Comparative Communities and Economic Indicators



The Information

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Learning Tour And Data Sheets

April 2019
March 2019
October 2018
November 2018

The Process

The process of identifying the West Michigan Lakeshore Region's Comparative Communities and Economic Indicators goes hand-in-hand.  Lakeshore Advantage works with Talent 2025, our board, staff and the Lakeshore Fellows to build upon this great research that has already been done in the West Michigan region. 
  • July 2017: Lakeshore Advantage, at the Lakeshore Fellows Annual Gathering, undertook strategic planning exercises that explored the region's strength, weaknesses, threat and opportunities with our current and former board members, founders and Advisor level investors. In addition, we evaluated the comparative community research of Talent 2025 to understand their process and methodology, to be able to apply it to identifying comparative communities to the West Michigan Lakeshore region. 
  • October 2017-January 2018: Lakeshore Advantage worked with our Fellows-level investors, staff and board to identify from 33 indicators on the West Michigan Regional Dashboard, eight indicators we will watch for our region. These Economic Indicators are ones we feel are telling of our overall economic health because of their relationships to our talent pipeline, workforce and are indicators we can possibly impact with our work: 
    • Total employment growth
    • Average annual wage
    • Median income
    • Population 25+ with associates degree or higher
    • Total population by age and race
    • Labor force participation rate
    • Income from self-employed workers
    • High school graduation rate
  • October 2017-December 2017: As the West Michigan Lakeshore region is a top performer in our state, it is important to look nationally for who we truly compete with for business investment and talent attraction. At our October board strategic planning session, we asked about key factors that would make a community our national peer, including competing for talent attraction and business investment. With the assistance of Talent 2025, We identified four communities that look like us with the following criteria: 
    • High manufacturing employment
    • Element of tourism
    • Population similar to ours
    • Out-of-state investment of primary employers in our region, and
    • A Midwest feel. 
  • We also identified one aspirational community that excels in talent attraction, as we know we need to attract talent to sustain our region’s business growth. We met with a subset of our board for further guidance, and arrived at these peer Comparative Communities:
    • Four communities that look like us:
      • Indianapolis-Carmel-Muncie
      • Cleveland-Akron-Canton
      • Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro
      • Greenville-Anderson-Spartanburg
    • Aspirational Community:
      • Seattle-Tacoma
  • July 12, 2018: Again, through much research and with the assistance of Talent 2025, we identified qualities about each Comparative Community that makes them standouts to us in regards to business and talent attraction. We shared this information through THESE POSTERS at our Lakeshore Fellows Annual Gathering and asked our Lakeshore Advantage Fellows to be our Road Trip Advisors, and share insight on who we ought to meet with, see, do, and learn from on our trip as a best community practice for talent attraction and investment.  
  • Learning Tour Completed:
    • We have hit the road and visited these comparative communities.  Click HERE for an indepth look at each visit.