More than 50 stakeholders from local units of government, transportation authorities, nonprofits, workforce development agencies, and economic development organizations gathered for the Greater Ann Arbor Region Stakeholder Summit on November 17, 2016, at Weber’s Ann Arbor. The event included opportunities for stakeholders to learn about the work of the region’s prosperity initiative in 2016 and weigh in on priority projects to be included in the 2017 grant proposal. The event also included several opportunities for networking and a special session on preparing Michigan communities for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Regional Successes

The event kicked-off with presentations from four 2016 grant recipients, including:

MI Bright Future
Speakers: Laura Hoehn, Livingston Educational Service Agency and Sarah Sebaly, Workforce Intelligence Network
The Greater Ann Arbor Region funded the Livingston Career and College Access Network and Workforce Intelligence Network to expand the use of MI Bright Future across Region 9. Laura Hoehn and Sarah Sebaly provided information on how MI Bright Future is creating successful partnerships between K–12 school districts and employers to connect students in the region to interactive career resources. View presentation.

Wage and Benefit Survey
Speaker: Susan Smith, Hillsdale Economic Development Partnership
The Greater Ann Arbor Region funded Hillsdale, Jackson, and Lenawee counties to collect current wage and benefit data for dissemination to community employers. Susan Smith presented interesting findings from this research and shared how it is helping employers build competitive wage and benefit structures to attract more talent to the region. View final report.

Greater Ann Arbor Region Familiarization Tour
Speaker: Phil Santer, Ann Arbor SPARK
The Greater Ann Arbor Region hosted a familiarization tour for national site selectors to highlight the region’s unique assets and features. Phil Santer shared information regarding the site selectors’ experience with the familiarization tour and how these efforts help make the region attractive to companies looking to open and expand operations. View presentation.

Software Talent Attraction and Retention Program
Speaker: Amy Cell, Amy Cell LLC
The Greater Ann Arbor Region funded Ann Arbor SPARK to implement the Software Talent Attraction and Retention (STAR) Program. Amy Cell shared how the STAR Program is creating internships and mentoring opportunities to recent graduates while also connecting employers to experienced talent.

Priorities for 2017 Regional Prosperity Initiative Funding Application

Susan Smith reviewed 2016 highlights from the Greater Ann Arbor Region Prosperity Initiative and shared information for goals to be included in the 2017 grant application. The management team intends to continue technical and challenge grant funding and will prioritize support to grow the future talent pipeline in key industries, better connect students and employers, and expand opportunities in technology and transit for underserved populations. Event attendees weighed in on specific priority project areas that technical and challenge grants should focus on. The following priority areas were determined during the discussion:

  • Grow the deployment and success of programs like MI Bright Future in all counties within the Greater Ann Arbor Region through dedicated coordination by a career coach and more participation from all organizations involved in the talent pipeline.
  • Expand region-wide collaboration on a regional Manufacturing Day event to create connections between students and employers. This will require additional engagement with regional employers to increase their commitments to apprenticeships and work-based skilled-trade learning opportunities for students.
  • Create a diverse stakeholder team to research broadband gaps in rural areas and create a plan with potential solutions and funding sources for new infrastructure deployment.
  • Support transportation initiatives that focus on helping people in low-to-moderate-income areas get to and from work.

Additionally, the Greater Ann Arbor Region’s Prosperity Initiative will focus on growing collaboration with diverse stakeholder groups from all six counties through more robust and frequent communications, including bimonthly newsletters, revitalization of workgroups, and more frequent website updates. The prosperity initiative’s management team requests that all regional stakeholders who are invested and interested in playing a role in this work consider writing letters of support for the grant application. View presentation and download sample letter of support.


Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Preparing our Communities

The last presentation of the Greater Ann Arbor Region Stakeholder Summit focused on how the development and deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) will transform transportation on both a local and global scale.

The Center for Automotive Research (CAR), Michigan Municipal League, and Public Sector Consultants were awarded a technical grant to explore the issue of preparing our communities for CAV deployment. This work began with a facilitated session at the Michigan Municipal League Convention on September 15, 2016, where more than 50 community leaders shared their thoughts and concerns about community planning and preparedness for CAVs.

Preliminary results from this research were shared at the event, including how CAVs will impact infrastructure, transportation, land use, and other topics such as public awareness and regulations. View presentation.


Download Summit Recap