Income
  • Educational Attainment, bachelor’s degree or higher
Jim Robey, Director, Regional Economic Planning Services with W.E. Upjohn Institute and his team conducted a study over the last year to help us understand how we benchmark with peer communities nationally with these four economic indicators and what barriers and opportunities exist as we look to hitting our 10-year target as a region of ranking at or better on these indicators with our peers. 

Two key takeaways that we learned from the W.E. Upjohn team are:
  • These indicators are highly intertwined, as are the barriers and opportunities to get us to economic vibrancy in 2030. 
  • As a region, we are on track for reaching our 2030 goals for each indicator, but we are off track with achieving our desired Educational Attainment rate. 
Economic Impact

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE LAKESHORE ADVANTAGE ECONOMIC INDICTATORS HANDOUT, a summary of Lakeshore Advantage Region Economic Indicators compared to our peers with areas of opportunity to achieve 2030 goals.  
As we are off track with our educational attainment rate 2030 target, we covered in-depth opportunities to achieve an Educational Attainment Rate, Bachelor’s Degree or Higher, at or above the national average for our region by 2030. 
The following is a summary of the Fellows Gathering Program:
  • Jim Robey walked through the pre-Fellows Gathering survey findings that included 35 responses from you, and compared these responses with findings from the Upjohn study. Jim closed with remarks around how one way to increase the educational attainment rate in our region is to consider an in-district community college. You can find Jim’s presentation HERE
  • To understand recent investment by two Community Colleges,  Dr. Dale Nesbary, President, Muskegon Community College, talked about their investment in Grand Haven. The Muskegon Community College handout is HERE
  • Dr. Bill Pink, President, Grand Rapids Community College, then shared about GRCC’s new investment in the region. The college plans to centralize their four location into one Westshore Mall campus next fall. The Grand Rapids Community College handout is HERE
  • Pete Haines, Superintendent of the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District explained that this current investment from these schools is great, but not enough to make strides forward in educational attainment.  Not having an in-district community college provides financial and equity barriers for those seeking the next step in post-secondary education. Viewable slides HERE.
  • Discussion ensued with Dr. Nesbary, Dr. Pink and Pete Haines fielding questions regarding an in-district community college millage being on the ballot in the fall of 2021. 
  • The program closed with attendees providing feedback on making strides forward in Educational Attainment, particularly around exploring an in-district community college. If you missed the Fellows gathering or did not fill out your card there, you are invited to provide feedback via THIS SURVEY.
We are very appreciative of our Fellows members who provide excellent insight and lively discussion on how we can continue to build a region where current and future generations want to live and work in a vibrant economy. For those who could attend, myself or Beth Blanton would love to sit down and get your perspective.  We need all of your support, insight and partnership as we look to economic vibrancy and educational opportunities in 2030 and beyond.